RARE “PINEAPPLE” OPAL.
As the White Cliffs opal field was opened up it was found to be a veritable treasure house of opalised specimens, mainly marine, of types not found anywhere else, or in such variety. The discoveries included shells, bones and the rare opalised “pineapples”.
PINEAPPLE OPAL OR OPAL PSEUDOMORPHS.
Opal Pseudomorphs are created by the deposition of opal in casts (molds) of fossil bone, teeth, shell, belemnoids (ancient relatives of cuttlefish), crinoids (sea lillies), wood, fir cones and even skeletons of large prehistoric animals. Many of these fossilized forms contain exceptional quality noble opal.
White Cliffs is the only place where these marvelous (and very rare) pseudomorphic “pineapple” opals have been found. They were formed when a mineral crystal of glauberite (or ikalite) was first replaced by calcite and then opalised.
VERY RARE AND VERY PRECIOUS.
Unfortunately most of the pineapple opal unearthed at White Cliffs in the early days was sold to gem cutters who cut up the specimens and sold them as cut opal because it was more profitable than trying to sell the single pineapple opal specimen. Fortunately a few select specimens escaped the gem cutters and were sold to museums in Europe, or into the hands of private collectors scattered around the world.
As you can see from the photographs we’ve used on this web site, our “pineapple” collection is equal to any of the pieces on display in the European museums (and in most cases even better). The specimens shown here are part of a private collection, collected over many years by members of the Dowton Family. The sale of these specimens helps us to continue our mining operations.
YOU WON’T FIND THESE ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
Here’s a brief extract from an article that appeared in The Australian Gemmologist Magazine talking about how pineapple opal was formed and the scarcity of “pineapples”.
“An opal pineapple is an opal pseudomorph, the cast, after a radical cluster of pyramidally terminated crystal, which superficially gives the specimen some similarity to that of the fruit. The original mineral is thought to be glauberite, a mixture of calcium sodium sulphate”.
“Pineapples have only been found on the opal fields of White Cliffs in New South Wales, and usually range in size from 50 to 200 mm across, for both gem and potch specimens. They are quite rare and it’s estimated that fewer than 200 have been discovered. Many of the early specimens were cut up into stones because of their quality opal”.,
The Australian Gemmologist Magazine (November 1986 Edition)