Australia’s homegrown boulder opal – one of the world’s rarest and most valuable gemstones – will be showcased during the 2022 Queen of Gems Jewellery Awards in July.
Organised by the Queensland Boulder Opal Association (QBOA), the event – now ninth year of the competition – will be held at The Waltzing Matilda Museum in Winton and open to Australian opal designers and jewellers.
The awards will showcase opal creations by “some of Australia’s most successful designers submit extraordinary concepts before a panel of experienced judges against a backdrop of the achingly beautiful landscape around Winton in Outback Queensland”, the organisers noted.
“Distance is no barrier when it comes to an urge to challenge design. Professional jewellers go out of their way to get their designs to Winton and express real creativity in showcasing boulder opal.”
Australia is the world leader in opal production and and as such, opal is regarded Australia’s national gemstone.
The gem is mined in Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs, New South Wales; Mintabie, Coober Pedy; Andamooka, South Australia; and in several areas in Queensland such as the Quilpie district, Yowah district and the Winton district.
The mineral composition of opal differs depending on the geological environment from which they originate.
Opal is set apart from other gemstones because of its array of vibrant colours, which change and flash as it is turned. The gemstone is classified on the basis of its body tone – the relative darkness or lightness of the opal and the type of colour pattern or play of colour.