Australian Opal Expert Andrew Cody Dies at 71

SourcingSep 14, 2022

Australian Opal Expert Andrew Cody Dies at 71

The dealer was known for his infectious enthusiasm and passion for the gemstone.

Andrew Cody, the founder of Cody Opal known for sharing his love and knowledge of the stone, died Sept. 12 at the age of 71. (Image taken from Facebook)
Melbourne, Australia—Australian opal expert and wholesaler Andrew Cody, who helped build the prestige of the stones, died Sept. 12 from a rare form of blood cancer.

He was 71 years old.

Cody grew up in the Melbourne suburbs of Hawthorne East and Ivanhoe and lived in Melbourne his entire life.

He started collecting fossils, minerals, and gemstones when he was 12 years old. He began cutting opal at an early age, too, after a school trip to Coober Pedy, an Australian town often referred to as the opal capital of the world.

After studying valuations at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Cody decided to pursue his passion for gems, launching wholesale opal and gem cutting business Cody Opal at age 20. He eventually expanded it to export opals around the world.

His brother, Damien, also joined the company, and the two led it together.

Cody had a decades-long passion for the industry and helped propel Australian opal to new heights; he was known for his immense knowledge of opals that he was always willing to share with others.

Many comments on the Facebook post his brother shared about his death referred to his infectious enthusiasm, both in work and in life, as well as his humor, positivity, and loving nature.

Industry achievements included being involved in the declaration of opal as Australia’s national gemstone, the production of an award-winning opal stamp series with Australia Post, designing the official National Gemstone emblem, and developing the official opal nomenclature.

In 1991, he wrote the book, “Australian Precious Opal: A Guide Book for Professionals,” which was published in English and Japanese and has been used extensively worldwide by the industry.

In 2010, he and Damien published “The Opal Story” in six languages; there are now more than 50,000 copies in circulation.

Cody was a co-founder of The National Opal Collection—a supplier of Australian opals and opal jewelry, which has offices, showrooms, and museums in Sydney and Melbourne—and created an expansive opalized fossil collection that includes a 2.5-meter opalized pliosaur and the opalized upper jaw of a rare Mesozoic mammal.

His business won both government export and tourism industry Awards. Cody received a Gold Commendation from the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and was a research associate at The Australian Museum.

He served the industry in several capacities, including as president of the Australian Gem Industry Association, founding member and chairman of the Australian Jewellery and Gemstone Industry Council, and special projects officer of CIBJO (The World Jewellery Council).

He also served as a member of Thailand’s JTC-AIGS Leaders Council and president of the International Colored Gemstone Association.

The Australian Gemmological Association and the Gemmological Association of Great Britain both awarded him honorary fellowships in honor of his services to gemology. Cody was also a regular speaker at international forums. 

He is survived by his wife Lynore and sons James, Patrick, and William. 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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