Welo opal

Welo opal

We know of course the Australian Opals. But for a few years a new opal apeare. The Welo opal rough, black, white and fire color. This stone is white and translucent. Also with a unique play of color. Its deposits are in the Semien Wollo mountain. In northwestern Ethiopia. The real discovery of this stone is unknown. Black Welo opal is treated and its price is cheaper.

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Some sources mention it in 1993. It was on the Nairobi markets. Geological engineer Telahun Yohannes would be granted his discovery. Dr. N. Barot reported his existence in an article published in 1994.

10 kilos of this stone were extracted In 1997. But it was not until 2008 to see Its exploitation actually begin. The Eyaopal workshops in Addis Ababa cut 400 grams. That same year, it was also presented at the international mineral exhibitions. It was in Sainte-Marie, France. While a year later, the Eyaopal workshops presented 350 stones cut at the Tuscon Show, USA. A new star was born.

A rare natural opal and difficult to produce

Its production has been increasing since 2008. The Ministry of Mines of Ethiopia reports only a few tens of kilos extracted in 2008. Also several hundred in 2009. And finally a few tons in 2011. Only 5% of the stones are of sufficient quality to se sold and 1% have the quality to set in jewelry.

We can find Welo opals rough in silica veins. Only 2 to 3 m from the surface. It so difficult to operate. Because miners don’t use modern tools. Only the inhabitants of this region can exploit these deposits. The populations being rural.

Therefore they use archaic methods. It is dangerous to extract the stones. Since January 2011, there is a new operating site. Mining standards seems like better. It covering 500 professional miners. The Ethiopian government regulates and monitors this wealth. So buyers are not allow to go to the farms. They can’t deal directly with minors. The gemstone market is therefore located outside of the mining area.

The black welo opal, white and fire color

White, honey and fire color are natural colors but the black Welo opal is treated and its price is cheaper.

Natural Welo Opal


Is Welo opal price valuable?

Like most gems the top quality material is quite rare and commands a high price. The intensity of the color is what makes this opal valuable as the best Ethiopian opal have colors that are described as unreal looking like colored L.E.D. lights. The welo opal price is nevertheless cheaper than Australian opal.

Are Ethiopian welo opal rough good quality?

These opals are superior in terms of quality but are relatively cheaper than the other popular origin varieties such as Australian Opals.

How can I tell if my Ethiopian opal is real?

An opal is usually fake is if the shape appears perfectly round or oval. Even perfectly polished natural gemstones won’t have a perfect shape. Synthetic opals  also do not fluoresce under ultraviolet light. Synthetics are also generally lower in density and are often highly porous.

Is opal worth more than diamond?

Opals are rarer than most people think. Many types of opal are more rare than diamond and will only get rarer due to being found in only few places on Earth. But the price of a stone cannot be compared to its rarity. The price of the diamond is more expensive because the diamond benefits from a permanent global marketing campaign supported by all the large companies of the fashion and jewelry industry.

Why did my Ethiopian opal turned yellow?

Opal is one of the rare porous stones. It can absorb dust from the air over time, it can also even out or darken depending on the humidity of the place where it is stored, it may also crack if stored in one place warm or lit by the sun. Indeed, it naturally contains water, if the water evaporates, the stone has started to become more opaque and eventually cracked.

What is Ethiopian opal good for?

Ethiopian opal is believed to be an emotional intensifier, enhancing the true nature of those who wear it. Some say it strengthens the will to live and shields the wearer against negativity, burning off karma.

What is the difference between Ethiopian opal and Australian opal?

Australian opals are opaque with only a thin layer of play of color on the surface of the cut stone. Ethiopian opals are transparent or translucent, with less dramatic, but much deeper play of color layers.

How do you clean Ethiopian Welo fire opals?

When cleaning your opal jewelry, you should avoid chemicals of any type and simply use warm water and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge. Try not to use too much water, and if possible, simply use a damp cloth. If your Ethiopian opal gets wet, don’t worry.

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