New Range of Australian Opal Jewelry Complements Linda Jackson’s Eye-catching Fashion Designs.

Australian opal jewelry, designed by Linda Jackson, brings a sense of drama and occasion to the wearer as do her opal inspired fashion outfits.

Linda draped in some of her opal scarves'Opalinda'

Linda draped in some of her vividly colored silk scarves.

Well known as the October birthstone, opal jewellery is sought after by the most discerning and fashion conscious, with the Australian black opal, found at Lightning Ridge, being the most prestigious and expensive because of its flashing brilliant colours.

Personally, I am attracted to the softer hues of the milky ‘white’ opal from Coober Pedy, which also has an impressive play of colors.

Opals formed by the Great Artesian Basin

Australia is the source of around ninety five percent of the world’s opal production, probably because of the geological history of the Great Artesian Basin, a massive underground fresh water lake, which covers a good quarter of the arid inland of the continent.

This huge water catchment, from which many hot bores gush across the continent, is composed largely of sedimentary sandstone, through which, over the aeons, water has slowly trickled, absorbing silica from the rock and depositing it in cracks and crevices, which, after many episodes of evaporation, eventually turns to opal. Even more intriguing are the occasional finds of fossilized opal skeletons or tree branches.

'Opal Cloud 1' - Linda Jackson pure silk scarf.

Linda says, “The opal is our national gem, a living treasure, a glittering rainbow in stone, paintings of light by Mother Nature, a miracle of brilliant dazzling colour. Opal, for me, is awe inspiring; a revelation of great beauty.”

Little wonder that she finds the brilliant colours of Australia’s national gemstone such an inspiration when taking up her paintbrush!

Linda with a series of opal inspired silk 'floats'.

Linda first visited the remote outback opal fields in 1979; inspired by the fiery opals, by the people and by the place, she returned often, taking part in the Design Awards in Yowah and Lightning Ridge as a judge and a participant from 2000 to 2011.

Opalinda - Australian opal jewelry

Linda remarks, "It is important for me as a colourist to explore this beauty and purest form of colour in its natural form. With my long-term passion for opals I aim to transform the mysterious beauty and magic of their colour into a new and distinctive form".

Using microscopic photographic technology Linda studies the various layers of colour structure inherent to opal's particular properties of light diffraction.

Working in such a field (pardon the pun!) Linda is a leader in the interpretation of pattern and colour, that is millions of years old, to a modern and accessible abstract form that conveys the essence of this remarkable natural phenomenon.

Opal Necklace, Linda JacksonOpal Necklace - Linda Jackson

Gorgeous opal necklace

Following trips to Lightning Ridge, where she photographed the Black Opal frocks and new experimental hand printed and painted textiles in the landscape which had been their inspiration, Linda and Jenny Kee presented Flaming Opal Follies in 1981. This extravagant and flamboyant show, with its hand-painted backdrop and models wearing opal inspired makeup, was spectacular!

Two years later, glowing like the opal gemstones themselves, the brilliant Black Light Opal series, with its fluorescent colours of extreme intensity was shown in ultra-violet light to great acclaim.

Launch of Linda's Australian Opal Jewelry

Linda's 'Opalessence' perfume, Black Opal fabric wrapping each bottle, was launched the same year, as was her stunning Australian opal jewelry.

As Linda recalls, "I created opal jewelry with Yowah and Boulder Opal from Western Queensland, tracing the opal matrix colours, lines and shapes that ran like rivers through the landscape. Stones of odd shapes were threaded with silk cord and finished with hand-made silver clasps.

Wrapped in silk, black opal printed bags, these creative pieces starred on the front covers of Australian Vogue Magazine.

Australian opal jewelry exhibitions were held in Linda's studio, the Queen Street Gallery, in Berta Opal's 'Opalfields' showroom at Pier One and later at Darling Harbour.

Linda at Lightning Ridge

More recently Linda collaborated with Vogue Magazine and Gary Coffey from Giulians in Sydney to create a group of exquisite jewellery pieces in twenty two carat gold with, mostly, brilliant blue-green, high quality opal. This Australian opal jewelry collection features pendants that can be threaded together or worn as a single piece, complemented by a Tibetan style locket and earrings.

Gary remarked, "A free spirit of fashion, Linda's original approach to design has marked an era in Australian fashion out of a driving passion for the outback and its indigenous people. A cornerstone of her work over the last thirty five years has been her fascination with fiery opals and the lightning storm of colours they hold."

Linda Jackson - opal ribbon 25 x 150cm
Linda Jackson - waratah ribbon 25 x 150cm

What's next for Linda Jackson?

These days, whilst still involved in developing the Australian opal jewelry range further and visiting the opal towns when she can, Linda continues her research into the fascinating micro-world of opals.

Experimenting with transparent glazes, watercolours and mixed media, she is beginning to "translate images onto a series of canvas or paper paintings, shown as flat Japanese screens or Chinese scrolls, to reveal the continuation and flow of intricate patterns laced with colour. These artcloths will be exhibited as scrolls and installations of three dimensional frock sculptures".

Watch this space for more news of their transformation!

uncut opal in matrixUncut Opal
opal design by Linda Jackson'Opal' - silk length by Linda Jackson
Linda in opal matrix fabric against limestone buildingOpal fields - Linda wearing her opal matrix fabric
fluoro opal design, hand painted
opal outfit'Opal' by Linda Jackson
irridescent aqua blue opal
green blue opals set in gold necklet
view of rocky Lightning Ridge landscapeOpal mining
waratah opal scarf close-upWaratah Opal scarf by Linda Jackson
model peeps through opal scarves
milky blue opal set in timber crucifixtimber

Top of Australian Opal Jewelry

Linda Jackson - Recent Paintings and Fabric

Retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria

Linda Jackson CV

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