Ranching Down Under

By Samantha Hall 

In the early 1870s a traveler who was passing over a ridge in North Western New South Wales came across the bodies of a farmer, a dog and 200 head of sheep.

The cause of death was thought to be lightning strike. The area where they were found came to be known as Lightening Ridge.

In 1873 the first black opal was found in Lightning Ridge. It was not until 1903 that the high value of these stones came to be recognized and people started mining for them.

Because of the name Black Opal, people assume that the stone will be black and are often quite surprised when they see a black opal in all its colorful beauty.

The stones are called black opals as their base color is black or grey; therefore, the more vibrant colors stand out as opposed to the more common white opal.

To read more pick up a copy of the October 2017 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.