Looking for something uniquely Australian that would also make a great gift for someone special? Australian opals are a beautiful addition to anyone’s jewellery box and come in a range of colours, from white to ultra-pretty azure blues and aquamarines. They can also be set in any type of jewellery making them a diverse souvenir option. Opals were discovered in Australia in the 1800’s and are mostly mined in Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge. Opals also feature in many aboriginal dreamtime stories, which gives them a unique place in Australian folklore.
Australian Opal Cutters is where you’ll find Australia’s most affordable and authentic opals. This is a family-owned business that has been running for three generations. You are welcome to come in and design your own truly unique piece. Expect to pay around $150 – $600 for an opal pendant or ring. Unset opals are also available.
Find them: Australian Opal Cutters, 3rd Floor/295-301 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Australia’s Aboriginals are the oldest civilisation in the world and the people who first started using art to convey their important cultural stories. The first art was drawn on rock walls, tools, in dirt, or as ceremonial paint. Painting on canvas only began around 50 years ago, and has since become one of the most exciting art movements in the contemporary art world.
The stories that are the subject of the paintings are passed down through generations and different groups inherit the right to tell these stories through their family. Artworks will differ in style depending on which region the artist is from, and the symbols chosen to represent their secret knowledge.
Aboriginal Dreamtime Fine Art Gallery has over 20 years experience in Aboriginal fine art and has relationships with artists and staff from diverse communities throughout Australia. The gallery adheres to strict guidelines when dealing with Indigenous artists, so when you purchase from them, you’re ensuring the ethical treatment of Indigenous artists. Some of the works represented come from prize winning artists who are represented in major public and private collections, and others are young and emerging artists. The gallery also has rugs and small artifacts, so there’s something for every budget.
Either way, you’re getting a genuine piece of Australian culture that you’ll love for years to come. Exoect to pay from $200 for a small painting
Find them: Aboriginal Dreamtime Fine Art Gallery, 36 The Corso, Manly
The Rocks Markets are a central marketplace showcasing locally sourced artisanal wares including jewellery, clothes, food items and even chopping boards handcrafted from Australian hardwood. Most of the goods are made sustainably, many from recycled materials, and all are authentically Australian made. There’s usually a selection of local food showcasing the range of Australia’s ethnic diversity, and a free arts and crafts workshop on the last Saturday of each month.
This is one of the few places in Sydney where you get to meet the designer of the item you purchase, and the charming cobblestone streets on the laneways and historical pubs are fun too. Prices vary.
Find them: The Rocks markets, Playfair Street, Jack Mundey Place and George Street, The Rocks
Featured image courtesy Rocks Markets Sydney