The South Australian Museum is on the threshold of securing the most stunning representation of our national gemstone: the Rainbow Opal. Your donation will help us acquire this unique opalised fossil for South Australia.
Letter from the Chair of the South Australian Museum Foundation:
For me, one of the joys of life is witnessing wonderful moments at the Museum as families explore the rich collections, and delight in making discoveries together.
Regularly this is so on the Museum’s third floor – a world of fossils, rocks, meteorites, dinosaurs and dazzling minerals. Always they feed young imaginations and thrill everyone else.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, our Museum scientists work closely with State and Federal agencies to identify and protect Australia’s natural heritage to ensure that it remains in Australia for us all to enjoy forevermore. This endeavour is the reason that I write to you now.
The South Australian Museum, with partial funding approved by the National Cultural Heritage Account, has been presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the Rainbow Opal.
The Rainbow Opal is regarded as the finest quality crystal opal ever unearthed.
It is an opalised fossil formed as a result of an extraordinary set of natural forces, found uniquely in South Australia. Weighing 72.64 carats, it is a uniform, solid block of intense colour discovered in Coober Pedy in 2003. It is also extraordinarily rare – being an opalised fossil of a belemnite, an ancient squid-like creature over 100 million years old.
The Rainbow Opal has been independently assessed by two accredited appraisers with a conservative insurance value of $1 million. However, the local owners have offered the Museum the first option to purchase this gem at a greatly reduced price. They are keen for this national treasure to remain in South Australia as a source of State pride and as part of the Museum’s stunning Mineral Collection for care and research purposes. They also recognise that the year 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of opal at Coober Pedy.
I now seek your support to raise an outstanding sum of $150,000 to seal the purchase of the Rainbow Opal and keep it in South Australia. I so hope that you will join me in supporting the Museum realise this never to be repeated opportunity.
All donations to the SA Museum Foundation of $2 and more are tax deductible.
The Hon Diana Laidlaw AM
Chair, South Australian Museum Foundation