The Capitol of Black Opal Lightning Ridge (LR) started as a sheep station and evolved into the primary black opal producing fields in the world and is a major producer of black opal on the world market today. The most sought after opal in Lightning Ridge is pitch-black base color with intensive 5-color fire in various patterns. The most valuable LR Black Opal has more red fire, more elaborate/definitive patterns, and has, as a rule of thumb, black base color. Valuations run 5 to 10 times higher than comparable crystal opal.
Generally, LR opal occurs in globs known as knobbies in various forms. Cutting knobbies does not follow the same rules as cutting seam opal from Coober Pedy, White Cliffs, etc. Lucky for us, most knobbies are faced or preworked (rubbed) in some way, hence, making our cutting decisions much easier. A “Rub” is sawed, cut, ground, sanded, etc., but needs shaping, polishing and finishing.
Knobbie CharacteristicsYou never know what is inside a knobbie.
- Unlike seam opal
- Asymmetrical globs, knobbie in shape
- Occurs mostly w/green or purple fire
- On black gradations of grey or on a translucent base
- Red fire (not the pinky red of Coober Pedy opal) is seldom left uncut by the miners into finished stones and is sold on the ridge
- Colors tend to be more intense
- Electric greens & blues, red crimson
- Flat mushroom shaped material
- Opal replacement forms i.e., twigs, coral, shells, wood, snails
JUST A FEW OF OUR LR PARCELS
LR961 - Angelskins
This is a unique and interesting cutting experience. If you like wild freeform shapes, this material is for you. Lightning Ridge produces these oddly shaped knobbies that seem to form into whatever shape the cracked mud assumes. This picture doesn't show their shapes well, but for a sculptor / carver with the tools, this is pure fun. This lot has crystal and black pieces. $200 each. The opal value alone is worth more. The miners don't value them highly, so they are cheaper.
KLR99-11 Seam Lightning Ridge Opal
Bright blue or green seams. Considered as a light base black opal. Easier cutting than knobbies. Parcel shown: 51.5 grams, $295 = excellent value. Other 1 oz. Parcels available from $25 - 75 per oz.
3,150 grams of Lightning Ridge knobbies. $3,100. Good clean fun. As close to "mine run" as you can get. What's in it? No guarantees -- don't know. They are knobbies. Many other parcels like this, but smaller.
79 grams. Lightning Ridge seam material like KLR-99-11. Solid material = $1,965.
56 grams. A collection of excellent cutting and inlay opal. Majority is bright, some multicolored, some red. This kind of crystal is undiscovered by inlay artists. $980 ($17.50 per gram).
Largely green crystal, just like LR99-03. A steal at $16 per gram or $900 for the lot or other similar parcels.
96 grams $480 (net) discounted from $960. There is more waste; largely the same as in LR99-03, but not as bright. If you are on a budget and have time to do the cleanup, this is for you.
COOCHRAN FIELD – LIGHTNING RIDGE
Listed below are gem quality, dark base rough.
LRC-5 Lightning Ridge
6.3 gr - $2,275 One rubbed knobby, like above, except lesser quality -still beautiful. Brightness 5-6. $73/ct = great value.
LRA-1 Lightning Ridge
2.9 gr - $6,500 One fully faced knobby. Primarily red multicolor, 5 color, partly harlequin pattern. Brightness 6.5 - 7.5. $450/ct. - good value.
LRA-2 Lightning Ridge
4.48 gr - $8,140 One piece, clean knobby. 25 x 15 x 8 mm + /-. Thick, delicious brick red fire, multi-color, 4 color, L-2 darkness.
LRA-25 Lightning Ridge
8.95 gr - $5,370 One knobby like LRA-1 above at $6,500. 7 assorted pieces, but lesser quality, ranging from $490 to $1,140 each. Multi-color, red predominant, etc.
LRC-1.5 Lightning Ridge
2 gr -$6,200 One sculpted knobby. Prime, flat face is large pattern broadflash, multi-color, 5 color, gorgeous.
LRC-1 Lightning Ridge
7.35 gr - $6,570 One rubbed knobby. Light L-1 blackness, red, predominant multicolor, 5 color. 30x35 mm. Thick enough for high dome, minimal waste. Brightness 6-7. Price - $182/ct = great value. With 30% loss price = $227/ ct.
