European Collections

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The Crown of the Holy Roman Empire also known as the Crown of Charlemagne was made in the 2nd half of the 10th century and now resides in Vienna at the Schatzkammer Museum of Art History. Originally set with various precious gems including the most legendary stone of Medieval Europe the 'Orphanus' Opal as referred to by Albertus Magnus.

"They gleam at each other; the noble stone and the sweet young man, a feast for every princely eye. Those still doubting who embodies the realm may now see on whose head the topstone stands! This stone is the lodestar of all princes." Walter von der Vogelweide, 1198.

Dubbed the 'Stone of wisdom' it was thought to represent the chosen of God and to the Hohenstaufen thinking incorporated all the virtues and symbolised Christ himself. The translucent white opal with an intense red flash glowed in the dark. Around 1350 under the reign of Charles IV the Orphanus disappeared from the front panel of the crown.

Eastern Collections

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Since ancient times the most luxurious and beauteous decorative arts and adornments have been attributed to the Persian Empire. To this day the most magnificent royal jewels in the world are the Iranian Crown Jewels housed in the Museum of the Treasury of National Iranian Jewels in Tehran. The profusion of gemstones is without match as a collection in number, size and quality. As testament to her rare yet undeniable beauty, Opal is represented in the collection by a small spray at the top of a jiqa or plume (Case 10, No.36). The piece is signed “Gebruder Wiser Wein”, and probably dates from the reign of Muhammad Shah (1834-1848), there can be little doubt that the Opals originated in the centuries-old mines of Cervenica (Hungary), now in Czechoslovakia.

American Collections

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usaWhen Black Opal was discovered in 1903 nothing like it had been seen before....the Lightning Ridge gems were so strikingly beautiful they took the world by surprise. By the 1930's famous Opals had captured the hearts and minds of the world's richest nation and her most wealthy citizens....

Australian Collections

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Famous Opals, Museum Artefacts, Name Stones & Collectable Jewels

Among the many magnificent gems crafted by the great lapidaries in Idar Oberstein Germany at the turn of the last century were some marvellous solid Boulder Opal Cameos. The cameo on the left remains in the private collection of Tully C. Wollaston’s descendants in South Australia.

Idar Oberstein or Kirschweiler was an Historic Opal Cutting Center and once the richest town in Rheinland-Pfalz, if not in all Germany, courtesy of imports of the magical gem from Australia.