British brother and sister find opals worth £700,000

British brother and sister find opals worth £700,000 as they strike it lucky on their first attempt at mining in Australian Outback

  • EXCLUSIVE: Isaac and Sofia Andreou found priceless opals in the Outback 
  • Sofia, who has an opal shop in the Whitsunday Islands, teaches yoga and music 
  • One of the stones they found is museum-quality and the size of a man’s fist 

It was the ultimate in beginner’s luck. 

On their first attempt at mining in the Australian Outback, brother and sister Isaac and Sofia Andreou struck gold — or, in this case, opals.

Such is the rarity of these iridescent stones that the haul is worth about $1.2 million (£700,000).

One of the most luminous stones they found is museum-quality and the size of a man’s fist. It is even shaped like a giant egg, just in time for Easter.

Brother and sister Isaac and Sofia Andreou found opals worth about $1.2 million (£700,000) in the Australian Outback

Some 90 percent of the world’s opals found in the Australian outback and they are worth to 500 times more than gold

Their incredible discovery is life-changing, the siblings say. They can even afford to buy their very own mine

Sofia says: ‘It’s literally every single colour of a rainbow you can imagine to hold within your hand.’

To their astonishment, on their last day of searching, an actual rainbow appeared from nowhere in the middle of the desert.

Describing the emotions they felt in finding such treasures, Sofia says: ‘It was a mixture of shock and just pure amazement.’

Isaac adds: ‘Words cannot describe the way the heart beats, hairs standing up on end.’

With 90 percent of the world’s opals found in the Australian outback, and worth up to 500 times more than gold, opal is a prized gem.

Their friend David Darby has spent decades searching for opals but has never found anything as fabulous as this

Sofia says: ‘It’s literally every single colour of a rainbow you can imagine to hold within your hand’

Opal nuts are a type of matrix boulder opal valued for their unique pattern of coloured gem found within cracks intersecting the ironstone in which it has formed

Their incredible discovery is life-changing, the siblings say. They can even afford to buy their very own mine. Isaac adds: ‘It will make life a hell of a lot easier and more enjoyable.’

He is an opal cutter and seller based in Byron Bay, a single dad to five-year-old daughter Xalianna. 

Sofia, who has an opal shop in the Whitsunday Islands, teaches yoga and music.

Both decided to fulfil their dream of getting their hands dirty in mining for opal. They were joined by Sofia’s partner, Chris Daff, and their friend David Darby, who has spent decades searching for opals, but who has never found anything as fabulous as this. They teamed up with local miner Rod Griffin.

Most opal miners are excited by the prospect of one day striking it rich and becoming an overnight millionaire. 

In Koroit opal, the prized gem colours are green, blue, purple, and flashes of red peeking through a dark brown backing

Opal fever is at an all-time high, but the risks are real, and the brutal, rugged Australian outback is as unforgiving as ever — with scorching summer heat, tropical storms and some of the deadliest snakes.

Sofia says: ‘Australia is such a barren and tough country that all the animals that have managed to survive until now have had to evolve to be dangerous to protect themselves. 

‘So you’re not just dealing with super-harsh elements, but some of the most dangerous species of animals in the entire world.’

The discovery will be shown on the television series, Outback Opal Hunters, which features miners searching for opals and which is so popular that it is now into its fourth season, screened in the UK, among more than 100 countries, and reaching 40 million viewers in Europe alone.

Opal fever is at an all-time high, but the risks are real, and the brutal, rugged Australian outback is as unforgiving as ever

None of the discoveries in the previous seasons have come close in value. The average find was worth about $18,000, although there were a handful up to $250,000, depending on the colour, clarity, patterning and size.

The discovery was made in Queensland, to the west of Brisbane, in a mining community called Yorah with a population of 141 people, according to the 2016 census.

The Andreou siblings were mining for Yowah and Koroit nuts, a specific type of opal found in the region. 

Opal nuts are a type of matrix boulder opal valued for their unique pattern of coloured gem found within cracks intersecting the ironstone in which it has formed. 

In Koroit opal, the prized gem colours are green, blue, purple, and flashes of red peeking through a dark brown backing.

  • Outback Opal Hunters is available to stream on discovery+ from 12 April. The major find appears in the series finale on 22 April at 8:30pm.

Source: Read Full Article