Raising the opal high, the man acted as though he were a movie star. He looked at the crowd proudly as he declared, "Hey, look at this precious gemis anyone interested? I can sell it!"
As his gaze swept around, he could not help laying his eyes on Sophie.
With a snigger, he said, "Hey babe, come over here. I've got something valuable to show you. You're sure to like it."
While Sophie fumed, Li Du answered dismissively, "What's so valuable? That worthless thing in your hand? It's just a muddy stone."
"You can be jealous all you want," the gem hunter answered smugly. "The more you say, the more jealous you are. A muddy stone? Haha! That's funny!"
The other gem hunters laughed. Someone teased, "Lad, you must not know the value. Come, Cyril, tell him the value of the stone!"
The gem hunter with the opal glanced around. "Who wants to own this? This is the real deala real deal that I just found. Name your price if you want ithow about 5,000 dollars!?"
Some of the tourists gasped upon hearing the starting bid. "Sh*t, this thing is worth 5,000 dollars?"
An opal was a very valuable gemstone, especially the highest grade black opal from Australia. It was usually sold according to weightthe rarest ones could go for 5,000 US dollars per carat.
However, that was for the purest type of fine opal. The prices for regular opals was much lower; even the fire opal was worth much less than the black opal. The one in Cyril's hand was just an ordinary one, but as it was a significant size, it was still worth quite a bit.
In the crowd was someone who knew a good thing when he saw one; he said, "Okay, 5,000 dollars, sell it to me."
Cyril ignored him. "Alright," he shouted, "5,000 dollars, 5,000 dollars, 5,000 dollars. Someone's willing to pay 5,000 dollars for this gemstone. Is there anyone offering 5,500 dollars?!"
Someone else threw in a bid. "I offer 5,500 dollars."
Li Du frowned. "What's the meaning of this? An instant auction?"
Someone who was familiar with this trade said, "The fire opal is rare. These hunters may not be able to find a single one for one whole month. Each time they find one, they will auction it off."
"Do tourists carry that much money on them?" Li Du asked.
"No. The people bidding are not tourists, they are fire opal collectors or gem traders," the man explained. "They wander around the park looking for hunters who have found precious stones."
During their conversation, the price of the opal continued to increase and reached 8,000 dollars.
Li Du said thoughtfully, "Gem hunting? This sounds like a pretty good job. Interesting."
It would probably not be a problem for this ordinary-looking opal to fetch 10,000 dollars. If that was the case, then the gem hunters' income was likely pretty goodat least better than that of regular storage auction treasure hunters.
In fact, gem hunters could be considered a type of treasure hunter. Li Du had previously known very little about the industry and had no idea how wide the treasure hunting scope was.
Hearing Li Du, the person next to him shook his head. "It's not as easy as you think. There are not enough opals. This is not Australiasometimes the gem hunters don't find one for months."
Opal mining was very concentrated95 percent of them came from Australia, with black opals and milk opals the most popular. The other 5 percent came from the central part of North America, with fire opals as the main type.
Li Du thought about it for a while and then released the little bug to fly about the rocks nearby to look for this precious gem.
Unfortunately, as the opal was a natural stone, it probably also contained time energy. But as it was not made with effort, it did not hold any attraction for the little bug and so it did not take the initiative to carry out the search.
He was lucky; after the little bug had flown about for a while, he saw a similarly orangey-red stone under a pile of rocks.
After looking at the stone from all directions, he was quite sure it was a fire opal. However, based on the appearance, it did not look as good as the one Cyril held.
After memorizing the opal's location, he said, "It's probably quite easy searching for opals, right? Just look for one in the piles of rocks?"
One of the hunters burst into laughter. "Hear ye! Hear ye! Come hear what this outsider has to say! It's easy to search for opals in piles of rocks? Yes, as easy as looking for a needle in a haystack."
Giving tit-for-tat, Li Du said, "What's so difficult about it?"
"There's nothing difficult about it if you've got God's blessing," Cyril said with disdain. "Otherwise, a rookie like you probably won't find a single one after a year here."
He wasn't exaggerating; the national park spanned hundreds of hectares and had billions of rocks. It was not easy searching for opals. The odds were lower than one in a million.
"How about this, buddy?" Li Du said. "You think finding opals is tough, right?"
Cyril said, "For us old hands it's not difficult. But for a rookie? Definitely tough!"
"How about we bet on it? On me finding an opal within an hour, not a year. How about it?"
"One hour?" The surrounding gem hunters guffawed. "Cyril, take him on, you're sure to win!"
Cyril was not stupid; any normal person would know that he was sure to win this bet. Li Du was obviously a normal person,so why would he make this bet? He must have had something up his sleeve.
So, he warily asked, "What are we betting on?"
"If I win, your opal belongs to me. If I lose, I'll give you 20,000 dollarsyour opal is worth a max of 20,000 dollars, right?"
Cyril hesitated; 20,000 dollars was a huge sum of money. With it, he could go enjoy himself in the red-light district every day for almost half a month, doing nothing except indulging in pleasure.
But Li Du's solemn expression unnerved him; he had the feeling that this young man was not to be trifled with.
His cautiousness surprised Li Du. However, he had plenty of experience dealing with such people. "No guts, right?" he asked. "Since you've got no guts, why did you laugh at me just now? Where did you get the courage then?"
The gem hunters were infuriated; someone yelled, "Take him on, Cyril. There's no way this b*st*rd can find an opal within an hourimpossible!"
"Yeah! I haven't found anything in two whole months. How long did you say you've been looking, Cyril?"
"The most important thing, Cyril, is that he can only look on his own site. We've all looked there plenty of timesthere ain't even a piece of dogsh*t there!"
"Alright," Cyril said flatly, "the bet is on!"
Almost immediately, someone stepped out wanting to be the referee. It was a gem trader named Owen Dell, who was an eminent and authoritative local personality.
Cyril handed him his opal while Li Du promptly transferred 20,000 dollars via an online bank transfer into Owen's bank account.
Owen made sure everything was in order before waving his hand with a laugh. "Get to work, guys!"
It was not an easy job being a gem hunter. It required the combination of patience, physical strength, and keen eyesight, not to mention a lot of endurance.
When Li Du had registered to be a gem hunter, he had also bought a set of tools which included a hammer, a hook, a magnifying glass and a small pickaxe.
Using the pickaxe, he started haphazardly sweeping about the rock pieces on the ground.