The Virgin Rainbow is considered to be the finest opal stone ever discovered, and will soon be available for an up-close peek, for the first time ever.
The glistening 6-centimetre multi-coloured gem was unearthed in Cooper Pedy and has an estimated value of $1million Australian dollars.
The special South Australian Museum exhibition is to mark the centenary of opal mining in Australia, and will include an array of the precious stones.
Museum director Brian Oldman waxed lyrical about the Virgin Rainbow opal’s stunning beauty, saying it was of unequalled quality.
“It’s almost as if there’s a fire in there; you see all different colours. As the light changes, the opal itself changes. It’s quite an amazing trick of nature”, he said.
The Museum acquired the opal 18-months ago. It was first unearthed in the South Australian desert town in 2003 by three local miners.
The region’s ideal environment as a previous inland sea is the reason conditions are perfect for forming the gems. In fact, over 90 per cent of the world’s opals descend from the region.
Willie Hutchison, only a young boy at the time is credited with discovering opals, after he disobeyed his father and wandered off camp, while on an expedition. When he returned apparently he was clutching the sparkling stones and the rest is history!
The opal will be going on display at the South Australian Museum starting on September 25 and running through to February 14th next year.