Carving Opal

Carving opal requires patience, a lot of patience, like, soooooo much patience!
But, we love doing it right?
Taking a Dremel to an opal feels somewhat more organic and makes us feel a little more in touch with our creative side.
Although, I cut and polish larger amounts of opal quite regularly, and have become very comfortable with my cutting and polishing wheels.
So, cutting with a Dremel becomes a game of patience for me.

Let the carving begin!

This particular piece of nobby I have chosen has nice skin I can polish all the way around.
I will be trialing some new Dremel tips that contain more diamonds than any others on the market.
We will be stocking these Dremel Kits on our website very soon.

For this carving, I use two types of Dremel tips, Sintered Diamond Tips and Resin Bonded Tips.
Sintered Diamond Tips will last a lot longer than coated as the diamonds go right into the center where the shaft meets.
If you prefer to use Coated Diamond Tips go gentle — press too hard, and the diamonds will rip out of the metal.
Leaving you to grind your opal with bare metal.

Firstly, I begin with a 120-grit tip, this is quite rough, maybe a little too rough, but I was able to manage it well.
Once the sand spots are out, I will work on smoothing out the edges and polishing the organic shape.
The grits I use during this process are — 600, 1200, 3000, and a felt tip with Cerium Oxide.

The final gem!

After a long, long, long cut and polish, we ended up with an 8.75ct gem worth $2000.
If I had cut this into an oval shape, the result would have been a 4ct gem worth $2000.
You can find the final crystal opal gem here.
Thanks for joining me for something a little different, I hope you enjoyed it.

9 thoughts on “Carving Opal”

  1. At least you didn’t grind your fingertips off lol
    It turned out beautiful even without shaping it Justin that would make a beautiful hanging Stone on a necklace just a leather strap gold wire wrap even just shiny copper wire. Sorry ol hippie ☺️

    • Hello!
      They are made by a gentleman in Germany and are yet to be branded.
      We are hoping to stock them on our website soon.

  2. Came up Ok I thought Justin. When I first had a go at polishing opal I used the dremel with 20mm sanding discs. I enjoyed it but ended up with an angled lap machine. Does a better job but not as good as the proper gem master gear. You use what you can afford. Gives me a lot of pleasure anyway. Love watching you work.

    • Hello!
      The dremel tips are not branded, they are made by a gentleman in Germany.
      We hope to stock them soon on our website.

  3. I am so happy that Justin will be in Tucson at the gem show in 2023.
    This Thanksgiving My Family told me they watch you also and So they will be going with me to see you. Can’t wait.


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