Today, we’re cutting to win. And we’re doing it in Mum’s sweater.
There have been a few let downs on the wheel lately; opals with cancerous potch and a chunk of rough that ended as only a couple of carats. Days like this are quite common as an opal cutter; your confidence can get shot, and sometimes, you just need a win.
Justin has three pieces of rough today; one from seam opal country, a capped blue nobby, and a dark opal with a thick color bar. Three different rough opals hopefully mean at least one will turn into a gem that sparks a groove!
Our New Cutting Machine
The Gemmasta machine Justin has been using for the last 25 years has cut through a heck-tonne of opal and, while it’s still kicking just fine, he thought he’d treat himself to a newer model. If you’re interested in the review and the comparison to his old machine, stick around. If you can’t wait for the opal cutting, skip ahead to 6:50 minutes.
Throughout this cutting process, you’ll see the things Justin looks out for in an opal nobby to decide his best approach. Opal is a humbling teacher and often likes to prove us wrong, so it’s important to make an educated guess while also reassessing our approach as we go. We’re cutting to win today, so we don’t want to make any unnecessary mistakes.
The first rough piece is a dark opal with a thick color bar that has a kernel of potch sitting smack-bang in the centre of the stone. Justin explores the best approach to pieces like this and shows us that you can turn this into a win if you work smart.
The second opal up to the cutting wheel; a white-capped nobby with beautiful blue color. This opal turned out much like Justin assumed it would, although he was hoping it would be a little darker. We’re cutting to win, so let’s keep going!
The final rough is the seam opal piece; I think we’re on to a winner here. The color is bright and Justin shows you how he manages to get the 3D color-on-color effect to shine through.
After a polish on the dop stick, we’re left with a pair, a black opal, and a gorgeous dark opal.
Opal pairs are so hard to come by because of how unique the gemstone is to any other. The 2.67-carat opal pair have a rainbow of color in them including some red; always a crowd favorite among opal lovers!
The 3.20-carat black opal shows deep purples with flecks of turquoise and aqua and would make a great mans ring or pendant.
This 3.00-carat dark opal is the winner for today with stunning 3D color-on-color effect and fiery hues. The warm tones in this opal are framed perfectly by greens and blues.