We Are The Mine

So, who is Tibara anyway???

TIBARA is Tim and Barbara Thomas since 1974. (Ti from Tim and bara from Barbara.) We started this alternative career while we were full time educators. We have a huge stock of opal rough from around the world, some finished stones, jewelry, beads, etc.

We pride ourselves on giving you the best value, service, price and individual attention. If you desire, we will “face” opal to make the color more visible so you can see exactly what you are getting in order to help you make your buying decision. We will even do this at shows. We seem to be the only dealer who does this and also guarantees satisfaction within the limits of the Rockhound Rule: which says that if you alter the piece of opal we cannot “warrant” the opal. Does this mean that we can warrant MOTHER NATURE against what may happen naturally??? No, who possibly could???

We will replace a parcel that goes bad within thirty days of purchase, but before cutting… Once you cut it you must assume responsibility for it. This shows how much confidence we have in our miners and the rough they send or bring to us. Our crazing/cracking rate is exceptionally low because we know the mines, the miners and the invaluable information they give us with each parcel.

The House of Tibara strives to provide usable information that leads to quality opal buying decisions, whether the opal is rough or cut. In other words, getting MAXIMUM VALUE for your opal dollar. Value, the most opal for the dollar, is dependent on how good your source of opal information is! From our perspective, finding value is closely related to your knowledge about opal. Finding opal knowledge is like finding any knowledge and is dependent on the source. Please do not confuse value with price. Price may or may not be an accurate indicator of value. The old adage applies “If it is too good to be true, it probably is!”

Our goal…

is to be the most trusted source of opal and opal information anywhere, anytime.

Where do we get our opal?

TIBARA is now the principal world mine-direct contact for Queensland boulder opal from the Hayricks Boulder Opal Mine. In addition, we are very lucky to be able to choose directly from other mines and from a wide selection of opal that comes into the United States from the Australian miners. We do not buy from middlemen, better know in “OZ” as “runners”. Runners are paid to sell, they may have little or no information about the stability of the rough opal. We have this advantage because we buy in large quantities. Currently our miner friends come exclusively to see us. Imagine what our opal prices would be if we had to apply our cost of a trip to Australia to each ounce of opal we purchase. It is much more
economical for us when the miners come here. Just look at the opal prices of our competitors and you’ll see what we are talking about. Many miners’ travel costs to the U.S. are subsidized by the Australian government.

We are the mine!!

Since 1974, we have developed relationships with various miners. One in particular has distinguished himself in many ways — honesty, fairness, value and friendship. He helped us buy our own mine in Lightning Ridge.

What is opal?

Opal is a hydrated, amorphous, silica jell, a non-crystalline substance more like glass than anything else. It has water molecules bound to the silicon dioxide molecules in varying amounts, depending on the mine’s location and the depth of extraction. The lower the percentage of water, the more stable the opal. We generally will not purchase opal with more than 4 to 5% water, as measured by our test method, or verified by our miners, that the opal is stable (“good gear” in OZ talk). (Does your dealer have a test method?) This reduces the cracking or crazing rate to virtually zero. The only exception occurs when a cutter punishes the stone with physical abuse, overheating or when the opal is stored in a dehydrating atmosphere. For a more detailed description Click Here.

This raises the issue of stability…

Always a concern for an opal cutter. We have had only two cracky parcels in 25 years. That is quite a good track record, given the over one thousand parcels that we have purchased. We use the stone’s physical criteria, depth of the mine from which the opal came, the reputation of the field, our experience in buying opal, and the advice of experienced miners. There are two major means of determining the water content of opal: (1) a specific gravity test and/ or (2) knowing the depth at which the opal was extracted, which only the miners know. We believe what the miners with whom we do regular business tell us. They know that if they give us one “bad” parcel they will NEVER be welcomed here again! Two miners lost over $100,000 of our business to a competing miner because they would not make good a cracky parcel.


Our business philosophy is to keep all of you opalholics like us HAPPY!!!. For mail orders, we even go so far as to send more opal than was ordered, which provides you CHOICE. A LACK OF SELECTION IS A BIG ARGUMENT AGAINST MAILORDER.

All we need is a credit card number to guarantee the unpaid parcel and we will send you a selection. We are the only dealer that does this.

REMEMBER THE ROCKHOUND RULE: grinding, altering or modifying a memoed stone or any part of a parcel, prior to a commitment to purchase, means that you intend to purchase it and return is not possible.

The descriptions of opal in our catalogue are meant to be generic descriptions. Most lots are currently in stock. Opal availability depends upon what mother nature has produced and if a miner has found her bounties and can mine for them.

We have a very large inventory of opal. It is not all listed in the online catalog. The catalog is, of necessity, generic, because we are always buying and selling, hence, the stock changes. Our goal is to meet your opal needs. (So far so good.) We do an enormous business through the mail with a credit card or check. We welcome the opportunity to serve you.

Again, THANK YOU for visiting our website and we remain, Respectfully yours:

Tim & Barbara

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