Click Here For News Main Index
Copied with permission of
29 March 2001

Our local precious gem "the opal" certainly grasped the attention of thousands last week as media hovered around inquisitively to find out about the Solid Rainbow Collection launched in Canberra at the National Museum of Australia, Wednesday, March 14.

The exhibition of 166 precious black opals valued at over $30 million coincided with the Annual Black Opal Stakes and Black Opal Ball held in Canberra Casino, Friday, March 16.

Co-ordinator of the opal display, Sue White, has been liaising extensively with the National Museum of Australia, Canberra Casino, ACT Racing and prominent Canberra politicians to ensure that these opal orientated events did not pass by without viewers being enlightened by the beauty of "Australia’s National Gemstone".

The Solid Rainbow Collection was made possible thanks to a handful of miners from across Australia who have generously loaned their unique, precious gems to the Museum for the exhibition which runs until the end of April.

"The opal display will increase people’s awareness of this beautiful gem and from where it is derived," said Sue White.

Hundreds of national and international visitors will view the Rainbow Collection which brings the mystique of Lightning Ridge to the fore.

Local opal jewellers, including Mandy Healy, Rowarn Ludder and Gerd Shulz also assisted in promoting the industry as opal jewellery was gracefully modelled by Ridge ladies, Jenni Brammall, Lee-Ann Christy, Mandy Healy, Pam Pratley, Michelle Schellnegger, Sylvia Gawthrope, Sue White, Ruth Benjamin-Thomas, Sydney and Tina Green, Dubbo.

Tight security covered the models as they paraded the impressive pieces.

The Solid Rainbow Collection was officially opened by Mrs Dawn Casey, Director of the National Museum of Australia and the Hon Garry Humphries, Chief Minister of the ACT.

The Black Opal Stakes commenced with an Irish twist as Hon Richard O’Brien, Irish Ambassador to Australia launched the race on St Patrick’s Day.

Mr John Bevan Jnr was present to make the presentations for the Black Opal Stakes winner.

The trophy, donated by John and Betty Bevan, was designed by Creation Jewellers, Canberra.

2000 Opal Queen, Sylvia Gawthorpe, confidently thanked sponsors and all involved in the organisation of preceding prestigious events.

Sylvia then made the presentations to leading jockey, Jim Cassidy, for his ride on Black Opal Stakes winner, Coral Salute.

Co-ordinator Sue White is to be congratulated for the time, energy and resources she committed to ensure the opal industry gained due recognition throughout the past week in Canberra.

Click Here For News Main Index