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Strong results for opals and bejeweled eggs achieved at Bonhams in Los Angeles
Exceptional Black Picture Opal--"The Road to Lightning Ridge" Lighting Ridge , New South Wales, Australia. Weighing approximately 9.85 carats and measuring 20.03 x 16.94 x 5.10 mm. Sold for $56,250 incl. premium. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams auctions of glittering Gems, Minerals & Lapidary Works of Art and The World of Opals took place on December 10, offering over 400 lots of unmounted gemstones, exotic gemstone jewelry, mineral specimens and fine gemstone carvings with a particular emphasis on top quality works produced by German Masters as well as 175 top quality opals gathered from an international client base around the world.

In the spirit of holiday shopping, highlights of the sale included a rough diamond, enamel and gold egg creation with snowman pendant known as the "Winter Egg," which ended with the highest bidder at $52,500 from an original estimate of $40,000-50,000. An exquisitely made agate and multi-gemstone music box "Hamster with Mice with Harvest Cart" also sold for $50,000. Lastly, "The Moon and Stars Suite": including a blue enamel egg creation, an enameled box, a pair of moonstone earclips, a pendant and two diamond and gemset brooches fetched a robust $100,000.

The dedicated niche auction exclusively featuring opals of the highest quality experienced suites of colored opals snapped up by bidders, showing increasing demand in this growing collector's market. Highlights such as a Magnificent Suite of Thirteen Black Opals fetched $72,500, as well as a Suite of Fire Opals, which sold for $37,500.

"The Road to Lightning Ridge" opal, its origin from Lightning Ridge, Australia, the epicenter for mining black opals and opal gemstones, reached a final sale of $56,250. Bidders noticed its exceptional quality of distinctive multi-color fire predominating in sheets of red from one angle with orange, yellow, green and blue from other angles. The unique element of the gem's colors suggest a landscape or dirt road in the Outback when the stone is viewed horizontally, hence its given name.

Claudia Florian, Co-consulting Director of Bonhams Natural History Department comments, “The market continues to be robust for unique gemstone carvings by the top Masters as well as the finest quality Lightning Ridge black opals. We are delighted with the interest shown by the international clientele which participated and look forward to holding our next sale in May 2014."

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