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LRMA News 8 October 2014
Posted by on Apr 19, 2015, 13:00

The Great Australian Opal Tour was a brilliant success. The participants on the tour were gemmologists from all over the world and are huge fans of Australian opal. The tour was arranged by the National Opal Miners Association (NOMA) and the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA).

The tour group included Dr Adolf Peretti, GemResearch Swisslab (GRS) the world’s leading gem laboratories for coloured gemstones. Dr Peretti collected numerous samples of Australian opal on his tour and will be running these through his laboratory along with opal samples from other world deposits to look at the differences. Karen Fox from the Canadian Gemmological Association collected samples of cracked opal to look at why they cracked.

We were also lucky to have two of the USA’s leading jewellery designers on tour. Erica Courtney from Los Angeles and Deidre Featherstone from New York are both winners of numerous best use of colour in the American Gem Traders Association’s Spectrum Awards using opal.

There were 18 people on the tour including Maxine O’Brien, NOMA who led the tour and Anthony Smallwood, GAA who provided gemmological and geological insights on Australian opal.

We are hopeful this tour will have a number of positive outcomes for the Australian opal industry. The tour followed a presentation given to the Gem Industry Laboratories Conference this year in Tucson by Terry Coldham, GAA and Maxine O’Brien NOMA on the attributes of Australian opal.

The Tour kicked off with a cocktail party hosted by Andrew and Damien Cody and Max Lane at the National Opal Collection in Sydney. It then visited the opal fields at Sheepyards, Glengarry and Lightning Ridge. They loved the underground mine, cutting demonstration and tail out. The next leg included Eulo, Yowah (who put on a special miners market) and Quilpie and finished in Coober Pedy where we had a great time visiting an open cut mine, noodling machine and staying in an underground hotel.

The miners associations and miners in each location were amazing and really showed the Tour the heart of our industry.

A huge thank you to the following: - In NSW the LRMA, The National Opal Collection, Kim Botfield, Tony Cummings, Fred Mallouk, Sebastian and Hanna Deisenberger, Jo Lindsay, Justin and Ruth Thomas, Elizabeth and Bob Smith. In Qld the Queensland Opal Miners Association, the Yowah Miners Association, Eric Stelzer, Ben Stoverink, Garry Burghoffer, Kevin Phillips and Judith Enderli. In SA the Coober Pedy Miners Association, Yanni Athanasiadis, Paul Reynolds, Dale Price and Tanya Burk.

Maxine O'Brien
Lightning Ridge Miners' Association Ltd
PO Box 177, Lightning Ridge NSW 2834
Ph: 02 6829 0427, Fax: 02 6829 0830
Mob: 0427 920 474

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