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Polishing opal to $12,000 perfection

5.78 gem black opal from Lightning Ridge

Polishing opal can make or break a gem. Being the final step in the opal cutting process, an opal that is finished with a quality polish is the cherry on top that takes it to the next level. Think, taking your sundae from home-made to Max Brenner level. Today’s piece of opal is a rub (pre-form) from a miner in Lightning Ridge. I got this piece when it had already been rubbed so I don’t know what it looked like in the rough but, holy cow, this color is something special. My first impression of this opal is that it’s got incredible play of color with a nice, thick color…

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I cut this little rock to find a $4000 gem inside

Little rock cut into 3.29 carat black opal gem

This little rock was hiding a gorgeous gem opal inside. Of course, it wouldn’t let me have it without a bit of a challenge. I find that sweet-talking my opal first doesn’t hurt my chances. I love to say things like “you’re more than your sand spots, it’s what’s on the inside that counts” and “you put the rock in rockstar!” Some may say I’m insane (my wife), some may think I’ve been experimenting with too many chemicals, and to them, I say… you’re probably right. But I’m going to do it anyway! I start with an opal nobby that has the telltale signs of a great gem; white cap,…

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The transformation of this half rough opal!

4.03 ct gem black opal

Millions of years ago, on the border of an ancient inland sea, a gem was born. This is the tale of the half rough opal… Join me today as I uncover a stunning gem from a half rubbed, half rough opal! I got this gem from a miner who had uncovered some of the color but hadn’t taken away all of the potch in this half rough opal yet. I can see there’s a thick bar of color running through with some beautiful green, blue, and yellow. There is potch in the face on one side and some sand inclusions that I hope to get out to make this stone…

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