While Outsiders have surely seen soaring prices on genuine diamond rings, we’re sure you’ve never seen an opal quite this valuable. During an Alaska auction, a massive opal just sold for nearly $144,000. But the sheer size of the gemstone also adds to the rock’s rarity.
According to ABC News, the massive opal remains one of the largest gem-quality opals in existence. It’s further known as the “Americus Australis,” and just sold for exactly $143,750 on Sunday. Additionally, while the stone’s unique nature put it on the map, the outlet shared it also boasts a long history.
Pricey Opal Has Interesting Origins
As per the outlet, the opal occupied a simple linen closet in a Big Lake home, north of Anchorage, Alaska. Fred von Brandt owned the opal before its sale at auction. Brandt’s family also happens to have a long history with precious stones and rocks. According to von Brandt, the stone surpasses the size of a brick. Further, the gemstone has two halves, the split historically demonstrating the gemstone’s authenticity. The outlet reported it weighs more than 11,800 carats.
The opal has remained in von Brandt’s family since the late 1950s. It was then his father, Guy von Brandt, initially purchased the gemstone from an Australian opal dealer named John Altmann.
Prior to the auction, the stone mostly remained tucked away. Guy von Brandt had previously displayed the gemstone at gem shows until the 1980s. After that, it sat on display in the elder von Brandt’s furniture shop. Eventually, he moved to Oregon where the precious opal was “kind of tucked away.”
As such, the sale came after Guy von Brandt decided it had been “locked up long enough.”
He shared with his son, “that it’s time to put it back out in the world and see what interest it can generate.”
Fred von Brandt shared, “He entrusted me to figure out which direction we wanted to go to part with the stone.”
Kicking off the bidding at $125,000, Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals awarded the stone’s buyer with a smaller piece of the large opal. The teardrop-shaped stone can either be worn or displayed.
Celestial Gemstone Fetches Millions
While the $144,000 opal is surely impressive, Sotheby previously expected to auction off an extraordinary gemstone worth millions of dollars. And even more impressive, the gemstone, a rare black diamond, likely boasts origins from outer space.
Previously projected to fetch more than $6 million at auction, the black diamond measures 555.5 carats. Experts believe the intriguing stone, named “The Enigma,” has origins from beyond the stars in space. Sophie Stevens, a jewelry expert associated with Sotheby’s Dubai, stated, “With the carbonado diamonds, we believe that they were formed through extraterrestrial origins.”