The Rest is History…
A dreamer and adventurer, John Benny joins the British Merchant Navy to travel the world after being demobbed from the Polish army under British command.
On a bicycle with a bag of oranges, John Benny leaves Fremantle in Western Australia for the Australian outback in search of his fortune. He learns desert survival from its masters, the Aboriginal elders, while searching for nickel, silver, gold and uranium.
‘A beautiful princess’, Zofia steals John Benny's heart and they marry a week later. Their lifelong love will found the Benny-Bernard opal dynasty.
While on a filming trip around Australia with filmmaker, Stanisław Szwarc-Bronikowski, John Benny visits Coober Pedy, South Australia’s quirky opal mining town. Soon after, John and his young family relocate to Coober Pedy in pursuit of Australia's most beautiful gemstone, the opal.
While John Benny Snr mines for opals, his youngest son (also named John) sets up his own small opal search and buying venture at seven years of age. A budding geologist, he makes it his mission to learn everything he can about opals – something that will later serve him well.
Museum & Boutique
Known as the ‘Opal King’, John Benny Snr founds the world’s largest (albeit short-lived) gem and Aboriginal artefact museum. in Canberra. John Jnr opens a retail establishment he calls ‘Earth Exchange’ in Sydney’s famous The Rocks precinct.
John Benny Jnr changes his name to John Bernard and renames his boutique ‘Opal Minded’. At the same time, he returns to his mining roots and acquires opal mines in Queensland.
Jundah-Opalville & More Love
John expands Opal Minded's mining operations to include Jundah-Opalville in Queensland, where the first black opals were uncovered. John meets and falls in love with Renata. Like John's parents before them, they share a passion for each other and for the magical Australian gemstone. Renata leaves academia to become a qualified and accredited gemmologist and valuer. Together John and Renata found Australia’s first opal jewellery maison.
Several jewellery design awards later and with a firm focus on exceptional quality opals and opal jewellery, Opal Minded opens its first jewellery design studio to complement its retail boutique in The Rocks. In 2019, a larger design space, Opal Minded Studio, opens in Sydney’s landmark The Dymocks Building.
Opal Minded's philosophy is simple:
- The story of each piece must start with sustainable and environmentally responsible opal mining.
- Opal jewellery ownership should be part of every woman’s real-life fairy tale.
- Opals are forever. All our opal jewellery is guaranteed for life and comes with its own life-long Opal Care Service.