Alert: The Lambina field (pronounced “Lamina” in OZ) has grown in activity over the last ten years. We have bought Lambina opal over the last 10-12 years. Until recently, we liked what we got. Lambina has produced everything from grey base verticals to crystal, and now, some black opal. Recently, we were offered the memo of two parcels from the Hollywood mine area in Lambina. We liked what we saw until the facing/rubbing process. (The goal of the initial facing is to look for subsurface crazing, cracking, or spiderwebbing, etc.) Bottom line, we found crazing that grew as we watched it. Associated with the crazing, we found white, “cottony” spiderwebbing. Just for perspective, the black spiderwebbing from Mintabie was stable and caused no problems in the 15 years +/- that we have sold it; however, the Lambina spiderwebbing is “cottony,” for want of a better term. It appears in little white balls and in white lines. We speculate that this white cottony material is gypsum-rich and partially hydrated; hence the connection to crazing. We have not done the lab tests, but this is our speculation. this year we have seen no cotton. In fact, the opal is the cleanest we’ve seen.
Back to the facing process. We held the material for a week and no further changes were observed; however, I must say that we did not look too closely either. Why? Because once a parcel shows this kind of crazing, or any crazing for that matter, we do not put it into circulation or sell it, etc. We do go to the miner and activate our standing policy: take back this opal or lose our business FOREVER. Some miners take it back and some don’t. Those who refuse, lose our business. This miner took back the opal in question and it was not for sale by us.