19 May 2017 - 8:56
Rare opals from Australia to be displayed in Doha
By Raynald C Rivera / The Peninsula
Nearly 70 rare pieces from South Australian Museum’s opals collection worth A$4m will be showcased at an exhibition which opens at the Australian Embassy on Wednesday.
This will be the first time the pieces, which include two of the finest opals ever unearthed – the Virgin Rainbow and Fire of Australia – will go on display outside of Australia.
“The exhibition has never before travelled outside Australia. The Australian Embassy in Doha approached the South Australian Museum with a request to display the opals in celebration of its recent opening. The Museum was delighted to collaborate with the Embassy to share its collections with the people of Qatar,” South Australian Museum Director Brian Oldman told The Peninsula.
The display is from the South Australian Museum’s recent record-breaking Opals exhibition, and is the result of a growing relationship between Australia and Qatar, which saw the commencement of Qatar Airways direct flights to Adelaide in 2016.
“This collection of gems and jewellery gives a taste of the original exhibition and introduces visitors to the colourful delight of Australia’s national gemstone,” said Oldman.
The exhibition will provide people of Qatar a glimpse into some of the rarest and most precious opals in the world.
“The Virgin Rainbow, worth over A$1m, is the finest crystal opal specimen ever unearthed, and was 100 million years in the making,” he said.
“It has only been on public display once before, and will provide visitors to the exhibition with an unmatched spectacle of colour and beauty,” he added. Another highlight of the exhibition will be the Fire of Australia— the world’s finest piece of uncut opal unearthed 70 years ago.
Oldman said that the Doha display is just one instance of the South Australian Museum’s collections being recognised globally, and of the Museum furthering international understanding of Australia’s scientific, cultural and economic prosperity and prowess.
The exhibition will run from May 24 to June 15 at the Australian Embassy in Tornado Tower, Dafna.