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How do I value opal?

Black Opal from Lightning Ridge

I get asked to value opal for other people on the daily, and I understand why. Opal is a notoriously hard stone to value because there are no hard and fast rules you can apply to every stone. The drawing card of opal is the fact that every single stone is unique. Nobody will ever have a gem that looks quite like yours. On the flip side of that, every stone needs an individual valuation. “Is my opal valuable?” There isn’t a simple yes or no answer that I could give you for this. It’s more like, “Yes. No, maybe. It depends on…” A short essay later, and I’d be able to explain…

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Cutting a blue rough opal

2.95 ct black opal 10.5x9x4.5mm

Ah, my precious blue rough opal nobby… I’ll be cutting a beautiful blue rough opal nobby with you today. Like always, some risks come with cutting opal, and you can never be too sure of yourself. The more sure of your opal nobby you are, the more likely it is to put its sassy pants on and do the exact opposite of what you said it would. In that case, I’m going to approach this blue rough opal as I would approach a moody teenager; carefully, armed with a plan and hesitant to make any intense demands. I am, however, seeing some hints of gorgeous blue color that seems promising.…

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It’s opal carving time!

Opal carving video tutorial Lightning Ridge Australian opal

Our world is locked down and for many, that means spending more and more time at home. If you’ve got some spare time on your (thoroughly washed) hands, carving opal will gladly take up hours of it. I’m not kidding, this takes days! I don’t enjoy opal carving as much as I enjoy making my signature JT oval cuts but when an opal calls for it, who am I to say no? This piece has lots of beautiful color but is concaved, making it impossible to cut a nice high dome. I don’t want to waste the gorgeous color rippling through this wavy surface so I’m going to practice my…

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