SILVERSMITHS AND GOLDSMITHS
At Craft NSW, you will find a wide choice of sterling silver, gold and cloisonnne jewellery, all handmade.
In fact, keeping alive the traditions of silver and goldsmithing is very important to our members, who work with a variety of precious stones to provide a large range of handcrafted silver and gold pieces, many set with our national gemstone, the opal.
AUSTRALIA'S GEMSTONE - THE OPAL
Australia produces the world's finest precious opals; 'seam' which are loose and unattached, and 'boulder' which are found attached to ironstone rock.
Opal is a mineral which consists of amorphous silica and variable amounts of water.
Millions of years ago the area that is now the great desert regions of central Australia was an inland sea. Silica rich marine sands deposited around the shoreline and when the sea receded the great Artesian Basin formed.
Weathering over time changed the sediments and large amounts of soluble silica were released to pass through faults, depositing underground to eventually harden and form common opal.
In rare circumstances it formed precious opal. Black opal is the most prized of all opals. The background is black or dark grey with brilliantly coloured flashes. It is mined at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. Light or white opal generally occurs in South Australia. It displays colours on a milky white background.
SOLID, DOUBLETS AND TRIPLET OPALS
Opals are sold as solid, doublets or triplets.
Solid opals are 100% opal.
Opal doublets are made of a slice of opal glued to a black background, usually 'potch' or non precious opal.
Opal triplets are made similarly to a doublet, except that a domed quartz cap is added to protect the opal.
Boulder opal is found over a wide area of Queensland and is found in cracks or seams in ironstone boulders. The resulting cut, shaped and polished piece will have opal as its face and the host rock material, usually ironstone, as its base.