Ethiopian Welo Opal

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.
The earlier Ethiopian opal discovery in 1994 was at Yita Ridge in the Shewa province, but these stones were prone to cracking. The Welo opals however, have proven to be as stable as Australian opal when cut and polished, where only a small percentage may craze or crack.
Recently the Ethiopian Government made a deal to send the rough opal to India to be cut, and has dampened the import to the west of rough stones. During much of 2013, the export of uncut rough opals was restricted in an attempt to maximize the profit from this natural asset, by only selling them as a cut/polished gemstone.
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.
As a new gemstone to the market, I recommend that this opal is only used in dress jewellery and not as an everyday item, where wear and tear might dull its colour tones.
A beautiful opal, which is likely to increase in value quite rapidly.

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