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Brazilian Opal

To Steve Green:

In case you hadn’t heard, the mystery of Piaui Brazil’s precious
opal deposit is now solved. Since Brazilian opal disappeared from
the market back in the late '70s I’ve suspected it was being marketed
as Australian opal, and it is. The current issue of “Rock & Gem” has
an article that tells all. If I’d ever heard the name Dag Johnson
mentioned in connection with the Brazilian mine I’d have known this
for sure years ago.

As some may know, Johnson has been a prominent U.S.-based dealer in
Australian opal for many years. It’s now revealed he bought the
Piaui mine long ago but has been unable to work it on a large scale
due to a variety of problems not least of which is the Brazilian
government’s regulations on foreign entrepreneurs. Still, the mine
has been producing opal mined in situ and from alluvial deposits
these many years and apparently the majority has been recycled as
Australian material.

A friend of mine, the late opal dealer Bill Maison, was one of two
or three major sources of Brazilian opal in the 70s. While he told a
story of an Australian mining expert being brought in to develop the
mine he never revealed his identity. Maison said the dealer ran into
problems with the Brazilian government and his local
government-mandated “partners,” and went back to Australia. I have
no way of knowing whether that miner and Johnson are the same person
but it’s clear Johnson has owned the mine for some time.

The R&G article was sponsored by Johnson and it announces that the
mine will hopefully be back in major production soon, with the output
(presumably) marketed as Brazilian opal. I’m delighted to hear it
because the material I purchased from Maison is just about the best
opal I’ve ever cut: top crystal, definitely harder and more stable
than Australian, and simply beautiful.

Rick Martin

Amen I have 2 Brazilian opals and wish I had lots more.I will be
looking for this output …if you hear of any coming up for sale
please inform the group…thanks for the heads up!


Brazilian Opal is my hobby. I have quite a few pieces, and have
been collecting it for years. I buy a few pieces every time I go to
Brasil. Good stuff is hard to find.

I didn’t take the pictures with the Cloud Dome, so they don’t show
all the flash they have, but I hand picked each and every one and
they are beautiful.

I also have a few more that are in the range of “I’ll take out a
second mortgage for that stone” ……hollar if you are interested
and I’ll put up those pictures too.

I saw a web site that used a digital camera to take a short "movie"
of the Opal being rotated to show all the flash in the stone, and I’m
going to try that next.

Look on my web site at and click on the
Opal link.

Drop me line if I can help you in any way.

Love and God Bless