Lee Horowitz

Lee Horowitz

Lee Horowitz, the July guest speaker at D.C.GIA, wears many hats; foremost among them is the passionate lover of Peruvian opals. He is an owner, miner, cutter, producer, promoter and dealer of Peruvian opals and other South American minerals.

Mr. Horowitz stood alongside a table loaded with specimens of his gems both rough and finished in pieces of jewelry.

They were spectacular!


Peruvian blue opal is classified as a common opal, a silicate containing water that has no play of color and is distantly related to quartz. Common opal is found in other localities as well; Oregon, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, etc. But it is the Peruvian blue opal that stands out. The blue has a hardness of 5.5( under the 7.0 of quartz ) and is colored by copper.


The Andean blue opal became an immediate hit at the Tucson show of 1998-1999 and much of the rough was bought by India and China. As a result the top quality is scarce and expensive.
Mining is touchy; the major problem is water. Evaporation of the internal water causes loss and change of color and cracking.


The Peruvian blue comes in many shades and the best blue with the least mineral inclusions is termed super. Premium blue is considered superior or second in color and the rest is termed mine run or junk. India and China buy mine run and dye this discolored material. The dye can be detected by testing with acetone.
There are a number of simulants on the market; glass, Victoria stone, dyed chalcedony and others. These have either a different hardness or specific gravity or refractive index.


The pink Peruvian opal is a strawberry pink; the deeper the color the more desirable and expensive the specimen. It has a hardness of 5.5 . It is graded like the blue opal from the rare pink/red, druzy with mineral crystal toppings, to the deeper pink, super pink and mine run that is a washed-out color with much gray. The opals can have dendritic inclusions of manganese and/or iron. Petagorskite enables the pink to take a good polish. As with the blue opal, the pink also has water problems and the dehydration can cause color changes.

Rhodonite and rhodochrosite, colored red or pink by manganese, are found in Argentina, Brazil and Peru. The exceptionally popular Ortiz rhodochrosite is a red with plum overtones unlike the brown from Africa or the deep pink of Alma Colorado. The Andean sources are on the verge of becoming depleted as is the stalactite source from there. The bacon white striped specimens are unusual and much in demand.
Pink rhodonite is a lovely pink opaque material.


Amazonite, with a hardness of 5-6, is a natural turquoise blue from the Amazon basin and a green from the Andes Mountains.

Angellite is found as gray nodules and is a blue colored anhydrite of alabaster.

Sodalite comes from Bolivia and is a deep blue like the Chilean lapis.

Copper-based chrysocholla, related to turquoise, is found in massive form with a hardness of 4.5. Again this material is graded like the opals as super, secondary and mine run. The Peruvian mine is closed but chrysocolla is found in Mexico, Brazil, Zambia and Arizona. It is sold in Israel as the Elat stone, cheaper than turquoise and stabilized.
Other minerals found are: gem silica which is translucent to opaque colored by chrysocholla, opalite, fluorite, patterned lepidolite, demerterite, serpentine, onyx and many etceteras.
The speaker, the speech, the information and the specimens were a resounding success. Many thanks Mr. Horowitz.

Meeting Summary written by Ms. Lisa Carp
Photos by Mrs. Melanie Marts

This entry was posted in Meeting Archives. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. steve fearnehough says:

    I am trying to contact lee-I have some amazing hyalite opal to share with him. steve -907-895-4527. I have changed my number that he has and lost his. Best Regards – steve

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  3. Tina says:

    Dear Mr. Horowitz. Your article very interesting. I love the blue opal bur unfortunately very hard to find. I have contacted you few years ago through your email in regards to buying some, you forwarded a product list. I subsequently tried contacting you again but I realise your a very busy man. If you could contact me it would be greatly appreciated. You may remember me when I say that I live in Adelaide South Australia.

  4. Valerie Svast says:

    I have an antique bracelet of my Great Grandmothers – dated sometime in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. For years I thought it was probably glass but I have recently been told it is South American Red Opal. It is a red with neon striations of blue. I can’t find any information about this opal…do you know anything about them?

  5. Judy Richey says:

    I just purchased a large chunk of peruvian pink opal with 5 birds that sit atop this amazing piece it is very heavy and large. can you tell me where to find a value or can I send you a picture?
    it is 7 inches at the highest point and 10 across and 23 around the base piece is more whitish but the birds are completely pink.
    I can’t find anything like it. It was purchased years ago in a gift shop in Nowhere AZ

  6. cna training says:

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  7. Suzi Adams says:

    American jewelry designer living in Phnom Pen and wondering if Lee’s operation is still here. I would love to buy some nice quality stones.

    • veteran10000 says:

      Contact Lee Horowitz Peru Blue Opal Ltd miners-cutters-manufactueres. also Kingdom of Cambodia International gems formerly of Phnom Pen where we heat treated zircons to blue and orange, cut red spinel , moonstones, tourmalines, etc Contcat at 610-750-6444 USA or via http://www.perublueopal.com or lshorowitz@yahoo.com Also many stones from kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Rawanda and Uganda and USA newest finds Peru Native coper lightening stone, chryscolla lightening stone, drusy chryscolla cabochons, opaline gem sislcia chrysocolla, also we have purple opal tiffany stone, 4 types chrysocolla,, borornite rainbow cabs like russian rainbow pyrite, mining top azurite malachite and mud much more blue opal, pink opal ortiz rhdocrosite, pink rhdocrosite, pink banded rhdocrosite and amazonite premium and standard turquoise bleu . Too much to list . Contact us…

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  9. Farouk Makubuya says:

    I would like you to assist me , I used to sell some stones to Mr Lee Horowitz some time back in 2009, I lost his email address and I would like to get in touch with him again,via the email address below.
    Kindly ask Mr Lee to get in touch with me as I have some stones which I want to sell to him from Uganda.
    Many thanks in advance

  10. Ruth Peterson says:

    How do I order some opals (pendents) & strings of beads?

  11. Amanda Martinez says:

    Hola! Colecciono piedras y joyería de piedras y quisiera que me añada a la página de peruopal.com

  12. dawit says:

    hi, my name is Dawit Kebede, I am from Ethiopia, and from ethiostargemstones company. you had sent me a gemstone business relationship with our company for a sustainable business through global buyers.
    please use my email dawitdan@yahoo. com, or wattsup +251912030472.

    and my company is happy to work with your company and is honest to provide you any informations regarding your mining and mineral investment enquiry.


  13. Ken Workman says:

    I own a fire opal mine In oregon and have tons to sell of rough opal. Colors are red orange yellow whites and browns. 541 430 4466. Mine was open up I. 2018

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