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26 April 2001

The first ever opal dress

The stunning Tatiana Grigorieva wore the first ever opal dress with complete elegance at the Second National Symposium (Photo courtesy of Coober Pedy Regional Times)

Opal is Australia’s National Gemstone and the first ever opal dress celebrates the beauty and colour that is found with opal from across Australia featured. Looking like a queen the stunning Tatiana Grigorieva wore the dress with complete elegance.

Five students at the Douglas Mawson Institute of TAFE designed the dress. One of the students, Ljubica is a member of the Coober Pedy Novosel family who have lived in the town for many years. The other design students are Adrian Costanzo, Christopher Kontos, Paula Mouarak and Catherine Ziersch.

The actual dress is black velvet, asymmetrical glamour gown, inspired by 1940’s Hollywood and it is literally covered in opal.

In describing the dress, starting at the cuff on the left hand the three opal bearing states are featured: black opal from NSW, a crystallized opal shell from South Australia, and green blue boulder from Queensland.

Moving to the neckline, a large carved boulder opal cameo is featured at the front of the stand up collar. Surrounding the cameo are opals from across Australia.

Almost like a sash, Coober Pedy opal flows from the left shoulder down to the waist across the bodice and down the back. They are standard size opals beginning with crystal solids and moving to triplets as they fall.

The right shoulder strap is a string of opal beads containing South Australian red flash and black inlay, and boulder from Queensland.

A scoop back features mostly Andamooka rainbow matrix.

The belt is made up of boulder and black inlay beads. The buckle contains a large opal from Coober Pedy with the natural shape kept intact, and the other a large oval from Lambina, these sit above the hips.

Around the hem of the skirt a mosaic of Andamooka rainbow matrix weaves its way up to meet its cousins from Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Lambina.

Sophia Provatidis describes the dress as "breathtaking beauty, mysterious glow, unimaginable value" and with Tatiana wearing the dress it was truly a sight.

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