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Australian opal patterns explained

Australian opal patterns can be tricky to learn; no two opals are ever the same! This glorious Australian gemstone doesn’t like to make it easy for us, but there are a few skills to identifying patterns in opal. Here are my tips for budding cutters and opal enthusiasts. A lot of what I learnt about opal, I learnt from my Dad. We’d sit together, his dusty cap on his head as it hung over the cutting wheel, and he’d share with me all he knew. I feel very fortunate to have the knowledge I do and to have been able to hone my skills over the past 30 years, which…

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The secret world of opal buying

The secret world of buying rough opal in Lighting Ridge

It’s a sight about as rare as the Rainbow Serpent gem; welcome to the secret world of opal buying. Across the state of New South Wales and down a long stretch of gravel, my son Saxon and I bring you along our trip out west on the hunt for opal.  Where do I start when buying opal from a miner?  What conditions should I be in to look at opal? What tools do I need to buy opal? How do I visit a miner? I get these questions more frequently than seeing a kangaroo in the outback. Today, I’m going through the whole process, and I’m bringing you with me!  What’s it like…

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What is that opal worth? What will your $ get you?

What is my opal worth? What to expect when buying Australian opal

There is some serious skill involved in spotting a good deal in opal. So much so that people like myself have built their careers around it. But how do opal buyers understand what they’re paying for? Many different factors can raise the value of opal, but what exactly does that look like? After working with opal for over 30 years, I can tell the difference between a good deal and a waste of time, but opal is a notoriously hard gem to judge! Today, we’ll sort through some of the Black Opal Direct inventory, as well as my secret stash, to find out what you can expect to get with…

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