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Selling high end opal

I have a client/friend that has acquired a very fine opal as an
inheritance. A Gemologist has estimated the value at between 5k and
6k wholesale per carat. The stone is 13+ carats, oval with beautiful
fire throughout. Where or how would my client/ friend begin to find a
buyer for this stone? They are afraid to reset it and wear it,
considering its high value. They also have a teenage daughter that is
going to need college tuition sometime soon. Love to hear what
everyone has to say. I could get more detailed info to anyone that
has a serious inquiry or suggestion.

Jim Malone
Diamond Point Metalsmiths

Jim, I have a LOT of experience with prices for VERY fine opals, and
that sounds like ‘a gemologist’ who is not familiar with fine opal
prices. There are a lot of gemologists…(I are one, too )

I admit that I haven’t seen the opal in question, but $5 -$6,000 PER
CARAT sounds outrageous to me.

If you want to contact me offline, I’ll suggest some avenues you can
pursue. You’ll probably have to break the news to your friend that
selling this opal will not pay his daugther’s way through U.S.C. or

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718

Hi all, 5 to $6,000 a carat (pace David B.) is high but not
necessarily outrageous for a good opal. Top quality blacks sell in
the 10,000 $ a carat range.

Hans Durstling
recovering from Tucson

Jim, Perhaps one route your client/friend could follow is:

  1. Get an independent certificate on the stone from a recognized lab
    (GIA, AGTA etc…) .

  2. Submit the stone and report to one of the big auction houses
    (Sothebys, Christies, Philips etc…)

This way you confirm that the stone is natural and untreated (i.e.
polymer impregnated would be confirmed or preferably excluded) and a
very wide group of people; collectors; traders and public in general
would have a chance to see or read about the stone in the catalogue
and bid on the stone. If it is a high end, untreated stone and there
is demand the resulting price could be quite interesting.

Only drawbacks are that testing fees and auction commissions would
need to be paid in advance, but you will know what you have for
certain and know that a wide selection of the population got to
see/read about it.

Just a thought and no doubt others will give their opinions.

Regards - Nick

Hans, actually, I was INCLUDING black opals in my “hypothetical
appraisal” (of a stone which I haven’t SEEN )

There are very very few opals of any type that would reach that price
range, imho.

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718