Andrew and Damien Cody, Cody Opals
$10,000 AOC Founders
Brothers and AOC Founders Andrew and Damien Cody of Cody Opals are highly regarded internationally as among Australia’s leading opal cutters, wholesalers and exporters, having supplied the jewellery trade since 1971. Here, Andrew Cody, a recent recipient of the prestigious honorary Gem-A Fellowship for his services to gemmology and the wider industry, tells why a centre dedicated to Australian opal is important for the future of the industry.
“I found my first opal when I was 12 years old, on the streets of Coober Pedy; it was an opalised fossil. From there I was hooked, but it became a hobby for me before it was my career. What really appealed to me, and still does, is being able to go to the opal fields, to be your own boss and find buried treasure. It’s what I’ve done basically my entire life - collecting rocks and fossils, travelling around the world, meeting lovely people. I just love it.
The Australia opal industry has been around for more than 100 years, but we don’t have a public museum dedicated to something that has brought in billions of dollars to our country in that time. Many of us in the opal industry are getting older, and we haven’t really left anything behind that will celebrate our history. And if we want our history and industry to survive, we need something iconic like the Australian Opal Centre to be built. Something that can tell our story from many perspectives, where everything can be together all in the one place, and that we can be proud of.
We also need to think about the people coming in the future, our children, rather than just what’s happening today. I want to see the youth come in and have an opal industry to be a part of. I have two sons and they are thinking about joining our business. My youngest son has been travelling with me this year, and he’s really excited about it, he loves it. It’s such an amazing opportunity, and a wonderful adventure is lying ahead of him. So if we’re good corporate citizens, as I think everybody in this business should be, then we should all give something back to the next generation.
I believe the new Australian Opal Centre will rejuvenate the opal industry and be the catalyst to make a lot of great things happen. It will be a meeting place for industry, bringing opal and gemmology conventions from overseas and around Australia. It will invigorate interest from people all around the world to buy our product, allow for the creation of new jewellery designs, and be a centre of learning that will also stimulate new research and science. The things that can be studied in the Centre will be phenomenal.
At the moment, many opal collectors gather specimens and fossils but nobody can ever see them - it doesn’t do anybody any good if it just sits in a safe or wherever they keep them. The Australian Opal Centre will be a place where people can show their collections in a world-class, secure environment. They might have extraordinary things in their collections that can tell us more about how opal is formed, which we still know very little about.
It will also stimulate Lightning Ridge, which is a wonderful place. There is opportunity to start winding everything up again, with the possibility of a major five star hotel and a health resort in the town, and the airport operating again as people will fly in. It will really help the future of the industry with the right infrastructure and making the most of the things Lightning Ridge offers. But it’s not just about Lightning Ridge, it’s the whole tourism industry and other opal fields that will benefit too.
I think the opal industry has a brilliant future if we can find more opal; and the more we learn about how to find opal, the more important the gemstone will become. The Australian Opal Centre is sure to create a resurgence as new people become involved and learn how to be miners or opal cutters. There’s no reason why we can’t get back to the record levels we once enjoyed and keep the industry going for another 100 years or more to come. I encourage everybody in the Australian opal industry and beyond to join Damien and I in becoming an AOC Founder.
If you’d like to join Andrew and Damien as an AOC Founder, please click here for a Founders Brochure and Application Form. For more information contact Olivia Ward by calling 0400 225 751 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!