The Ethiopian Opal was only discovered in 2008 in the Welo district in the north of the country.
It is found in nodules and is taking the gem world by storm. The opals themselves tend to be of crystal form with outstanding bright colour-plays.
Welo opal is a hydrophane opal which will absorb and release water readily. When immersed in water, the base colour will disappear and it will become very clear/see-through. It will air dry quite quickly and resume its normal colour with no ill effects. So when cutting and polishing from the rough stone, do not be alarmed when the colours fade, they will return quite quickly. All of the parcels of rough Welo opal have colour and should cut and polish to gemstones. However, the stone cannot be seen in detail in this state and cracks and flakes may occur or be revealed when cutting.