Virgin Valley Opal Specimen Group Display: Fire and Precious Color Play, Nevada

The opal deposits in the famous Virgin Valley area of northern Nevada contain a variety of opal types, some of the more prominent of which I've placed into an acrylic display box. Most of this material is found within limb casts from trees (ancient forms of Chestnut, Cryptomeria, Elm, Ginkgo, Fir, Maple, Oak and Pine have been found) which grew some 12-14 million years ago. This mini collection includes:

a small fossil branch which has been filled with black opal (37.8 mm) honey opal--this material exhibits some color play and some contraluz (17.6 mm) crystal opal--beautiful lavender and blue glow (15 mm) crystal opal--translucent with precious color play (16.5 mm) blue opal--with rind of milk opal (12.5 mm) precious opal--translucent white with intense red, yellow, green flashes (14.6 mm)

Limb casts are formed when a buried tree or shrub branch is buried and rots away, leaving a void. Opal, agate or other material eventually fills this void, preserving the shape and features of the original plant material. Black opal is one of the official State Gemstones for Nevada (the other is turquoise), and Nevada black opal is sometimes made into cabochon or faceted jewels (examples with precious fire effects bringing very high prices as gems). Pictures were taken indoors in direct sunlight, and the opals with colorplay are much more

Mined in the U.S.A.

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