The World’s Largest Black Opal: “The Sea of Opal”

Black opals are one of the most fascinating and valuable types of opals, prized for their stunning beauty and unique characteristics. They’re renowned for their dark body color, which can range from dark gray to jet black.

This dark backdrop is what makes the play-of-color—the flashes of rainbow colors that opals are known for—stand out so strikingly. The colors can shimmer and change as the stone is moved under a light source, displaying a spectrum that can include green, blue, red, and orange, among others.

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“The Sea of Opal” world’s largest black opal (image: Bonhams)

But there’s one black opal that stands out above all the rest, “The Sea of Opal” which currently holds the title of the largest black opal ever found, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The opal weighs 11,340.95 carats.

Discovered in 2005 in the opal-rich soil of Grawin Field, near Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia, “The Sea of Opal” is a stunning example of what makes black opals so captivating. Australia’s renowned opal carver, the late Christine Rousel, was tasked with shaping this magnificent stone. She skillfully enhanced its natural beauty, ensuring the gem’s vibrant colors were prominently displayed.

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‘The Sea of Opal’ (image:

It was first made public in Los Angeles on November 23, 2015. It has captured attention not only because of its impressive size but also due to its estimated value of between US$150,000 and US$250,000.

Named “The Sea of Opal” because of its oceanic colors and patterns that resemble sea life and vegetation, the gem also pays homage to Australia’s ancient seas, where such opals originated. Its surface displays an array of blue-green colors, with intricate patterns of green, blue, and orange. The gem’s base features a deep black potch, confirming it as a genuine black opal.

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‘The Sea of Opal’ (image: Eureka Griffin Fine Arts Club Singapore)

With no close rival in size or beauty, “The Sea of Opal” stands out as a singularly significant find. The next largest black opal is only half its size, underscoring the exceptional nature of this gem. Its status is officially recognized by the Guinness World Records, further cementing its place in the annals of precious stones.

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