Hello, and welcome to our website! We are Adam and Shawna Sawicki, and our goal at A&S Opals.com is to share our knowledge and passion for one of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious gemstones.
Adam’s interest in opals began in the early ‘90s when, as a child, he happened to catch a special on the PBS station about a quirky little town on the other side of the world called Coober Pedy. Located in the middle of Australia, most of the residents of this strange place lived underground and mined a rare and precious gemstone known as opal. He was fascinated by the dedication and perseverance of the miners, who worked for weeks, maybe years, with little to no pay in the hope of striking it rich with a pocket of opal and transforming their fortunes in a heartbeat. What captivated him more than the Coober Pedy locals and their unique living situation was the gemstone itself. His interest in the opal was based on its unique appeal; instead of a single color (or no color at all) and relying on facets to create beauty, the opal could be polished into smooth, sleek, free form shapes and cabochons containing not one, but all of the colors in the spectrum. It was at this young age that Adam decided he would someday visit the opal fields of Coober Pedy.
Over the years, his interest in opal was constantly rekindled by other television programs that highlighted not only the Australian opal fields, but some of the domestic mines in Idaho and Nevada as well. As he grew older, his newer interest in prospecting evolved from fossils into gold and other gemstones, but opal was always in the back of his mind.
Once we started dating, our love for both each other and prospecting grew, eventually leading to a wonderful marriage. The first big decision we made as a married couple was to choose a honeymoon destination. Our adventurous tendencies pushed us away from the typical beach side retreat, in search of somewhere we could get off the beaten path and explore on our own. It didn’t take too long for our conversation to steer towards Australia, and the choice was made quickly enough. Not only was it a place Adam had longed to visit, but it began to kindle Shawna’s fascination in the opal as well.
Shawna’s interest in gold and gemstones began during the years spent prospecting beside Adam. As she learned more about it, she became more successful with each attempt, and her gold fever grew. With the honeymoon fast approaching and the itinerary developing, we noticed it would only be a two-day drive to get to the opal capital of the world; an easy decision for us to make. After countless hours spent researching where to visit in Australia, we focused on the Golden Triangle of Victoria and the various opal fields Australia has to offer. It was during our time there that the opal bug bit once again. During our stay, we visited opal shops, spoke with opal cutters, and learned as much as possible about the opal industry in the throes of our revitalized interest in the gemstone. Being immersed in the opal culture gave us hands-on experience and knowledge that could not have been gained elsewhere.
After visiting many vineyards and a few successful gold nugget hunts, we turned our attention towards our new shared interest in opals. We started our adventure to the north of Australia, headed, at last, for Coober Pedy. Our visit there both fulfilled a lifelong dream of Adam’s and solidified Shawna’s enthusiasm for opals. The time spent in that unique outback landscape, talking with and learning from local shop owners, miners, and experts fed our addiction and we are now true opal-holics! The contagious passion of the Coober Pedy locals is what first sparked our earliest thoughts of entering the opal industry ourselves.
As moving to an opal mining town was not an option, we evaluated the alternatives and knew a web-based business would best fit our lifestyle. Adam then began to hone his opal-based lapidary skills. After several years of devoted research, miner networking, studying, honing our skills, learning techniques and acquiring equipment, and with Shawna’s new administrative skills and talent for photography, we are now ready to share our passion for opals with the world!
We hope you enjoyed learning more about us, where we come from, and why we are doing what we do. We sincerely hope to guide you in your opal buying decision and look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience so you can be confident in your purchase of one of Mother Nature’s true wonders.
Photo's of Adam and Shawna
Adam looking for color in the opal baring level.
Mullock heaps from old opal diggings at Coober Pedy