The Fire of Australia opal, which weighs a whopping 998 grams, has now become a part of the South Australian Museum’s impressive opal collection. This 5000 carat opal is equivalent to a size of two tennis balls and exhibits a mesmerizing play of colors. Known to be the world’s finest uncut opal, it was discovered by Walter Bartram in 1946 in the prolific Eight Mile Field in Coober Peddy, South Australia. Since then, this magnificent stone had been in the possession of the Bartram family.


According to the museum, the Fire of Australia has a value of around AU$900, 000. Alan Bartram, son of Walter Bartram could have fetched a much higher price for this immensely popular one-of-a-kind opal overseas, but he chose to offer it to the museum at a much-reduced value in order to keep the gemstone within Australia.

He stated that “It is such a piece, so outstanding that it would have been a sheer misery to see it go to another destination and be cut up for watch faces or something like that.”  He also turned down many overseas offers for the same and has now sold the opal to the museum for $500,000. Loaning the gemstone to the museum’s Opals ­Exhibition in 2015, prompted Alan Bartram’s decision to part with the heirloom.

Apart from the most famous $1 million ‘Virgin Rainbow’ opal, described as ‘the most wondrous and unique gemstone’ by museum director Brian Oldman, the museum will now display its new member, the Fire of Australia in their exhibitions.

Here are some of the most famous and expensive gemstones found across the world:

  • One of the largest sapphires in the world, the Star of Asia is currently housed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
  • The Sunrise Ruby is the most expensive ruby that was sold for $3.4 million at the Sotheby Geneva auction in May 2015.
  • The rarest gem, The Pink Star Diamond weighs around 59.6 carats and is valued at a jaw-dropping price of $72 million.
  • Dom Pedro Aquamarine, the world’s largest aquamarine is displayed at The National Museum of Natural History, Washington.
  • The Beauty of the Ocean pearl is the world’s largest manmade pearl. It weighs six tones and is five feet in height. This massive green pearl glows in the dark and has an estimated market value is $139 million.

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