Australia is a dream destination for tourists and many of them have opals on their shopping lists. Mario Antolovich has been specialising in stunning opal jewellery collections for more than four decades and his passion is more than reflected in his exquisite pieces.
The quintessential Australian migrant, Mario was born in a European village that’s now part of Croatia. In his teens it was under communist rule and at 18 he escaped over the border to a refugee camp in Italy, taught himself Italian and waited for his opportunity – in 1957 he sailed into Melbourne with 200 lira in his pocket, ready to learn English and start his new life.
Mario did various jobs on arrival, from sweeping the floors in a sugar refinery to running his own decoration shop. But he knew that Australia had gemstones, so trusted his instincts and went to Queensland to mine opals and sapphires. He went to the US to study gemmology and returned to Queensland to open his first store in Surfers Paradise, followed soon after by a second and a third. It was during this time he developed the values still at the heart of his business today – original stones and unique designs. “When you sell from the heart, you don’t think of the money, you only want to make people happy,” says Mario.
Mario and his daughter are Mariora Opals’ primary designers and their collections have a modern European style. Each opal is carefully scrutinised for colour and quality and Mario refuses to sell imitation ‘opals’ such as doublets or triplets. The stone dictates the design for the final piece, each is individually designed and made, and no two pieces are the same.
Mariora Opals’ designs can be experienced at the store inside the prestigious Marina Mirage shopping precinct.
Marina Mirage, 74 Seaworld Drive, Gold Coast 4217
Tel: +617 5532 2288