Opals are characterized by their iridescent play of colors. They split the incident light into its spectral colors and were therefore already considered very valuable in antiquity. Gemstone-quality opals are extremely rare to this day and come primarily from deposits in Australia.
Welo opal has only recently been discovered in Ethiopia, where it has been commercially mined since 2008. It is formed in quartz veins at a depth of two to three meters below the earth's surface and may only be mined by the region's inhabitants. Only about one percent of the opals found in Ethiopia are suitable for being worked into jewelry, which makes the stone all the more precious. The Welo opal's hallmarks are its translucency and its characteristic light reflections in prismatic colors. Blue dispersions in combination with light yellow or intense orange-red tones are most commonly seen. Thus, the new finds from Africa embody the pure joy of life, summer, the sun and the sea in all their colorful splendor. Especially the blue-white varieties are ideal for creating summery looks when combined with Paraiba tourmalines. Cut into naturalistic cabochons, the opals' iridescence is particularly striking, and its intensity and brilliance is enhanced by faceted Paraiba tourmalines. Since it is a comparatively soft, delicate gemstone, opal is easy to cut and yet a challenge for the lapidary, as imperceptible pressure can quickly lead to cracks.
In addition to tourmalines, blue, yellow and orange sapphires pair beautifully with the shades of welo opals. And of course, white diamonds always complement and enhance an opal's brilliance.