From a Land Down Under

Antique ring with opals & diamonds in gold, Birmingham 1901

Australia is famous for the most beautiful opals in the world. But did you know that jewellery with Australian precious opals has not been around that long? The first European to discover opals in Australia was the German geologist Johannes Menge. He found Opals north of Adelaide in 1841 - but little attention was paid to these finds, as they were not yet precious gem quality Opals. It was not until a few decades later that Australian precious opals began to be mined commercially. From there, the iridescent stones were shipped to Great Britain, where they triggered a great jewelry fashion. Three Australian opals are also united in this ring from Great Britain and combined with sparkling small diamonds. The middle of the three colorful stones is shaped in the classic cabochon cut. The two smaller opals on the sides, on the other hand, are cut into triangles. The six diamonds mediate between the opals. The opals are as different in shape as they are in appearance. The two triangles on the sides are rather milky with delicate red sparks. The opal in the middle, on the other hand, glows in glorious explosions of blue and green light. Thus the arrangement increases to the middle and the cut form of the stones also makes aesthetic sense. The ring band is made of warmly glowing, high-carat gold and sets the stones in simple, restrained lobes. The sequence of stamps inside the ring lets us know that the piece of jewellery was presented to the trimming in Birmingham, UK, in 1901.

There is no written record of the first discovery of precious opal in Australia until 1872, when commercial mining began in Queensland in the 1890s. In 1900 further opal fields were discovered in Lightning Ridge, in 1915 in Coober Pedy and in 1930 in Andamooka. Especially the stones from Lightning Ridge enjoy an almost legendary reputation. In them the so-called "flashfire" effects can be found. This is the name given to the property of some opals to emit lightning-like color reflexes and to produce new, exciting color images with each new incidence of light. Before the discovery of precious opals in Australia, the opal mines in Dubník, Hungary, were the only European mine for precious opals. Due to the discovery of Australian opal deposits, the Dubník mines, which had mainly produced small stones since the 15th century, could not compete on the market and were closed down in 1922. Important finds and jewellery with Hungarian opals can be seen today in the Natural History Museum in Vienna and in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.