[Looking4] Ethiopian Opals

Hey All- I am looking for some Ethiopian Opals. Anybody got a source
for specifically Ethiopian goods?

Jo Haemer

Wow it looks like you can get opals everywhere :open_mouth:


I can’t help you with opals outside of Australia, but I know a Lady
that sells really nice opals, she’s known as the pairs Queen, as she
buys up all the pairs. Yowah and Boulder mainly.

I found some nice opals in an op shop the other day, and they are
genuine, there are four at $20 each with is a reasonable price.
There’s a good play of colour, I offered to buy some or all for my
wife, but she said she doesn’t like opals… her loss :wink:

Regards Charles A.

I think I saw them at Stratura in Uxbridge, MA. Ask for Mary.
Gorgeous little gems!


Jo, I have been buying Ethiopian opal rough from a young man by name
of Made Zewdalem. He is at the Palm Beach Gem and Mineral Society
show each year and we have become friends. He lives in Jacksonville,
FL. Phone is 619-733-2633, website:

and email: iopalgem at yahoo dot com. Reallllly like his goods.

Cheers from Don in SOFL.

Dear Charles, thank you for the references. I personally collect the
Kroite. None of these opals look like the Ethiopian on Etsy. They are
almost too good to be true, too uniform, and the only source I saw on
the site was a tumbled rondelle. First they are too expensive, second
there is no background, they just hit the market…boom. I feel if
it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t I could find no rough,
but will keep trying, it interests me.

Dear Jo, I just saw my first Ethiopian Opal on Etsy… price was
outrageous, but gorgeous stones if they are real. What bothered me
about them is that they looked like doctored moonstone, so I am
wondering if they are producing opalite (man made moonstone) and
adding flecks of opal, labradorite and other feltspars. I tried the
opal site but did not get in.

I just opened my store on Etsy…AlaskaStixsnStones…if you
check out the Ethiopian Opals on Etsy, stop by. Blessings pat

Shekina, Unless you have specific proof of fraud, please don’t make
such sweeping charges upon a stone and cutters involved. Instead, I
would welcome you to educate yourself and learn about the stone you
suggested was not real or “doctored”. Indeed Ethiopian “Welo” opal
has been gaining in popularity since it was first found in 2008.
Only the last 2 years has it really taken off, so you may no be aware
of it. Prior to the find of “Welo” opals, the standard Shewa or
Chocolate opals were coming out of Ethiopia but usually fractured do
to poor mining techniques. BTW, Yes I have been hobby cutting the
Ethiopian Welo opal (along with Australian) for a few years, so I can
assure you that they are a real and wonderful opals from a new and
interesting source.

The real dishonesty may comes from those misrepresented as Mexican
or Australian, lies about any treatments they may or may not use and
even the ability to dye the stone to a designer color.

I’m sure I could go on and on but at the risk of boring others.
Instead, If you have any questions about opals, you can always visit
the forum at opalauctions:


You can find some I’ve cut/carved at my youtube channel, beware of
cute children… LOL…


Just noticing interest in Ethiopian opals here. I have a store at

which is offering cut opals from Ethiopia, as well as rough for sale.
These are all seasoned material and is in the USA right now. I
imported the rough from Ethiopia and have cut and polished the
finished stones myself. Feel free to inquire about quantities of
rough at bulk prices, I can put together sample or starter parcels of
rough if you want to try cutting this exceptional material yourself.

There are also several other good dealers on the site, which offers
opals from around the world from many sellers and cutters. Thanks and
best wishes to all.

Mike Kelley

Thank you Mike, I had seen the Welos before, and not realized they
were what is called Ethiopian. As I look at it, it is still milkier
than the things on Etsy. I will save this posting for an opal
reference, thank you. Blessings pat,

Dear Stephen; I am sorry that I offended you, please forgive me, that
was not my intention. To question the quality of gemstones should be
something that everyone is free to do. I am learning so much about
Welo/Ethiopian Opals, it is an interesting research. Today I found a
site that has Welo’s for sale, and I still feel that the Welo’s on
that site are much milkier than the ones on Etsy. This is the time of
the man made stones. There are hundreds of items in a catalog, when
the imitations and man compiled are taken out, there are only a few
items left. To question a stones origin is not slanderous, and I am
sorry that you took it that way. I have found something that
interests me, and I do in fact plan on educating myself about Welo’s
and Ethiopians. I would be a lot more gracious about the origin of
the stones in question if I could pinpoint a map and a mine.

You comment that you could go on and on, please do, I find
from others is the biggest asset of this forum. I not
only read yours and others posting, but save them or print them out
for reference. I have learned so much from this site, never apologize
for enlightening us. Blessings pat


I purchased a few Ethiopian opals while I was in Tucson. I keep
meaning to look up the name of the Suisse guy I got them from. What
was really nice was that we talked with him about how he cut the
stones and we got to meet the individual who mined them, too. I
looked on JGX’s site and I think this is the right dealer…


I will have to find my receipt to confirm it, though.

Sheikina, pictures online rarely show the true quality of stones
because they are hard to photograph. The Ethiopian opals are actually
somewhat translucent, but show fire depending on what is behind them
and how light is hitting them. Milky would not be my choice of words
to describe them.

