$4 million worth of the South Australian Museum’s opal collection for display in Qatar

17 May 2017

SA opals Doha

Two of the finest opals ever unearthed – the Virgin Rainbow and Fire of Australia – are to go on display for the first time outside of Australia.

The precious gemstones, along with more than 60 other South Australian Museum opal specimens, will be on display from 24 May to 15 June 2017 at the Australian Embassy in Doha, Qatar.

The display is from the South Australian Museum’s recent record-breaking  Opals exhibition, and is the result of a growing relationship between Australia and Qatar, which saw the commencement of Qatar Airways direct flights to Adelaide in 2016.

South Australian Museum Director, Mr Brian Oldman, said he was thrilled to share the finest specimens of Australia’s national gemstone with the people of Qatar.

“The Virgin Rainbow, worth over $1 million (AUSD), is the finest crystal opal specimen ever unearthed, and was 100 million years in the making,” said Mr Oldman.

“It has only been on public display once before, and will provide visitors to the exhibition with an unmatched spectacle of colour and beauty,” he said.

The world’s finest piece of uncut opal, the Fire of Australia, will also be on show.

Mr Oldman said that the Doha display is just one instance of the South Australian Museum’s collections being recognised globally, and of the Museum furthering international understanding of Australia’s scientific, cultural and economic prosperity and prowess.

The exhibition is possible thanks to principal sponsor and official airline, Qatar Airways, Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, the Shangri La Hotel and DHL.

Image: Ben McHenry SA Museum’s senior collections manager with the Virgin Rainbow (top) and the Fire of Australia before boarding the Qatar Airways flight to Doha on Tuesday night.