Ancient opal came from mines in what is now Eastern Slovakia, but these deposits are now exhausted.
Since gold prospectors in Australia found the first pieces of precious opal in 1863, production increased to reach now 98% of the world market. Queen Victoria was one of the first to appreciate opals from this new source.
Black opal is found in the district Lightning Ridge, New South Wales.
Another large opal producing area is Cober Pedy, South Australia, which produces white opal. The name Coober Pedy is an Aboriginal name meaning « white man in a hole », describes quite accurately the living condition of the miners.
Andamooka is known for producing mostly white material.
Cober Pedy and Andamooka together produce more than 90% of the gem quality opal.
Fire opal is produced in Mexico.