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The most colorful gemstones on Earth - Jeff Dekofsky

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In November 1986, Australian miners climbed Lunatic Hill and bored 20 meters into the Earth. They were rewarded with a fist-sized, record breaking gemstone, which they named the Hailey’s Comet opal. Thanks to a characteristic called “play of color,” no two opals look the same. So what causes these vibrant displays? Jeff Dekofsky digs into the rock’s shimmering, dancing displays of light.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jeff Dekofsky
  • Director Ivana Bošnjak, Thomas Johnson
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Sound Designer Spencer Ward
  • Music Salil Bhayani
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Jennifer Nam
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Gemstones have captivated the world with their beauty for millennia. The star-like sparkle of the diamond, the deep-sea blue of the sapphire, the forest green of the emerald, the fiery red of the ruby have all inspired treasure hunters, collectors, jewelers and consumers to chase after these gems for most of human history. Only one stone displays the best of all of these precious gems… the opal.

Opals are truly one of the world’s most fascinating and beautiful gemstones. A tremendous resource for all things opal is the American Opal Society website. Here you can read articles, find out-of-print books, learn about cutting and polishing opals at home and find links to member sites as well. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is also a storehouse of information regarding opal formation, types and some beautiful photographs of gem grade opals. Other good resources for opal information such as colors, patterns, metaphysical properties, value ranges, varieties of different types of opals, etc. are the GemSelect and Gemdat opal pages.
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
The Australian town of Mintabie is Aboriginal-owned land. It is leased to miners through an agreement with the Australian government, and has recently been closed to opal mining by the government due to various factors. Some of the problems include criminal activity, exploitation of the local aboriginal people there by unethical business people and the prohibitive cost of providing law enforcement to protect the residents of the area. Additionally, it has been rumored that natural gas and/or shale oil have been discovered below the surface of the ground in the area. Unfortunately, accessing these new-found resources will necessitate the destruction of any opal deposits in this area which are believed by most experts to be considerable.
11/09/2020 • 
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jeff Dekofsky
  • Director Ivana Bošnjak, Thomas Johnson
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Sound Designer Spencer Ward
  • Music Salil Bhayani
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Jennifer Nam
  • See more