Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ethiopian Welo Opals

In the early 1990s a new type of opal surfaced in Mezezo Ethiopia which was called Chocolate opal because of the chocolate colour inside the nodule. These opals are found in a round nodular form with in a 3 meter thick layer of welded volcanic ash. Only about 1% of these nodules contain colour. The colours are very striking with red being common and blue quite rare which is the opposite to Australian opals. It has some magnificent patterns and brilliant colours and is called Ethiopian fire opal.
A newly discovered Ethiopian opal was found in Gondar which was at first called desert opal but it is from a plateau in the highlands. The main field which is creating a lot of excitement now is from a field called Welo. This is found in a plateau 2500 to 3299 meters. Only the locals are allowed to mine this field. They work the horizontal level of steep mountains. Opals from these fields are known as Ethiopian opal from wello.
Ethiopia Is considered one of the oldest inhabited human areas on the planet. The Awash Valley has one of the most complete preserved Australopithecine fossils around 3.2 million years old.