Andamooka Crystal Opal

Incredible pieces of rough Andamooka Crystal Opal of this quality are becoming rarer to find.
For that reason, I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to cut this one.
With a little patience and a well-thought-out cutting process, we’ll hopefully end up with some beautiful gems.

Andamooka Seam Opal vs Andamooka Matrix Opal

Andamooka the field has the ability to produce Black Opal, Dark Opal, Crystal Opal, White Opal and Matrix Opal.
The differences are —
Andamooka Matrix Opal is intimately infused as infillings, pores or holes or between grains of the host rock in which it was formed.
Matrix Opal can be naturally colorful with a degree of brightness without being treated.
However, the porous rock of Matrix Opal can be color-enhanced (carbon impregnated) to imitate the highly valued black opal.

Andamooka Crystal Opal is pure silica opal.
Silica opal is entirely natural sand and in this case, translucent and colorful.
Just like Lightning Ridge Opal, Andamooka Opals are a superior quality gem opal.

Let’s get our dremel on!

I have decided I will use the dremel on this piece of rough opal to assess what is beneath the inclusions.
Cleaning up the outer layer with the dremel will assist in my decision-making process.
Shall I leave it as a lovely specimen?
Or possibly shape and polish it into one large Crystal Opal gem?
Alternatively, will I risk it and take it to the slicer and create multiple top-quality gems?

After cleaning the top of the gem, I notice quite a lot of inclusions.
For that reason, I will take to the back to expose what’s underneath.
As the sand comes away I can see all the colors bursting through the gemstone.
Plus, an array of patterns including flagstone, floral and chaff.
After establishing where the best color and patterns are it’s off to the slicer!
When planning out the slices to create each gem, I am mindful to make sure each gem has a consistent pattern.

Gem Outcome

We started off with a $15,000.00 rough piece of Andamooka Crystal Opal.
Both the top and bottom had a few sand spots and shallow cotton inclusions.
However, the decision was made to map out and carefully slice the dremeled opal.
Without a doubt, that was indeed the best decision I could have made.
Feast your eyes on the magical gem Crystal Opals we finished with below!

11 thoughts on “Andamooka Crystal Opal”

  1. Well, that was so much fun! I was way off on my carat weight, but the colours, and watching how you choose the cuts and final shapes was simply superb! Thanks Justin, I do love opal, I have prospected, bought and cut opal and will never tire of this beautiful stone.

  2. Such a nice collection of stones coming out of that one piece of rough. I thought the big would be about 28 ct. it’s nice to be wrong when you’re on the short side of the weight. Did yourself proud.


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