Welcome to OPAL DIREKT, your wholesaler and retailer!
|My way to the opal
How it all started
At the tender age of 7, my uncle gave me a beautiful opal. I just couldn't believe that nature could produce such beautiful "stones" with the iridescent colors of a rainbow. I was immediately gripped by a fascination that would not let go of me for the rest of my life. A few years later I saw a very interesting report on TV about Australia and people looking for opals. I got my opal out of my treasure chest and was happy to own such a valuable gemstone. Slowly it began to germinate in me and I really wanted to go to Australia as soon as possible to dig for opals myself.
The opal fever finally got hold of me.
As a teenager, at the age of 14, I made some decisions that would bring me closer to my goal. First I started saving my pocket money, went shopping for the elderly in our area, cleared snow in winter and mowed lawns in summer. I worked as a modern cowboy on the Esterbergalm in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and during the summer holidays I tended cows and had to look after 46 calves. My earnings at that time amounted to an impressive 400 marks. Family and friends now knew that I wanted to use my hard-earned money prospecting for opals in Australia, but they didn't quite believe what I had set my mind to.
That's how it went until my 16th birthday.
I came out of school and started my first apprenticeship as a chef. I thought it couldn't hurt to have a job, but shortly before graduation I gave up my apprenticeship and went back to school. I also worked as a taxi driver and at a gas station on the weekends. So every year I got a little closer to my dream. After graduating from school, I decided to see the world before I holed up in Australia. So I traveled briefly through America, a very beautiful country, there are opals there too. Then I went to Africa, a really mystical continent. Also in Asia, I visited some countries that also had their charms. Of course I also saw some of Europe. When I got home, I turned back to my "OPAL project". Luckily for me, I found out that we have an extended family living in the Australian bush. Having relatives in the bush is rarer than winning the lottery as the majority of the population tends to live on the coasts and in their cities. Full of joy about this coincidence, I set about making contact. I didn't have to wait long for an answer, which was already linked to an invitation to come to Australia.
It finally started
In my mid-twenties, my dream of traveling to Australia, which I had cherished for years, finally came true. Arriving in Adelaide, one of my relatives picked me up at the airport to take the bus to the outback soon after. Two days later, after a long but interesting bus journey, I arrived in Bourke, a sleepy little town in the middle of the Australian bush. First I hired as a sheep farmer to supplement my budget. An extremely tough job but also good preparation for my future goals. However, since I didn't want to be a sheep farmer but an opal prospector, I left the farm after almost a year, where I was able to meet some interesting people who I would later have to deal with. In addition, the farm was not that far from the opal fields of White Cilff's and Lightning Ridge, I could hardly believe my luck. It felt like a six with an extra number to me. What could go wrong now? I'd made friends with a guy called "Catweasel" who used to shear sheep every now and then to use the hard earned money to continue mining for opals. We teamed up and together we started prospecting for opals in Glengarry.
The foundation stone was laid
Bone-hard work in the most extreme conditions, I thought to myself, what is it that you endure such hardships. Hard work and no opals, it can't be that. But giving up doesn't count. For years I worked for this dream at home, saved money, renounced pleasure in order to be able to realize this, my dream. In the meantime I got to know even more interesting people, including many who became important to me. I continued digging persistently for opals, but with very limited success. However, this did not dampen my enthusiasm, which was also noticed by the other colleagues, so that an offer was made to me, namely to learn how to cut opals. I was happy to accept, because if I didn't find any opals, I could at least enjoy the opals of the others. Through the new job as a grinder I got to know other opal prospectors. One of them was Keith Smith, who offered me to work with him and other like-minded people. I had a very good feeling about it, because this way I finally had the opportunity to find my own opals. So I said yes straight away. At the beginning of our collaboration at the Sheepyard we found a lot of fossils, but without opal inclusions. Although we weren't very successful, I never lost my optimism, so I encouraged the others to keep going. The tide finally turned and we found what we were looking for. Really beautiful, colorful opals. Wow, that was a great feeling. We formed a company called GEM-OPALS-AUSTRALIA. The events rolled over, the opal finds were so enormous that we sold directly to wholesale companies. However, this is not how I imagined my commitment. It all became too big, too impersonal, looking only for quick money and not into the future. But I didn't want that, so I left and founded my own company in 1996
I was now only mining with a partner, cutting the opals myself and selling them mostly to retailers at fairs in Australia and sometimes to tourists. Over time it got a bit boring for me, I wanted to share my passion with a lot of people. So I decided to return home towards the end of 1998 to pass on the opals directly to the opal lovers. I have set up my own cutting workshop in which I have cut more than 100,000 opals to date. Now I would like to pass on my knowledge and skills by also offering grinding courses, organizing various workshops at trade fairs and happy to provide information about the most beautiful stone on earth. Every year I'm in Australia to visit old friends, but also to dig for raw stones that are packed in barrels and shipped to Germany. Many friends and acquaintances say: "It's nice for you, you can live your dream". I can only say that they are all right, but would everyone want to pay this high price? Today I can say that I was very, very lucky, that I was allowed to follow this path and that I was able to establish myself in the opal business. However, there are also downsides. My knees, arms and spinal discs have become quite bruised over time from the hard physical work. Surely it's easier to fly to Australia, buy a few opals there and sell them here, which is what most of my colleagues do. But only searching and finding is the absolute most beautiful thing, but you only experience this happiness when you set out on your own, take on hard work and deprivation, so that at the end of the day you can say: It was worth it.
I would like to thank the many people who have accompanied and supported me on this opal path.