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Carving opal: The step by step process

Some of you might recognise this rough piece from Tucson.  It came home with us so we decided it was the perfect piece to practice carving opal.

In this new video will show you what equipment you may need and some of the techniques to get that beautiful undulating finish on the final piece.

We have called the piece Nudibranch (pronounced noodi-branc) after the colourful sea animal. Can you see the resemblance?

The original piece of rough opal was 20.83ct. With careful work, Justin kept the bulk and and as you can see by the after photos, not much of the opal was sacrificed. The final carving weighed 16.10cts.

Rough opal before carving
Rough opal 20.85cts


Carving opal
After carving, not much weight was sacrificed and the color is beautiful and bright on the top


carving opal
After carving – see the nudibranch like ruffles at the base?
  • Danny

    What a fantastic video Justin. It was great watching you explain each and every step of the way. I have done a little bit of carving and it is definitely a long process. I have gained much knowledge in watching your videos. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    • Blackopaldirect

      Thanks Danny I am glad to hear you get value from my videos. happy opaling 🙂

  • Tomas Vaitilas

    Nice to see you back on video Justin. Great show. I have to try it by my self 🙂

    • Blackopaldirect

      You are welcome Tomas. I will love to see your end result if you do carve an opal

  • Sara

    Hi I’m very new to cutting and polishing Opal, (I’m still getting all my tools together to start-new) I have a Dremel tool with all sorts of diamond Head bits and the felt tips and cerium oxide, I don’t have a Nova tip yet, I didn’t know about them until I seen this video. Thank you for sharing it, I’m learning a lot about how to do it from your videos.

    • Blackopaldirect

      Hi Sara thanks for the message. Be careful you may get opal fever and then you’ll be hooked 😆😆 I’m glad you have got value from my videos and if you need anymore help I am an email away