Posted on Leave a comment

Hand polishing opal without machines

Hand polishing opal from Lightning Ridge, Australia

Hand polishing opal without machines is simpler than you might think; with some sandpaper, a knife hone, a piece of leather, and a bit of elbow grease, you could uncover a gem! Hand polishing an opal without machines is a great way for budding opal cutters to try their hand at something new without investing in expensive equipment. Now that we’re spending more time at home, cutting by hand can also be a meditative process for opal-lovers who enjoy slowly watching color unfold. Today, I’ll be cutting a Lightning Ridge opal and polishing that bad boy up without using any machines. This piece is a nobby with a blue color…

Read More
Posted on Leave a comment

Cutting a witches hat nobby opal

A witches hat nobby opal from Lightning Ridge, Australia.

What is a witches hat nobby and how do I cut one? We’ll have to flip our thinking for this challenge. In this video, you’ll learn how to identify a witches hat nobby opal, as well as a couple of different cutting approaches. These nobby’s can be tricky and require skill and creativity to really get the best stone possible. What is a witches hat nobby opal? Witches hats are a type of rough found in the opal mines of Lightning Ridge, Australia. Their telltale signs are the pointed peak cap and either a flat or concave underside. There are a few things that can go terribly wrong with these…

Read More
Posted on Leave a comment

Cutting small gems

how to cut small opals

Cutting small gems can be an intimidating task if you’ve never done it before. It is a little more fiddly than cutting a larger gem but, with practice, you can master the few techniques I’ve learnt to make cutting small gems second nature. How do I cut smaller gems? I’ve got four small opal pieces (two semi-rubbed and two rough) to work with today. Some people put their smaller gems straight on the dop stick but I recommend taking the time to learn how to use your fingers. It’s a matter of patience but, as you’ll see at the end, it pays off to be able to cut and sell…

Read More