COOBER PEDY News & Events


Adelaide Now story dubbed as sensationalism and rubbish

The Chairperson of Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association Inc, Mr Robert Coro

The Chairperson of Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association Inc, Mr Robert Coro

The Chairperson of Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association Inc, Mr Robert Coro has refuted the banner headline ‘Tourists duped in fake opal scam’  (Advertiser 22/5/09) as at best, sensationalism and at worst, mischievous.

“What generalised rubbish!” said Mr. Coro.

 “There are 29 opal shops in Coober Pedy of which 26 are members of the Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association.  We are required by law to give purchasers of opal a written receipt describing the opal as belonging to one of 6 classes; solid opal, laminated opal, Matrix opal, Treated opal, synthetic opal and imitation opal”, stated Mr Coro.

The allegations of opal fraud in the town, coincided with a two day visit to Coober Pedy by Australia’s Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce.  The Governor General and her team were guests at Mr. Coros venue, the world renown Desert Cave Hotel which includes an in-house retail opal shop. 

Their Excellencies, Mr and Mrs Bryce’s first itinery item was a tour of the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum where they viewed a movie depicting the reality of the hard yards opal industry players have endured in bringing world class recognition to opal, also known as the Queen of Gems.

Opal was proclaimed Australia’s National Gemstone by a former Governor General, Bill Hayden on the 27th of July 1993.

An abundance of opal in Coober Pedy

An abundance of opal in Coober Pedy

In responding to the timely Adelaide Now article, Mr Coro also told Advertiser staff,  “your reporter asserts in the first paragraph that ‘fake opals are being peddled to tourists in Coober Pedy’.  That is an assumption and in fact a slur on legitimate and honest business people of our town.

All members of our association are required by our code of ethics to adhere to this.  We recommend that all our visitors purchase their opal from a member store and to request a certificate of their purchase. I suggest that all our member stores do the right thing and give purchasers true value for money.    

One would have expected that the Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association, as the representative body of the majority of opal shops in Coober Pedy, in fact the majority of business’, would have been asked to provide comment prior to this article being published”.

Mr Ramsey who is expected to retract his comments from the Adelaide Now article had stated that he had been meeting with the Coober Pedy Opal Miners Association and the Jewellers Association of Australia to discuss a possible accreditation for opals and an industry code of practice.

Mr. Ramsey had  been contacted by Coober Pedy Opal Miners Association Inc committee members seeking representation on matters that may not have been appropriate to the  association’s  station. 

Members of the opal mining community in general have not been aware of any concerns regarding disturbing opal sales and had not been made aware that the association representing the Miners had been involved in discussions with Mr. Ramsey on retail or any other matters. 

Jewellery retailers are expecting that Adelaide Now will voluntarily remove the offensive article from their website, which inappropriately and recklessly defames all genuine opal industry traders and  jewellers elsewhere who trade in opal.

One trader has stated that if the article is also in print form it may be another matter to consider.