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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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My biggest challenge ever! A massive chunk of Andamooka opal

Andamooka opal

What do you get when you cross a huge piece of Andamooka opal and a lot of very hard quartz? My biggest challenge ever! (literally!) In this weeks video, we’ll work on exposing the gem inside this massive chunk of Andamooka opal. This piece weighs 2.2 kilograms (almost 5 pounds) and it made up of opal encrusted in quartz, or quartzite or silcrete. I can see that there is a lot of color in this chunk but it’s unclear where that color meets. I always spend time assessing the opal before taking it to the wheel and this chunk is no exception. In fact, this piece will probably take me…

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