Australian opal pioneer, John Ryneš escaped Soviet-occupied (then) Czechoslovakia in 1968, and found a home in New South Wales, working at BHP. Without speaking any English, John soon struck out on his own, building a successful candle-making business with 60 employees. At the start of the 70’s John sold the business for $20,000 (a huge amount of money in the ’70s). He packed all his possessions and left to strike it rich in the Australian Opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy.
John first tried his hand at mining but the famous Australian Opal was proving to be very elusive. He turned to the art of opal cutting and jewellery making. Here John discovered his passion and worked hard to hone his skills. During this time he met his wife Helena and it wasn’t too long before they had their son Mike. John and Helena worked very hard during these years and together they created and built the first Opal Factory! John purchased the land on a handshake. He worked hard to not only build the Opal Factory but a successful caravan park.
In the mid 80’s John and Helena decided it was time for a change for Mike’s schooling. They uprooted and moved to the country town of Willunga, about 45 minute drive South of Adelaide. Here John built “The Opal and Gem Factory” in a winery called “McLarens on the Lake” to showcase the famous Australian Opal. John expanded to build a second showroom in the Adelaide CBD. This would later go on to be called “Opal Diamond Factory”.
With over 45 years’ experience in the Australian opal industry, John has become a leader in his field. He still remains the senior opal cutter for the Opal Diamond Factory now run by son and managing director Mike Saj-Ryneš.
Mike grew up in the opal fields of Coober Pedy, South Australia. Here, he watched his father mine, opal cut and create jewellery. In 1985 Mike and his family moved to Semaphore, Adelaide so he could attend school. Mike enjoyed PE, maths and playing soccer. Mike’s parents installed in him a strong work ethic and the value of family. In 1998, at 18, Mike left Australia to play professional soccer in the Czech Republic.
In 2001 Mike returned home to join the family business and carry on his fathers legacy. Family is everything to Mike and being back home, working along side his father re-ignited his passion for the opal industry. Mike knew he had made the right decision in coming home.
“I am proud of our history and what we have achieved. With a clear direction and imprint in everything that happens within our business, our clients know that there is a real person behind each piece”. With this mentality and hard work Opal Diamond Factory has grown exponentially over the past 45 years. Mike became managing director in 2008 and knew that the business landscape was changing, coinciding with the ‘GFC’. It was at this time he decided to diversify into diamonds. Putting his own imprint on the family business. The decision to diversify proved wisely as ODF have now become leaders in the custom diamond engagement market.
Another decision made early on, was to use social media platforms forms in aims to reach a greater audience. This also proved to be pivotal as ODF now have a great following. Clients from all around the world reach out to have their custom piece created by ODF without having to step foot in our Adelaide showroom.
Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter in his spare time.
Loretta started in the jewellery trade at the age of 16, and worked at the House of Middleton, in the silver city of Broken Hill, for 14 years.
After moving to Adelaide, Loretta managed three high-traffic retail jewellery business around the city, including at West Lakes, and Rundle Mall. Loretta brings comprehensive gemology knowledge, and particular expertise in opals, in which she has specialised for the last 18 years.
Loretta joined the Opal Diamond Factory family in 2013 as Store Manager, and enables the store to offer rethreading of pearl strands. She brings a wealth of experience over a 44-year jewellery career.
Joining the family business in 2016 on a part time basis, Anna Ryneš had a natural interest formed after growing up around her father’s enthusiasm and passion for Opals! From an early age, Anna was around opals. She remembers going to the Opal Diamond Factory after school. Although she could just see over the counters she would watch her father, John Ryneš create stunning opal jewellery. Anna also enjoyed joining her brother and father on their trips to Coober Pedy in search of new opals to add to the already extensive ODF collection. Her first job could be considered coming into the showroom at 10 years old and wanting to wipe down the counters. She admired the beautiful pieces and designed her first custom opal ring at the age of 15.
Since joining the family business, Anna has enjoyed working alongside her brother Mike and sister-in-law Melanie. Together they work on growing the Instagram, Facebook and online aspect of the business. Which has proven to be enjoyable and rewarding.
Anna has a natural flair for being in front of the camera. She enjoys sharing her ever growing knowledge on Australia’s national gemstone! She still wears that custom opal ring she designed all those years ago.