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“Supporting the Australian Opal Centre in this way is leaving a homage to the opal industry, celebrating a part of Australian history and giving permanent respect.”

Paul Sedawie, Seda Opals
$10,000 AOC Founder

AOC Founder and President of the Opal Association of Australia, Paul Sedawie, has been involved in the opal mining and exporting industry for over 30 years, and helps his brother Wayne run the world's largest online opal auction website. He is an avid promoter of opal, raising awareness among the global jewellery industry and general public at large through his numerous educational publications and presentations.

“I’ve always loved opal and bought my first stone at age 14. In 1986, I decided to go out opal mining in Lightning Ridge. I’d divorced and when I lose money, I always try to find it quickly, but over nine months I lost even more money. That was the start of a career dealing in opal though, and over the past 30 years I’ve chased different market shows overseas exporting opal, and now it’s mainly an internet business. It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve been privileged to deal in so many opals and make a good living out of it.

I became involved in the Opal Association over 10 years ago as a thank you to the industry for the lifestyle it’s provided. I decided to become an AOC Founder as another way to say thank you, but also for many other reasons. I originally did have different views on the building and its location, but I’ve reached a stage where I think so much energy and effort has gone into this project, it’s a do or die. Either you support it or you don’t. And it needs to happen. It will be a symbol of our whole industry, representing all Australian opal fields. It will capture the romance and beauty of opal alongside the memorabilia and heritage of our industry.

To be an AOC Founding is making a statement to the Australian opal industry that you believe this is possible and it’s of long-term interest to the industry. I think all opal people should get behind it. In some ways, supporting the Australian Opal Centre in this way is leaving a homage to the opal industry, celebrating a part of Australian history and giving permanent respect. We’re all getting older and having a few more grey hairs makes you realise we can leave a legacy for everyone’s children.

The new Australian Opal Centre will do a tremendous amount for Lightning Ridge, but I think there will be a spin off for all Australian opal fields and for Australian tourism in general. It will be such a symbol of true Australia, such as the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton or the Longreach Hall of Fame. Like the Opal Hunters television show, it’s all about exposure. People will come out to Lightning Ridge and may even start mining or getting into the industry themselves. They will hopefully see a great specimen of a Coober Pedy shell patch and then visit Coober Pedy to have a look.

The other benefit I believe is it’s making a statement to the government and the Mines Department that this is a strong industry. It needs protecting, it doesn’t need more hindrance and government legislation. It will also make people realise opal is our national stone as some people in Australia still don’t know this. It will also acknowledge the importance opal has on our economy - the flow-on effect from our industry is enormous and it needs protecting. So I see it as a pretty strong political statement that should guarantee the business for future years.

With markets and the dynamics of the opal industry changing, the Australian Opal Centre represents the only chance we’ll get to do something like this. I know people see momentum happening in many areas at the moment, so the time is right where we should all get behind it, support it, and become AOC Founders. There will not only be a benefit to your business but long-term impacts to the Australian opal industry. There is so much that is becoming positive now and our industry does have a positive frame of mind. The contribution is small but the leverage is enormous, and that helps the whole industry.”

If you’d like to join Paul 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 founders@australianopalcentre.com. We look forward to hearing from you!