Following our last exhibition of fine, rare, Australian black oplas, we are pleased to announce that
September 2012 will see the second exhibition return to 37 High Street, Royal Tunbridge Wells.
From Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th September we will be showcasing some of the finest black opals in England.
The collection comes from a mine at Lightning Ridge, NSW, in Australia, the famed home of some of the world’s most notable specimens of opal. John Wheeler, the mine’s owner and Leisha his wife, the acclaimed jewellery designer who specialises in bespoke designs for black opal jewellery, will both be at Payne & Son in Tunbridge Wells during the week of the exhibition.
“We always love being in England to see old friends and make new acquaintances. We just love our opals and showing them to anyone who is interested in such fabulous natural gemstones.” Say John and Leisha Wheeler.
We were very pleased when John Wheeler asked us to provide the venue to showcase such lovely gems in Kent & Sussex.
The first opals were found in Lightning Ridge in 1887. The area is so called because of its vast iron ore deposits which act as a magnet to thunderbolts during stormy weather. John Wheeler’s story as a prospector really took off when he found the richest seam of Black Opal ever found in Lightning Ridge. The stones display a deep and intense array of vibrant colours. If you bring your own opals with you when you visit, John will tell you more about your stones and maybe even the mining district where they were found!
Opals have their own place in the history of England with Queen Victoria making them popular by wearing them and giving them as presents to her children to boost the mining industry in her new colony. Indeed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was herself presented with a black opal necklace on her wedding day by the people of Queensland, Australia.
Furthermore, opal is the birthstone for October! Good luck is thought to be assured to all those giving and receiving black opals and who couldn’t benefit from a bit of luck?
Leisha Wheeler’s collection of jewellery is all designed by Leisha herself, hand made in 18ct and 14ct yellow or white gold in Australia and then hallmarked in Edinburgh with Leisha’s own hallmark. As Leisha says, “If you hold a piece of my jewellery in your hand, you are holding a piece of Australia!”
This years exhibition will run from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th September 2012.