About Face

The difficult decision every opal cutter must make is about face — the opal face of course!
Which side do I decide to cut when both sides show promising colors?
These are dilemmas I face constantly when cutting rough opal.

So what about the face?

What we have today is a perfect little round nobby from Lightning Ridge with a bright color bar running through the center.
One side is showing blue and green and the other side is exhibiting a majority of blue.
I decide to stick with the side which is naturally facing up in the nobby, which is the blue and green side.
As I begin to clean it up the black potch starts to show, which is exactly what we want!
After revealing the first layer of color, there seems to be too much potch sitting in the centre.
To make this a nice gem, we’ll have to go down to the next layer of the color bar.

About the potch in the face

Working through the next layer and this potch doesn’t seem to be budging.
Is this blob of potch going to disappear?
How much more can I take the color bar down to get rid of the potch?
Time to have a go on the finer wheel as my final resort to eliminate the potch.
The color is magic!
Finally, we have broken the potch up on the finer wheel, hurrah!!!

The Final Gem

We end up with a magical black opal with a deep and dark N1 body tone.
Weighing 2.10ct with a flagstone pattern with a brilliant B4 brightness rating.

7 thoughts on “About Face”

  1. I love to watch, the opals are such stunning pieces of our earth. I admit, as a proclaimed expert (from watching your show) I dont always agree with your choice of which way is up or front. As usual, the finished stone is magnificent. Next year when you come to Tucson I plan to come admire your beautiful gems. And buy one too!

    • Hi Barbara yes it is very hard to guess what to do before you know the result. and easy to decided what would have been the best way to go about it after its finished.
      If you do come to Tucson please let me know so we can setup an appointment 🙂


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