'On Golden Pond' - The Opal Where Nature Paints Its Pictures

Glimpsing into the heart of an opal stone is akin to journeying into a tiny universe where nature's artistry reveals itself with beautiful colours. Amongst these colours, a fascinating phenomenon often catches the eye of gem enthusiasts - the elusive apparition of what can only be described as bespoke ‘pictures’ within the opal's depth.

It might sound like a tale spun from the realm of myths, but within the iridescence of certain opals, intricate images have been discovered, seemingly etched merely by chance. These natural marvels, often referred to as ‘pictures in opal,’ have been the subject of both scientific curiosity and fascination for centuries. While the scientific explanation behind these occurrences remains a subject of debate, their existence serves as a testament to the enchanting enigma of nature. 

In the depths of certain opal stones, amidst the luminous swirls and flashes of colour, improbable glimpses of familiar symbols, intricate landscapes, or even the delicate strokes of ancient calligraphy have been known to exist. Among the most famous are the tales of opals bearing Chinese characters, scenes reminiscent of distant landscapes, and even abstract representations that seem to defy explanation.

20539221 Chinese Writing from Australian Opal Cutters on Vimeo.


It is only once in a lifetime that an opal cutter will discover the unique qualities of an opal ‘picture’. Graeme Blaiklock has been luckier than most, discovering opals he has called “Flamenco Dancer”, and “Water of Life” (words that are written on the opal in Chinese writing). However, the item he considers to be the “most impressive of all” is something titled: ‘On Golden Pond’. 

20147259-SD 480p On Golden Pond from Australian Opal Cutters on Vimeo.


Such an opal is set quite apart from the nature of every other gem boulder opal, as when it was polished, a unique picture was revealed just beneath the surface! Such a bespoke opal stone was discovered approximately ten years ago, but he has held onto the stone despite its hefty price tag, a result of its irreplaceable nature. 

The picture presented for us within ‘On Golden Pond’ is a scene from the movie sharing the same name. Within the film, Norman Thayer (Played by Henry Fonda) and Ethel Thayer (Played by Jane Fonder) are sitting on a canoe, sliding gracefully over a golden lake that is backlit with the beams of a summer’s sunset. Upon the face of the opal, nestled within the unique formation of colour, one can see such a scene depicted - literally ‘set in stone’! Norman is placed sitting behind Ethel in the canoe, and as one moves the opal sideways, movement in the canoe and Norman’s hand - reaching to secure his hat - can be observed.  The resemblance to this scene is so striking, that once viewed, the name cannot be more natural for such a gem. 

To see this for yourself is much like seeing ‘television in an opal’, a natural phenomenon that seems utterly unbelievable; truly a wonder that must be seen to be believed. 

Click here for the video and see for yourself. 

13 - On Golden Pond-HD 720p from Australian Opal Cutters on Vimeo.