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Our History

Born in the dusty mining fields of Coober Pedy - the opal capital of the world - our family story is a true Aussie gem.

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In 1968, John Ryneš emigrated to Australia to escape the Soviet occupation of (then) Czechoslovakia. Landing in New South Wales, he started work for BHP, before launching his own candle business and quickly earning enough - some $20,000 - to purchase a small parcel of land across the border in South Australia.

John packed up and moved to Coober Pedy - named for the Aboriginal term “kupa-piti”, which means "whitefellas' hole". He dreamt of striking it rich mining Australia’s national gemstone, the opal.

An unforgiving part of the world, Coober Pedy proved challenging. Opal prospecting is a fiercely protected tradition, and mining towns can be ruthless places.

With his small mine proving less than lucrative, John turned to opal cutting - the art of polishing rough opals to remove excess material, cracks and ‘potch’ (colourless opal). He began jewellery-making and worked hard to perfect his skills.

While opals remained elusive, John did discover something extremely precious in Coober Pedy - a young high school teacher named Helena. The two were soon married in an intimate backyard ceremony, and son Mike was born shortly after.

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On land purchased via a handshake (that’s how things were done in those days), the Ryneš established not only the original ‘Opal Factory’ - a storefront for John’s design business - but a caravan park for tourists, miners and their families.

Around the same time, John and Helena also opened a jewellery store in Semaphore - commuting the 816km to deliver rough opal straight from the mines, to cut and sell.

In the mid-1980s, the family uprooted and moved to Willunga - about 45 minutes south of Adelaide - opening ‘The Opal and Gem Factory’ in the McLarens on the Lake winery. The jewellery workshop employed five jewellers (whom John had trained) and was combined with a retail shop, inside the winery.

John would deliver opal cutting and jewellery demonstrations for the public and tourists, while also making opal jewellery for shops around Australia.

Before long, John expanded the business with a second showroom in the CBD.

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In 2010, John passed the reins to his son - who had been assisting in the store for nine years. Recognising that the business landscape was changing, and a global financial crisis loomed, Mike made the decision to diversify, offering diamonds as well as opals, and rebranding as ‘Opal Diamond Factory’.

Mike’s sister Anna and wife Melanie have also joined the family business - and can be found at the flagship showroom on Adelaide's famous Beehive Corner.

“As a kid, I used to go with my Dad during the school holidays. Most trips meant driving for 8 to 14 hours at a time, buying the opal, sleeping a few hours and turning straight around to drive home.

We still take buying trips all over Australia - up to Coober Pedy, Lightning Ridge and Queensland.

We are very lucky that miners also come to us - because of our relationships with them (some over 40 years), and our reputation in the industry.” - Mike Saj-Ryneš, Managing Director

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The Opal and Diamond Factory is recognised across Australia and around the world for integrity, exclusivity and quality.

“Clients from all around the world reach out to have their custom pieces created by us, without ever setting foot in our actual showroom.” - Mike Saj-Ryneš, Managing Director

You can also find the Opal Diamond Factory on social media.

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