Posted on

Using a Tumbler to clean rough opal

Welcome to our first tip for 2013.We are so looking forward to this year and have some great ideas on rough opal and cut stones to share. We want to help you all grow your opal knowledge and well as your collections so get ready for lots of information to come your way!

This week’s tip focuses on rough opal.

How to clean rough opal with a tumbler

When you buy or mine opal it can often be covered in residual dirt that is way too hard to remove with normal washing. That is where a tumbler comes in handy. A tumbler is basically a barrel that sits in a small basket and is turned constantly over time. This process is similar to how we wash larger amounts of opal on site in an “aggie” or large concrete mixer.

In this video Justin shows you how to use a tumbler to wash your opal over a period of days so that you are left with more opal and less dirt and hopefully, lots more color that you can see!

  • I have found that opal can also be tumble-polished this way if you use some cushioning in all stages. Good results for lower grade material.

  • Lakebookbob

    Justin,greatly appreciate the tips you give out. Keep em coming and thanks

  • Antony Clements

    I have a bunch of mud stone with slivers of wafer thin opal inclusions that may be suitable for doublets or triplets if I can get to it. How would you suggest I remove the mud without destroying the opal? Also I heard that diluted hydrochloric acid is good for breaking down sandstone, is it safe to use that method for cleaning sandstone from opal?