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April 18, 2016 10:17 am  #1

TBF-QEII-37 The Queen’s Andamooka Opal Suite

37. The Queen’s Andamooka Opal Suite

   In 1949, this large 203 carat opal was discovered at the Andamooka Opal Fields, west of Oodnadatta in South Australia. It was considered to be one of the finest quality opals ever found “because of its size … [and] because of the intensity of the fire and flashes of colour in the stone”.[1]

   This opal was set in palladium and diamonds into a scroll patterned necklace, with opal and diamond earrings made en suite by the jeweller Wendts Limited of Adelaide.[2]

   This suite was subsequently presented to The Queen, by the People of South Australia, in 1954, during her visit to Australia as part of her first tour of the Commonwealth.

   The Queen wore this suite to an evening engagement in Australia during the 1954 tour; however it has not been worn since.

1. Caroline de Guitaut, The Royal Tour: A Souvenir Album, p. 58
2. Ibid.


June 9, 2016 5:37 am  #2

Re: TBF-QEII-37 The Queen’s Andamooka Opal Suite

37. The Queen's Andamooka Opal Suite

   The Andamooka opal is "... in a necklet set with 180 diamonds."[1] "The side pieces are hand carved in a scroll design set in diamonds. The chain at the back is of diamonds, each in a diamond-shaped setting, alternating with links pierced in a matching scroll design and finished with a diamond-set snap in diamonds."[2] The "opal and diamond earrings 1 3/4 in. long match the necklet"[3] as they were cut from the same stone.

   The rough stone weighed six ounces and the stones were cut and polished in Melbourne by gem cutter John Altmann, who was a partner in Altman and Cherney.[4] "The principal part of the necklet was made by Mr. M. Campbell of Wendts, Ltd....while the chain at the back of the necklet was made by Mr. Muller."[5]

   Prince Philip also received a gift of opals set as sleeve links. "These consist of four [white] opals mounted in 18 ct. white gold with heavy gold connections. The back of the setting of each opal is hand pierced, allowing light to penetrate from the back and giving a more brilliant appearance to the Opal."[6] These opals came from Coober Pedy.[7]

1. Famed Opal for Queen'. The Mercury, 24 Mar 1954, p.1
2. 'Queen's Opal Gift is Link with State.' The Advertiser (Adelaide) 24 Mar 1954, p. 2
3. 'Famed Opal for Queen'. The Mercury, 24 Mar 1954, p.1
4. 'Melbourne Man Cut Opal for Queen.' The Age (Melbourne) 25 Mar 1954 p. 1
5. "Worked Secretly on Queen's Gift for eight weeks" The Advertiser, Adelaide, 25 Mar 1954 p9
6. 'Opals for Queen." Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate, 25 Mar 1954 p. 5
7. 'Queen's Opal Gift is Link With State.' Chronicle (Adelaide) 25 Mar 1954 p. 4


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