Pricey Opal Hat a Headspinner

October’s birthstone is lighting up one of the most expensive hats ever to go on the auction block.

Bonhams and Butterfields in San Francisco is hosting one of the first public auctions in the United States devoted to the opulent opal.

Starting on November 10th, the “Nature of Opals” sale will showcase a jewelry collection, loose stones, artwork and more – culminating in the auction of an ostentatious opal hat called “The Deep Blue Sea”.

The sparkling chapeau isn’t the world’s most expensive – but it comes close at an estimated $200,000. The piece is crafted from hand-blocked Australian felt, embellished with feathers and bejeweled with 26 opals weighing approximately 1,447 carats and mined at Australia’s famed Lighting Ridge.

A collaboration between Australian master milliner Ann Maree Willett and opal miners Vicki and Peter Drackett, the hat was also worked on by acclaimed opal carvers Daniela L’Abbate and Christine Roussel and features sterling silver and 18-karat gold settings by master goldsmith Gerd Gerold Schulz.

Additional auction highlights include an 18-karat gold presentation box set with a 224.24-carat oval cabochon of white opal (estimated between $100,000 and $150,000); a 34.80-carat Boulder opal and briolette diamond necklace (estimated between $90,000 and $110,000); and a tangerine-red Mexican fire opal and diamond necklace mounted in 18-karat yellow gold (estimated between $20,000 and $30,000).

But you don’t have to have an auction paddle to bring opals home for your jewelry box. Shop for October birthday girls – and yourself – from the stunning stash of opal gems on

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