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Only 100% natural solid opal from Australia ( no doublets, triplets, treated or synthetic opals) . Unconditional Return policy! More About Shipping & Returns

Only 100% natural solid opal from Australia ( no doublets, triplets, treated or synthetic opals) . Unconditional Return policy! More About Shipping & Returns

Australian opals are known for their unique beauty and quality, making them some of the most sought-after gemstones in the world. Opals are formed over millions of years in sedimentary rocks, and Australia is home to some of the world's finest opal deposits. One of the most well-known opals from Australia is the Black Opal, which is found in the Lightning Ridge region of New South Wales. Black Opals have a dark body tone that allows the brilliant play of colors to stand out, ranging from deep blues, greens, and purples to reds, oranges, and yellows. Another popular variety is the Boulder Opal, which is found in the outback regions of Queensland. Boulder Opals have a unique appearance, with a natural ironstone matrix surrounding the opal. This creates a striking contrast between the rich colors of the opal and the earthy tones of the matrix. Opals are a popular choice for jewelry, and Australian opal jewelry is highly prized for its unique beauty and quality. Opals are often used in rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, and can be set in a variety of metals, including gold, silver, and platinum. When purchasing Australian opal jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the opal. Look for opals with bright and clear colors, with no cracks or inclusions that can affect the stone's durability. It's also important to ensure that the jewelry is made from high-quality materials and that the design complements the natural beauty of the opal. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. Opals are often used in rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, and can be set in a variety of metals, including gold, silver, and platinum. When purchasing Australian opal jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the opal. Look for opals with bright and clear colors, with no cracks or inclusions that can affect the stone's durability. It's also important to ensure that the jewelry is made from high-quality materials and that the design complements the natural beauty of the opal. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. When purchasing Australian opal jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the opal. Look for opals with bright and clear colors, with no cracks or inclusions that can affect the stone's durability. It's also important to ensure that the jewelry is made from high-quality materials and that the design complements the natural beauty of the opal. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. When purchasing Australian opal jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the opal. Look for opals with bright and clear colors, with no cracks or inclusions that can affect the stone's durability. It's also important to ensure that the jewelry is made from high-quality materials and that the design complements the natural beauty of the opal. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. When purchasing Australian opal jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the opal. Look for opals with bright and clear colors, with no cracks or inclusions that can affect the stone's durability. It's also important to ensure that the jewelry is made from high-quality materials and that the design complements the natural beauty of the opal. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice. When purchasing Australian opal jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the opal. Look for opals with bright and clear colors, with no cracks or inclusions that can affect the stone's durability. It's also important to ensure that the jewelry is made from high-quality materials and that the design complements the natural beauty of the opal. In addition to being a beautiful gemstone, opals are said to have healing properties and are believed to enhance creativity, imagination, and emotional wellbeing. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift, Australian opal jewelry is a beautiful and meaningful choice.

The Life of an Opal Miner's Wife

  • Views :  868
  • Category :  McKenna Mulvany
  • Date Posted :  Mar 25, 2022
Cinque Terre



Barbara A. Parker's Parents, Emma Davenport and her husband, opaler William Augustus Parker

Much has been written about the trials and tribulations of opal miners in the late 1800s and 1900s, how dangerous their job was, and how harsh of an environment they worked in. But what about the women who stood by their side in these impossible conditions? Being the wife of an opal miner was no easy feat, and their lifestyle varied greatly from other housewives of the era. They couldn’t shy away from hard work, and especially from getting their hands dirty. In honor of Womens’ History month, here is a glimpse into the immense bravery and intense dedication it took to be an opal miner’s wife.



The women who married opal miners came from all walks of life. Some were the daughters of miners, others immigrants who were supporting their husband’s dream of finding prosperity in a new country. But, no matter their background, there was little they could do to prepare for the task of making the journey out to the opal fields. Writes Barbara A. Parker in her story, “Tracing the Rainbow”,




“The swaying of the couch is nauseating, the passengers are choked by dust and the heat is stifling. As the couch traverses the endless miles into the west of Queensland, the prospect from the window becomes less and less inviting.”




The majority of these women were very young, and had never been outside of the city. For them, traveling through the outback was not only isolating, but dreadfully boring. Kathleen Hands, wife of opal miner John Hands, passed her time by writing letters home, where she described the intense heat, lack of water, and abundance of snakes and flies she encountered on her move to the Yellow Jimmy mine at Mayneside station. Kathleen’s letters offer an eye opening glimpse into the life of a miner’s wife, and how resourceful they had to be. In one letter, she details making clothes for her son Johnnie out of old flour bags.




While most women of the time would receive various homemaking gifts upon getting married, there was no way to travel any items of the sort to the outback. Everything, including the home itself, had to be made with items scavenged from the camps. Wives were expected to assist with the building, or, in the case of Coober Pedy’s underground dwellings, excavation of their new house. Most dishes, cutlery, linens, bedding, and clothing all had to be made by hand. Many of the women took up pottery as a hobby so that they could make their own dinner sets. Arts, crafts, and painting were also popular, if one could get supplies from a relative in the city. For example, Kathleen Hands handcrafted calendars out of her artworks that she would sell for a small fee.




Once the house was finished, the women had to adapt to performing everyday domestic duties in their cramped, inhospitable surroundings. Simple tasks like cooking and cleaning became a mammoth effort. The most glaring obstacle was a substantial lack of food and water. The women had to learn how to prepare whatever game their husbands hunted, whether it be a small bush turkey or a kangaroo, using all cooking materials as sparingly as possible. Each meal was precious, and had to be made to last over several days. Cleaning, as well, was an almost impossible feat, and not just because of the outback’s infamous red dirt. Any water in the camp had to have been carried from dozens of kilometers away,  and was usually dirtied and partially dried up by the time it completed the journey. Whatever was left had to be designated for drinking and bathing, with little leftover to assist with household tasks. 




The women also worked outside of the home. Many accompanied their husbands to the mines, where they would help them pull buckets of dirt up from the shaft. There are also stories of women who took up lapidary work to pass the time. They would take the cast offs from their husband’s parcels of opal and cut, polish, and fashion them into doublets and triplets, which they could sell for a few shillings to make a little money of their own. This was all done in addition to child rearing, which was non stop due to a lack of schools, clubs, or activities. With no outside resources in a 100 kilometer radius, including doctors or teachers, the women had to perform several roles beyond their already exhausting day to day duties.




The lack of medical care was a major issue for the wives. With illness running rampant through the camps, some days could feel like a fight for survival. But this was never more true than in the instance of child birth. Many women tragically lost their lives in the opal fields during or after a difficult labor. Barbara A. Parker’s Aunt Ellen, who was living near Opalton, was one such case, passing away at just 26 years old in October 1888. Unfortunately, this was a common occurrence well into the 20th century. Still today, the opal fields are hundreds of kilometers from nearby hospitals or doctors' practices, leaving the dangers of a century ago still very much apparent.




With all that was expected of them, the wives of opal miners had to be fiercely independent and persevering. Whether they were minding their homes or working in the fields, they stopped at nothing to establish themselves as integral to the success of the opal industry. These wives paved the way for future women to enter the workforce as well respected miners, dealers, and cutters, and we salute them. Happy Womens’ History Month!




References:



Hill, E. (1940, September 14). The Opal Miner’s Wife. The ABC Weekly, 44.     https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1240323261/view?sectionId=nla.obj-1314737461&partId=nla.obj-1240573925#page/n43/mode/1up.




McKenzie, R. (2000). Sweat, Tears, and Blood Red Opal.