ETHIOPIAN WELO OPAL
This newly discovered Opal found in the Welo Amhara Regional State Highland plateau 2.500 – 3.200 meters above sea level of Ethiopia is a new find that is quickly gaining the attention of the opal community. This opal was the hit of the recent Tucson international gem show.
Welo opal requires a mountain of patience and some special cutting techniques but the finished result is every bit as stable as the better known Australian opals. The color is brilliant and rivals any top grade opal in the world. Most have a brightness level of at least 4 to 5 on the brightness scale with hot neon multi-color and multiple pattern mix. Welo opal is not generally classified as contra luz opal although I have seen a few. The color play is face up and in a lot of cases, as bright in artificial indoor light as it is in direct sunlight. This opal just loves any light source.
This is hydrophane opal which when soaked in water allows the base color to clear up...sometimes highlighting the play-of-color, sometimes making it vanish. The best trait of the Welo hydrophane opal is that when it's dry and polished it can be one of the brightest opals in the world. From my experience, the Welo opal is as stable as the best of all that I have cut in the last 10 years. It can take twice as long to cut a finished stone, but the visual rewards are well worth the time. Different types of opals require specialty care for the beauty you enjoy... Welo opal is no different. No chemicals or detergents...If soaked in water, it will take one to two weeks to completely dry out and return to its original beautiful state. Do not try and accelerate the drying by any artificial means. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning for any opals.
Gondar and Wollo (Welo) are not regarded as desert at all – it is on the Abyssinian highland plateau of Amhara Proper, Amhara Regional State.
The Welo opal is found in the same type of geological formations as the Australian opal. Welo opal is the most stable opal find in Ethiopia to date. Ethiopian Opals are region specific in character traits just like Australian opals. I have seen the price of this opal rise dramatically over the last few months and it looks as though the price is going to go higher.
The Ethiopian Government does not own any mines. All land is owned by the government: In Amhara it is administrated by the Regional State who does not allow mining by others than registered and licensed farmer co-operatives. This process is being done now. They are not selling mines but inviting investors.
NOTE: We are not resellers. We pick our rough out of multiple kilos and work with the miners direct. Each piece sold has been handpicked and cut either by myself or one of several master cutters. What you are bidding on is TopShelfOpal from Welo,Ethiopia. Our opals are solid, stable, natural, untreated and free of fractures. If you want to own one of the hottest opals on the market today, try the Welo. It has changed my concept of brilliance and may just do the same for you.
All the Welo rough stock that Is used for cutting cabochons are select by hand from the mines and are the best of the top grade out of Ethiopia. You are getting AAA+++ Welo opals, professionally cut by myself that is guaranteed stable. All of the opals that make it to final sales have undergone a trial of procedures to ensure stability. Having worked with Welos since the discovery of the new finds, We have developed special techniques and steps to ensure that only the most stable make it to auction. There are no inclusions of any kind that can create future expansion stress cracks. We do not sell non-Hydrophane Welo opals as most are generally unstable and will eventually develop micro fractures over time from a slow drying process. All our Welos are water tested for stability as those that don't achieve total water saturation have never been tested for possible expansion cracks. The removal of Welos from the host rock is a brutal process and micro fractures are not uncommon. This is crucial for owning a hydrophane opal that will be worn as jewelry, as your opal will eventually contact water with normal wear.
My "estimated" retail price is a price that Is based on my knowledge of opal grading from several professional opals grading reference books, as well as my working knowledge of the Welo Opal and opals in general. I have been cutting and buying different grades of Welo opal, since the discovery in early 2008. I have bought from miners, wholesalers and middlemen and have been cutting Welos exclusively since 2008. I have cut thousands of Welos to date and have been cutting different types of opals from around the world for over 12 years. I am not a certified appraiser, nor do not give appraisals. An actual opal appraisal is only as good as the professional appraisers knowledge of the gems he/she specializes in, so always look for one that specializes in opals to get a true appraisal. One very important component of an appraisal is the replacement value for your gemstone, and is based on many factors. My listed "estimate" retail price is an estimated replacement value for your Welo opal based on my comprehensive knowledge of this type of opal. All opal fields dry up over time and the value of your opal will continue to increase as supply and demand dictates. The highest grade Welos are fantastic Investments, as are all top grade opals from around the world. If you own an investment grade opal, you should eventually get a professional certified appraisal for insurance purposes.
All photographs show the best highlights of each particular opal. Photos are taken either outdoors or indoors and are taken with the intent of depicting true color and detail under optimal conditions. I do not use photo enhancement programs or special lenses. All photographs of the Ethiopian hydrophane opals are taken dry as to give a true depiction of what the opal actually looks like. Hydrophane opals can become dramatically enhanced when fully soaked and can give a false impression as to the finished product. Non hydrophane opals will at times be shown wet if in the rough or rubbed state as to show the color of the opal with a pseudo-polish.