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[Source] Fire Opals in Mexico

Hi everyone, I was wandering if anyone could advise me of a good
source for fire opals in Mexico. Thanks for the help.

Kansas City

Dear Chris I might be able to give you a long distance short cut try
Adirect Mexican Fire Opals at the
mans name is Bruce and he is great to work with. The long distance
part is he’s in Portugal!


Chris, First of all a word of caution. There is much misinformation
about fire opals from Mexico. The term “Fire opal” was originally a
label given to jelly opals with a red or orange body color. The
color resembled the color of a wood camp fire. Most of this opal has
no “fire”, as is thought of in brilliant colors associated with
precious opal. Gem grade Mexican opals have body colors from clear
white, to red, to orange, to yellow and mixtures of all the above.
All “Gem grade” opals have the brilliant play of opal flashes. Clear
white stones with very intense color must be carefully mounted to
show the color. Very little of the “gem Grade” red and orange
Mexican opals ever reaches the US. Word is that the large gem
cutting corporations have buyers stationed near the mine sites to buy
all the top grade stones. Many rough stone dealers who have tried
to buy gem grade opals at the mine sites were unsuccessful. Mexican
opal is also very unstable. Stones can craze in a matter of days.
There are many theories about why this happens. None of the reasons
really matter that much to me. What I would like to know is how to
tell which ones will craze and which ones are stable before I cut
them. I have heard that a large find of similar volcanic opal has
been discovered in Brazil. Maybe someone else has news for you.

Gerry Galarneau
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Hello Chris,

Here is a good provider of extrem fine fire opals in Mexico,more
specific Cancun.You have to talk with a lady called “Malena”(she’s
giving the best prices and discounts).You can make real good deals
with her if you have some time (and you better do).Here is the
address :Plaza flamingos local 205,Cancun Q.ROO. Tel :85 06 28 They
have their one mine somewhere in Mexico but I don’t remember the

Regards Pedro

Pardon my ignorance, but I am learning every time I get a new batch
of Orchid email. What is the Mexican hydrophane opal he talks about
in the website? He mentions that these are opals where the water is
lost and they are heat treated. ??? I was taught that you can’t heat
opals, even by machine polishing too hard without them crazing, losing
their luster or worse, falling to gravel, so what is the idea here? Geo

Hello Chris and Gerry,

A small addition for what it’s worth it.Gerry’s estatement about
opals are perfectly true,as far as I heard from miners.According to
those miners from Mexico,they roughly cut the stone to expose the
colour and then leave the stone to recover from the cut in
water.After this recovering time,they give it the final touch and
leave the stone again for a certain amount (?) of time in water.I’d
never heared about this procedure but I bought a fair amount of opals
from Mexico in Cancun and not ONE became unstable or changed his
colour.Not the red,orange or jelly opals changed a bit!I don’t have
them all,because they sell pretty good over here but the ones I have
are still very pretty to look at and I need to contact that provider
again for another order. Talking about the opals from Brazil,well
…I’ve seen them and I’m not impressed.The one’s that I’ve seen
had very small pits all over the surface.The lady who owns the stones
gave them to me for a recut.I improved the surface a little bit but
the pits are still there.So,thatmuch about the opals of Brazil.Maybe
someone else has other experience with opals from this riche provided
gemstone country. Regards Pedro

What’s up Geo, Hydrophane opals are opals which are translucent when
they’re wet and opaque when they’re dry.Is that explanation good
enough for you? For me personnally,I know them as opals talking about
the color red or orange or crystal like.If I buy them,that’s the name
minners use and this is the way I’m dealing with them.I know it’s a
kind of misleading but I can’t help it! Have fun with those
exceptional stones.

Regards Pedro

You’ve made a rash judgement about Brazilian opals. There’s an
enormous variety of opals from Brazil. In my experience of cutting
stone (25 years), Brazilian stones are tougher than Australian and are
at least as beautiful.

Dear kpkelly, How right you are ! Brazil has been producing gorgeous
opals for a couple of decades and , in general, they have been
amongst the toughest and most durable of all opals. The curious thing
about all this is that much of the Brazilian output has been
purchased by Australian and Oriental buyers and yet I have never seen
any reference to Brazilian Opal in any offerings by the
aforementioned purchasers…now isn’t that just too cute? Gee
golly whilikers…could we be talking about provenance ? Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

I too have heard that Australians buy up the Brazilian opal, but I
have never seen it on the market. I attend the Tucson show on a
regular basis. The only Brazilian opal I have bought in the past
decade was from a Brazilian national who happened to be doing an art
fair in Pasadena, CA. He brought it into the country on his person as
his private stash.

Previously, the only material was purchased from an Australian
trader. I didn’t ask questions because I didn’t realize how unusual
Brazilian is. The Brazilian that I have had has been very different
piece from piece; but all had a very different feel on the grinding
wheels. kpkelly


I haven’t taken the LJ in several years, but I have never seen any
reference to Brazilian opal for sale anywhere, although I know there
is such. Where would you buy the rough??


Try W.L. Maison, - should be in the LJ - they used to have prime
quality Brazil opal. Regards.

Joe Bokor