As Owen could tell that Li Du did not know much about opals, he took the opportunity, when the gemologists were still appraising the gemstones, to call Li Du aside and give him a systematic introduction to the gem.
Li Du was very earnest when learning about opal as its value was very high and it was all new to him. In the future, he did not want to only find opal but other gemstones as well.
The appraisal of the gemstones took a little more than an hour. This was not considered long as the average appraisal time for each piece of gemstone was just two minutes.
After the appraisal had ended, Owen took over the appraisal report and began determining the prices.
Before determining the prices, Owen took some time to admire every single piece of opal.
Li Du said, "I thought that since you come into contact with this type of gemstones every day, you would be sick of them by now."
Owen shook his head. "No, no, no, my friend. If I weren't passionate about them, why would I be in this line of work?"
He raised a piece of opal and with a mesmerized look on his face said, "See, there's a pattern formed from the colored fragments inside. Each one of them is so unique and so beautiful. It's really miraculous."
"Isn't it just some inclusions?"
"Of course not," Owen responded in a serious manner. "It's a world. Ribbons, straws, husks of rice, a sea of flowers, lighting, and flames. This is a God's world."
He rotated the opal in his hand. The opal was not the largest, but it was a vivid red and had the most realistic pattern. The pattern resembled a piece of grassland, with the few deep red protuberances corresponding to the flowers in the grassland.
Earlier, the gemologists had weighed the gemstones and gave their evaluation on every aspect of the gemstones, according to the rating system by the International Colored Gemstone Association. As such, Owen was able to price the gemstones directly.
The piece of gemstone was 500 carats, which was approximately 100 grams. It was considered a top-grade fire opal and was valued at 500,000 dollars by Owen.
Even though he was mentally prepared, when he heard that the piece of gemstone was 500,000 dollars, Li Du's heart palpitated for awhile.
USD 500,000 was not considered a lot as he had earned such an amount from storage unit auctions before. However, the valuable items here and in storage units were different. Storage units usually only contained one valuable item in each unit.
On the other hand, he had 30 plus gemstones here. Moreover, in the National Park not far from here, there were still undiscovered gemstones!
Determining the price for opals was not an easy task as there were many factors to be considered. There was no method of determining the value of opal with 100-percent certainty. In order to do so, experience was required.
Owen did not only state the price, he also explained to Li Du how the price was determined, such as which areas increased its price and which areas lowered it.
He even took out a thick album, which contained the pictures and prices of all the opals that had been sold in auctions and jewelry shops around the world for the past two years.
According to those pictures, he would give the gemstones in their possession a base price, followed by adjusting the base price after comparing the good and bad qualities of the stone.
Ultimately, the price was discounted by 20 percent as Owen needed some profits before he would be willing to take over so many gemstones.
The main factor influencing an opal's price was its blemishes. For example, if an opal had noticeable cracks or many fine cracks, it would not have much value.
"This piece has a void that was formed by a mineral inclusion. It will affect the gemstone's backdrop, hence lowering its price. As such, I reckon its price should be lowered by ten percent?"
"Agreed," Li Du replied.
"Oh. Oh. This piece isn't so good. It has potch lines. See this grey line? That's a potch line. It also has two air bubbles. Sorry man, its price should be cut in half."
"Lower it by 40 percent," Li Du said after some consideration.
"Alright. I'll listen to you."
Just like that, with both parties continuously discussing the prices, the prices of the opals were finally determined.
Compared to the appraisal process, the process of determining these prices was much slower. Owen was very fair when determining the prices. He would not just state the prices, he would also justify them to convince Li Du.
Moreover, even after some of the fire opals had their prices determined, Owen would reevaluate their prices if he saw any problems with them, and inform Li Du of the reason for the reevaluation.
The reevaluation process not only led to lowering the prices, but it also raised the prices of a few opals. All in all, he tried his best to convince and please Li Du.
The process of determining the prices of all 35 pieces of opals finally concluded. Owen took out a calculator and started calculating seriously. The highest-priced opal was worth 500,000 dollars while the lowest priced was only 2,000200 times less!
In the end, the combined value of all the gemstones was 3,185,000 dollars!
As there was a 20 percent cut, the final price was 2,584,000 dollars.
"Let's take it as 2,600,000 for all the opals. How's that?" Owen asked while staring at LI Du.
"No problem," Li Du joyfully replied. "We'll follow your prices this time."
Hearing those words, the corner of Owen's eyes twitched. He wiped his hands and said, "You are a forthright fella, Li, and I like people who are forthright. How about this: as I am grateful for your trust in me on our first time working together, I would like to express my gratitude."
After some consideration, he said, "I know, since people like to give red packets to good friends in your Chinese culture, I will give you a 20,000-dollar red packet on top of the cost of the opals. I hope that you will find me for any future collaborations."
He was thrilled by Li Du's "this time," as it meant that there would be more trading opportunities in the future.
As only an idiot would refuse money, Li Du happily accepted the red packet.
Owen put in effort into winning him over. He even gave Sophie a pair of fire opal earrings.
Although the gemstones on the pair of earrings were small, they were beautiful. The gemstones had lines, which formed clouds, and together with their fiery red color, looked like crimson clouds.
"Woah," Sophie said in amazement, "such a beautiful pattern."
Owen chuckled, "Glad that you like them. A clear pattern like this is indeed very rare."
As the pair of earrings were not cheap, Li Du looked at the pattern inside and asked, "If there was a pattern of a sunset inside, what would you make of it?"
"This is a sunset. There're crimson clouds."
Li Du replied, "What I meant was a true sunset, with clouds as well as a sun that is half covered by the clouds."
Owen laughed, "That's not possible. There's no such coincidence."
"Just imagine it for a while." Li Du smiled.
Owen replied, "Maybe you are unaware mate, but different opals have different colors and correspondingly, have different valued patterns. I can tell you that the sunset is the most valued pattern in a fire opal."
"What if the pair of earrings had such a pattern?"
Without thinking, Owen replied, "I would price them at 50,000 dollars."
Li Du responded, "The price isn't very high. Is it because the gemstone is small? What if it was this big?"
He set his hands at the size of the Overarching Sunset. "Approximately 800 grams, this big, very clear and is orange-red at the top and blood red at the bottom."
Owen laughed. "That's not possible . . . "
"Just imagine it for a while," Li Du insisted.
"If there really is a gemstone like the one you described," Owen said, "no one would be able to determine its price. I dare say, if anyone who likes gemstones were to see it, they would willingly lose all of their wealth just to obtain it."