Dressed to Impress

Hello world! Well it’s great to be up and running with our new updated website! For those of you I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet my Name is Nicole Willis, the Owner and Manager of Opal Essence.

I’m guessing like me you’re an opalholic and searching the web for beautiful Australian opal. Well look no further because I hope to entertain and dazzle you with interesting stories and opal colours so bright you’ll have to put on your sunglasses to look at your computer screen:) Oh, that’s me in the stunning opal dress! I was honored to be asked to wear it at the last National Opal Symposium which was held in Coober Pedy in 2007. As you can imagine, I was very careful sitting down trying not to crush an opal!

We Australians are very proud that opal is Australia’s National Gemstone and the first ever opal dress celebrates the beauty and colour that is found with opal from across Australia. Five students at the Douglas Mawson Institute of TAFE designed the dress. One of the students, Ljubica is a member of the Coober Pedy Novosel family who have lived in the town for many years. The other design students are Adrian Costanzo, Christopher Kontos, Paula Mouarak and Catherine Ziersch.

The actual dress is black velvet, asymmetrical glamour gown, inspired by 1940’s Hollywood and it is literally covered in opal.

In describing the dress, starting at the cuff on the left hand the three opal bearing states are featured: black opal from NSW, a crystallized opal shell from South Australia, and green blue boulder from Queensland. Moving to the neckline, a large carved boulder opal cameo is featured at the front of the stand up collar. Surrounding the cameo are opals from across Australia. Almost like a sash, Coober Pedy opal flows from the left shoulder down to the waist across the bodice and down the back. They are standard size opals beginning with crystal solids and moving to triplets as they fall.

The right shoulder strap is a string of opal beads containing South Australian red flash and black inlay, and boulder from Queensland. A scoop back features mostly Andamooka rainbow matrix. The belt is made up of boulder and black inlay beads. The buckle contains a large opal from Coober Pedy with the natural shape kept intact, and the other a large oval from Lambina, these sit above the hips. Around the hem of the skirt a mosaic of Andamooka rainbow matrix weaves its way up to meet its cousins from Coober Pedy, Mintabie and Lambina.

How much is it worth????? That’s the million dollar question! As an experienced opal valuer I can tell you it’s definitely considerably more than a million dollars. It’s breathtaking beautiful! The other photos show the back of the dress. They were taken while doing a radio interview about the gown.

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