LRC-1 Lightning Ridge 2
2.4 gr -$4,800 One rubbed knobby w/liquid crystal fire. Brightness7-8. Broadflash pattern. $400/ct still great value.
LRC-1 Lightning Ridge 3
5.3 gr - $2,385 Sculpted single knobby. Brightness 7-7.5. L-1 darkness, 5 color, multi-color rolling pattern, red predominant, medium pattern.
LIGHTNING RIDGE RUBS — PREFORMS
A RUB is a preformed, unfinished stone, ready to be sanded and polished. Base is translucent to opaque in shades of grey through jet black. Fire is mostly blue, purple, green or mixtures of all these. Price varies from $5 to $100 each, with a few individual rubs priced above $100. If you are a cutter who does not dig working with knobbies, these rubs are really for you. The risk is removed and the joy remains in having a fine stone from the Lightning Ridge area. Some of our professional inlay designers use these stones because they get the sizes, similarities and contrasts that they want from these rubs. Many lapidaries like the simplicity, the time savings (no mysterious knobbies to cut through), the relatively low price and the known outcome. In Lightning Ridge the miners start stones and then decide not to complete them. We have discovered that there is a market for these rubbed preforms (Rubs in OZ). Here are a few examples.
Various lots of smaller stones with varying quality, size, base and fire types. You save money with these parcels vs cut price. Call for details.
LRVR-1 (14) Lightning Ridge
Lot = $308 Like above, slightly brighter & darker base. 14 pcs.
LR8 5(11)XD Lightning Ridge
$1,995 11 pieces. Black opals, red predominant, blackness 2-3, avg. brightness 7. One w/butterfly wing pattern, multi-color. EXCELLENT VALUE.
LR8 6XD Lightning Ridge
Lot = $1,795 Four higher quality, bright (6), multi-color. One is red / blue on light black. Lots of red. Two green on black (2.5).
LR99-10KXC Lightning Ridge
23 gr - $1,400 Mixture of sizes of light base blacks, but with more red than the parcels above.
LR99-36C Lightning Ridge
86.9 gr - $10,200 net. 260 stones avg. size 10x8 -10x12, ready to finish. Mostly green crystal to semi-white. Avg. brightness 6-7. Some black, some red. Few larger, some liquid crystal. Price - $39 per stone or $117 per gram or $23.50/ ct. A BARGAIN!
Lightning Ridge. Lot = $576 Like above only bigger and brighter. Great value 14 pcs. at $36 per piece.
LRVR4-2(19) Lightning Ridge
Lot = $3,705 Light based blacks w / green, red, yellow. Some broad flash, Excellent value, 19 @ $195 each. Avg. size 10x14, 10x12
LRVR4 Lighting Ridge
5.7 gr - $285 Assorted colors and based low / medium grade. Some black, crystal. 20 pieces -Avg. size 8x10.
Some interesting parcels of small pea knobbies from the Wyoming area in Lightning Ridge.
LR967 Lightning Ridge
$150 per gram. Smoky black w/bright (8) green.
LR16H Lightning Ridge
251 gr - $1,750 Large parcel of knobbies with darkness 3 and purple/blue fire. Hard to rate brightness viewing from the edge fire. My guess 6.5-8. Interesting parcel.
LR16N Lightning Ridge
23 gr - $69 Not as bright as above, but w/some liquid fire and some jelly purple.
LR926 Lightning Ridge
3.3 gr - $658 3 pcs. blue jelly, floating flash pattern. Some remains.
LR BEST FOR LAST:
For those of you who are avid opal enthusiasts… here’s the best news. We have a few remaining pieces from a large parcel of Lightning Ridge BLACK OPAL . It is faced or sculpted and BEAUTIFUL. Prices run from a $100 per carat up to $10,000 per carat field price.
NEXT Check the Cut and Finished Stone section of this Catalogue for the pictures of high class opals the likes of which are rarely seen in the U.S. These special opals are available to you at field prices. If you have an interest please let us know and we’ll send the listing. Only we opal lovers really understand and appreciate the very finest. These stones seldom make it to the U.S. because they are purchased on the Lightning Ridge fields and resold in Asia or Europe, but seldom in the US.A. We’d like to change this.