Alaska had a small part in gem history this past month as a record size opal was sold for upwards of $143,000.
A man by the name of Fred von Brandt residing in Big Lake, Alaska auctioned the gem at Alaska Premier Auctions & Appraisals. This piece traveled with him from Oregon and had been in his family for years.
The opal was unearthed in Australia and acquired by the Altmann family in 1956. It was named the 'Americus Australis'. The gem was spliced in two pieces to determine its authenticity (that was how it was done in those days) and is about the size of a brick. It weighs more than 11,800 carats.