The latest information from Ethiopia is that the original mining areas near WegalTena and Delanta are becoming worked out and dangerous. Fortunately new areas nearby, from the same geologic structure, named Tana Addis Gedel and Abo Bettach are producing very nice colorful stable opal. And the Stayish Mine, that was reported in Gems & Gemology 2014 winter issue, is now producing a stable dark gray crystal with unusual colorful fire patterns. This certainly bodes well for Ethiopian opal production and the opal jewelry market as a whole…The last opal shipment I received from Ethiopia had several of these gray or semi-black opals and they worked up nicely with no problems.
With declining opal production in Australia from the closing of the Lambina Opalfield, the Mintabie Opalfields and lack of miners and mining in the Coober Pedy Precious Stones Field, it’s good to see an optimistic report from Ethiopia. Perhaps, one day we will see more production in Australia. My personal hope is that the Woomera Prohibited Area will one day open more of its lands to opal mining. I suspect there is a lot of opal waiting to found between Andamooka and Coober Pedy in the western portion of Australia’s Great Artesian Basin.