ABOUT HOPKINS OPAL
OPAL IS OUR FAMILY BUSINESS
Sam Hopkins moved from Rhode Island to Melbourne, Australia in the 1960’s after obtaining relocation funds from the Australian government during their efforts to attract educators from overseas. Sam taught business at a technical school and developed apprenticeship programs. Janice, Sam’s wife owned and operated the local petrol station/post office/general store in a small farming community noted for its Aboriginal missions. Their three children, Matt, Dan, and Hannah were raised there until the late 1970’s when the family decided to move back to the United States. Sam’s education tenure was complete, but his newly developed interest in Australian opal was just beginning. Sam & Janice sold their property for a payment of half cash and half opal and moved back to Rhode Island.
Sam started teaching Matt and Dan to cut turquoise, jasper, agate, and spectrolite when they were 12 and 10 years old, respectively. He paid them 50 cents for each stone they completed. Once they became proficient cutters he gave them a parcel of light opal to work with and they were hooked.
Realizing his passion for opal was so great, Sam returned to Australia permanently in the 1990's to try his hand at opal mining in Lightning Ridge. After a number of initial failures he finally came upon some fruitful ground. Sam gave his sons parcels of the opal he cut and asked them to take to the road to try to distribute it.
Together they established the Hopkins Opal family business in the late 1990's. Over the course of the last several decades, all of the immediate Hopkins family has moved back to Australia with the exception of Matt, who still resides in Rhode Island. Matt operates our U.S. office where he spearheads the opal cutting, distribution services, and international trade shows. Dan, who is now the driving force behind Hopkins Opal, operates our prospecting, mining, sourcing, and cutting operations in Australia. Sam is currently in retirement after decades of mining and prospecting in the local opal fields of Lightning Ridge and is focused on painting and his artwork.
The team at Hopkins Opal is passionate about mining, cutting, sourcing, and distributing Australian opal to the global market. With a specialization in Lightning Ridge sourced material, Hopkins Opal carries both black and crystal opal of all grades, from commercial to top-gem collector quality. Along with Matt and Dan, our team includes; Stacey, Matt’s longtime staff member who manages and develops our online and social media presence, Matt & Dan’s sister, Hannah, who has been helping out with much of the opal cutting, and Dan’s daughter, Rebecca, who has taken an interest in the business and developing her online sales abilities. If you are visiting us at a trade show you are also likely to interact with our very good friends Barbara, Sandi, and Dick who are a part of the Hopkins Opal extended family. We look forward to making your life more beautiful and colorful, at least one opal at a time.
MEDIA & FEATURES
Our opals have been featured as exemplars of fine black opal in numerous major publications such as: Lapidary Journal, AGTA Source Directory, CIBJO Reference Guide, Renee Newman's Gemstone Buying Guide.
AGTA - Prism Volume 3, 2020
Hong Kong Jewellery Magazine - Promising Future for Australian Opals
Angie Crabtree - Opal series and exhibition, “Lit: Opals, Diamonds and Light,” featuring Hopkins Opal's opals as inspiration for her works Cove, Phoenix, and Skye. To commission a custom oil painting to pair with your favorite opal or gemstone contact Angie here.
All The Brilliants - The Skinny on Opal
All The Brilliants - Opal Buying Guide
Jewelry Navigator Podcast - The Not So Scary Truth About Opals with Matthew Hopkins
Thesis Gems & Jewelry - Lightning From Heaven: Opals
Llyn Strong Fine Art Jewelry - October Opal Show
JCK - Must-See Stone Dealers: Gemology Geek’s “Tucson Top 5”
JCK - Top 5 Takeaways From the 2016 Tucson Gem Shows
JCK - Flash Dance Redux
JCK - Flash Dance: The Opal Resurgence
NY Times - A Treasure on Every Table
National Jeweler - Rocks On: Opal's Essence Continues to Delight
Gemological Institute of America (GIA) - Washington DC Alumni Presentation