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This opal transformed but not how I expected

opal cutting

Even after 30 years of being in the business, I still get sand sucker-punched by opal. Just when you think you know your stuff an opal comes along to promptly remind you that you don’t. Like an over-eager first-grader shouting “Ten!” when asked “How many fingers am I holding up?” only to be smugly reminded by the schoolyard bully that you, in fact, have eight fingers and two thumbs. Cutters often ask of their nobby’s, “you’re a good opal, aren’t you?” to which the opal replies “Yes! No! Sike! I’ll never tell!” before sliding on some black sunglasses and pretending they don’t hear you. Unfortunately in life, sometimes you’ve gotta…

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Cutting for carats! (cutting unconventional shapes)

cutting unconventionally shaped opal

Is it better to cut opal into common shapes or to cut for carats? Can cutting unconventional shapes work? I get asked this question a lot so today I thought I’d dive into how I make that choice at the cutting wheel. As you know, I love my signature JT cut oval opals as they pair well with classic jewelry design. That being said, cutting opal into unconventional shapes not only saves precious carat weight but can create some really unique gems that stand out. Today I’ll be cutting a barrel cut opal to show you how I cut for carats when I’ve got a gem that is just too…

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