Melissa Stenstrom

Shekina, There is something you need to know about Welo Opals. These
are hydraphane opals. Thus, they take on and give off water unlike
Australian opals which only give off water. When cutting a Welo, you
will notice that it starts out milky. As it takes on water it turns
crystal like - beginning as a sort of shell which grows until the
entire stone is crystalline. The color is there in either case. Now,
after cutting the stone, set it down where it is not too warm or
cold and best in a shaded place. Overnight it will turn back to a
milky white…but the opalescence will still be there. I have
experimented a bit with this and found if you immerse the stone into
two part Epoxy thinned with acetone some stones will retain the
crystalline look. Some others, not stabilized in this manner will
craze if dried too quickly. Truly a wonderful stone to work with and
beautiful to boot.

Cheers from Don in SOFL.

The thread on Ethiopian Welo opals is interesting. I have cut three
dozen or so in the last couple of years, and I looked through kilos
of rough when I selected the material for most of those. (Fifteen
were client-supplied.) Most were hydrophane, becoming as transparent
as glass when wet, and returning to only slightly less transparent
when dry again. Very few in the rough even approached being "milky."
Most I cut as cabs; one yellow one was faceted.

The term used for Australian opal of this clarity is now "crystal;"
in the old days it was called “jelly” opal. Welo opal iis similar to
this, and s best seen in hand, not in photographs, to appreciate the
intensity of color play, even in clear and colorless material. (It
may also be yellow, amber, or even brown like coffee, not

Dick Davies
Fairfax, VA

Thank you to all of my fellow Orchidians for all of the great info
on Ethiopian Opals.

I saw some in the Gallery Xan in Kauai. They were stunning. The
photos really don’t do them justice.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

How do you go about stabilizing Ethiopian opals using super glue?
If anyone could post a quick how-to I would most certainly
appreciate it. Good vibes your way!

Vicki K,

Hi Mike and everyone who is discussing opals here. Unfortunately
Mike my dealings with the site you link to havent been brilliant and
I don’t recommend them to anyone serious about buying opals due to
the poor quality and ‘pumped’ photos which do not represent the opals
on sale well at all in many cases. Many of the listings have been
there for literally years now. It presents a stale image of goods
that arent shifting and based on personal experience it isn’t
difficult to see why. Guarantees may well be honoured but you are
still out of pocket for postage and insurance costs even if you do
get refunded on stones that are clearly nothing like as good as
described (and overpriced accordingly). Furthermore if you venture
into the forums for that site you will see they have definitely had
their ‘Ratners moment’ especially where Welo is concerned, which you
can read here:


Their own moderators who are directly employed by the site owners
are just as involved in slating listings as other contributors. Make
of that what you will. Furthermore there seem to be some ‘interesting
developments’ with the site of the opal association here: [Invalid
URL removed]

Best Wishes


Hello Carol and all,

Yes, Carol, there is chaff among the wheat. No venue is ideal, but
the wide range of sellers there does offer a wider range of value
than you indicate.

Of course there are pumped pictures, and over-inflated retail
estimates. But picture pumping isn’t the norm there, as a quick
perusal of a seller’s feedback will show. My personal feedback from
my customers is full of comments noting that the stone which arrived
was better and brighter than the photos, often much better. Most of
the sellers on the site are acutely aware of the need for regular
customers and display their photos accordingly.

Any buyer must do the groundwork, check for feedback, qualify the
seller, as it were.

Meanwhile, the ongoing auction starting at $1 are a very good place
to survey the price and quality range of commercial Welo Ethiopian
opal. This is one reason why sitting stock in sellers’ stores tends
to go unsold, there is so much in the $1 NR auction that generally
the buyer finds something there at a lower price than store stock.
Often this is because store stock may be a higher quality or a
specific rare pattern or body color.

Time, postage and insurance costs are significant, especially if you
must return a stone, but how different is that from visiting a show
or a dealer, involving a road or airplane trip, and being
disappointed with the offerings there? Has that never happened to

I am sorry to see you condemn the entire contingent of sellers there
with the complaints about a few. The tools are there, feedback,
sales history, etc., and a discerning and savvy buyer may find a
treasure or two despite the fog.

Best Wishes,

just saw my first Ethiopian Opal on Etsy..... price was outrageous,
but gorgeous stones if they are real. What bothered me about them
is that they looked like doctored moonstone, so I am wondering if
they are producing opalite (man made moonstone) and adding flecks
of opal, labradorite and other feltspars. 

Look at Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist - Annual Buyers Directory -
January/February 2012 They were giving the magazines away for free at
the 2012 February Tucson Shows.

There are several articles about the Ethiopian Opals. They are
genuine, natural and not man made. Wallo, Welo, Shewa, Thunderegg

Are some treated, stabilized, dyed - you have to ask the seller.

Will they crack and craze and change color - time will tell.

If you had come to the February 2012 Tucson shows - you would not
even be asking this question about them. There were many dealers
selling them. Some even had whole booths full of them. Faceted,
cabochons and rough was all over the place. And the dealers were the
traditional ones - the well trusted ones.

Look at this forum:

There are several posts from dealers about the rough and the issues
about working with Ethiopian opals and suggestions of other sites to
pursue the matter further.

One thing is for sure - the prices have gone up considerably since
the 2011 Tucson Show.

Best regards,
Robert P. Lowe Jr.