History Benton Gems and Benton Opals.
Ben and Tony Stoverink, both born in the Netherlands, decided to look for rocks and gemstones while visiting Australia in 1983. While travelling in N.S.W. and Queensland, they were shown several locations known for gemstones and rocks. They met a lot of nice people from all over Australia with the same interest and enjoying the same lifestyle and freedom. Nice stones were found and this was the beginning of collecting and travelling Down Under.
In 1985 they went both back to Australia to explore and hunt for gems and rocks again, and extended their travels into the Northern Territory.
Back in the Netherlands they made the decision to sell the rocks and gems they didn't want. The name they used for their new found business was Benton Gems.
The 3rd trip to Australia didn't take place 'till 1992. This time they travelled all over Australia and were introduced into the world of Opals. In 1994 their first opal experience was opal mining in Lightning Ridge, N.S.W. They found a few nice opals, which brought about a plan to keep pursuing the opal industry. That year they visited Yowah in Queensland for only a couple of weeks. This was enough to get what they call the "opal bug", which resulted in mining for opal in 1995 in Yowah.
For 3 years during the
mining seasons, while in Australia, they worked one of the historical mines; the
"Jojo-mine". This was originally part of the famous "Great
Extended" mine, which was discovered by Mr. W.O. Evans.
This mine was known for its exceptional quality of gem crystal nuts.
Ben and Tony were taught how to cut the stones and bought their own cutting- and polishing machines. Cutting opal is a great experience and can be rewarding, as you don't know what you will find behind the ironstone.
In 1999 and 2000 they mined on various mining leases and time was spent to explore the area around Yowah. This resulted in obtaining leases and claims.
Because of the Aboriginal Native Title Rights these mines could not be worked until an agreement has been signed. Which happened at the end of 2003, and from the year 2004 on, these new mines can be worked.
In 2001 they decided to do
some mining again in Lightning Ridge.
In 2002 they explored the Koroit opal fields and 2 mines were bought.
In 2003 they began mining with heavy machinery in Koroit.
Currently we hope opal mining will go on between Yowah and Koroit. We also believe there's a chance we find boulder opal at these locations.
This, we hope, will provide our customers with more choice of Queensland opal.
As our business developed, we decided to give it a new name; Benton Opals.
Back to "About us".