Opal Fields Lightning Ridge

Lightning Ridge, New South Wales

Lightning Ridge is a town famous for the rich and rare black opal that is found there. When Black opal was first discovered in Lightning Ridge in the late 1880's people didn't realise the potential commercial value that Black Opal had. In fact it wasn't until some 20 to 30 years later in the early 1900's that buyers started realising its value.

Some of the traditional fields around Lightning Ridge include the Three Mile and Thorleys Six Mile.

How Black Opal gets its name is from the colour of the 'nobbies' in which the black opal is found. The 'nobbies' or rough Opal are found by digging shafts and focusing on the seems and thin layers that are found at a depth generally between six to eighteen meters underground however they have been found as deep as thirty meters down. This so called Opal dirt not only holds the precious black Opal but they can also yield opalised shells, wood and reptilian bones.

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