The 2013 Opal Festival in Lightning Ridge celebrated 20 years since opal became Australia’s national gemstone and 50 years since the Ridge received its name. The festival also celebrated 110 years since the first black opals were mined at Lightning Ridge and were sold by Charlie Nettleton in White Cliffs. The International Opal Jewellery Design Awards kick-started the festival, with opal jewellery from around the world entered into the competition and showcasing the current trends. The IOJDAA hosted the Gala Awards Dinner and showcased the opal jewellery entries at the Lightning Ridge and District Bowling Club on Friday, July 26. The entries were also displayed at the Opal Trade Show in the Legends Room from Thursday, July 25 to Sunday, July 28. The Lightning Ridge Opal Queen was crowned at the Opal Queen Ball in the bowling club on Saturday, July 27. The theme for 2013 was Fire and Ice. Source: http://www.theridgenews.com.au/story/1661554/a-gem-of-a-festival/

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