About Ethiopian Welo Opals
Just recently a new discovery of gem crystal and hydrophane Opal was discovered in Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Opal was found in Gondar which was at first called desert Opal but it is from a plateau in the highlands. The main field which is creating a lot of excitement now is from a field called Welo.
This is found in a plateau 2500 to 3299 meters. Only the locals are allowed to mine this field and the government has even supplied basic tools. This field produces a variety of crystals, brown base and even black material.
Opals from this field are known as Ethiopian Opal from Welo.
Ethiopian Welo opal is popular as the crystal Opals from Welo Ethiopian is very bright and spectacular Opal.
The colors are very striking with red being common and blue quite rare which is the opposite to Australian Opals. It has some magnificent patterns and brilliant colors and is called Ethiopian fire Opal.
A large majority of this material is hydrophane. If it is soaked in water the base color can become clear increasing the play of color or it can sometimes vanish. When dry this material is very bright. If it gets wet it may take a few weeks to dry out but don’t hurry the process. This is why some cutters cut it dry to prevent this. Some of the black stones would rate a N1 on the body tone chart and are quite spectacular.
Good Ethiopian Opals have diverse play of colors from neon reds, oranges, green, blue, white, yellow, brown and contra lush fire. There are even colors that are not present in Australian Opals like turquoise and indigos. Ethiopian fire Opals are popular as they have striking pattern formations which make each opal so unique
Ethiopian Opals, from North Africa, have only begun to be mined recently. However, anthropologists report that around 4,000 years BC, early man used Opals to make tools, which means that Africa mined Opals before Australia.