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The opal is Australia’s national gemstone.  Opal (SiO2.nH2O) is a mineraloid that displays incredible variations in colour and lustre. This display of precious and common opals provides insights into how this mineraloid forms, and highlights the wide range of quality and the sources of the material, with Australia being arguably home to the world’s highest quality precious opal.  The fascinating display sample specimens illustrate the sequence of stages from origin to fine-cut, polished opals ready for the market place.

Curator: Jamie Richardson

A collection of gemstones, kindly lent by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History for a period of three years.