The opal is a rare gemstone and has a diverse brilliance of color that encompasses the whole of the color spectrum. The Ethiopian opal is one of the most beautiful ever found.
We at GemSelect have some of the finest Ethiopian opals on the market.
Ethiopian opal base colors include white, yellow, orange, dark red, caramel, chocolate and everything in between. The degrees of transparency range from crystal clear to opaque. The Ethiopian opal is quite unique and different from other more common opal and one of the most striking and distinctive of the Ethiopian opals is the chocolate variety showing the colorful snakeskin pattern.
The chocolate opal is a jewel with a story. It was first discovered by noted anthropologist and archeologist, Louis Leakey, in a Kenyan cave during a 1939 expedition. Leakey found that, remarkably, the opal had been used as a tool by very early mankind. In 1995, mining engineer Telahun Yohannes, found the Ethiopian Yita Ridge opal field deposits, 150 miles northeast of the capital, Addis Ababa and soon after, started mining. The Ethiopian opal had, at last, been discovered.
More recently white seam opal gems from the Gondar Desert region in Northwest Ethiopia were introduced to the market. This type of opal is often reminiscent of Australian and Brazilian opal, but it has a much better reputation for stability.
In the past most opals came from either Australia or Mexico and the Ethiopian opal is relatively new to the market. Although being available from the mid 1990s, it only really started to appear on the market around 2003. So, it is still relatively early days in the exploration of these opals and cutters are finding new techniques and ways to bring these beautiful opals to the market.
Owning an Ethiopian opal really does mean having something that is unique with a very special story, quite different to any other opal you may see.
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Happy gem hunting,Your friends at GemSelect
- First Published: August-01-2011
- Last Updated: October-17-2014
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