Some days at the cutting machine are good and others are mediocre. Then there are days like this.
Watch me get caught off guard while uncovering an absolute dream opal in this weeks video.
We shared a live cutting video on YouTube a couple of weeks ago that included an exceedingly beautiful piece of rough opal from Lightning Ridge. I decided to take this rough nobby to the cutting wheel expecting a good gem and being surprised with a dream opal instead.
What can we get out of this rough opal?
Before cutting any opal, I always spend time evaluating. Every piece of rough opal is unique, just like the opals hidden within, so you need to invest time studying the piece and planning out your approach.
This dream opal looked promising from the start with its rare and bright fuschia and mauve colors. The concern I had was the potch; it didn’t look black or like it touched the color bar.
Let’s get into it!
After doing some test corners, I could see that the potch was black and started praying for it to reach the color sitting above. If an opal has black potch that reaches the color bar this increases the value of the opal by about 400%.
After more evaluating, I decided to slice the piece into two separate stones and remove a small sand inclusion. Here’s where I start to freak out.
This gem starts to look like a much more valuable stone then what I first thought. The potch is clearly black and is reaching the color bar. This is what you want. Every carat counts now. I am shaking with nerves and excitement!
Starting with the smaller piece, I rub out the two rough opal pieces and realise what I have. They each go on to a dop stick for a pre-polish before heading to the felt wheel to polish.
Now for the valuation…
Sitting down, I weigh the unbelievable gems I have just uncovered. If the larger gem is over three carats, minds will be blown. I hold my breath as I lift the lid to the carat scale…
3.66 carats of beautiful black opal with magnificent color play and the rarest colors that you find in opal.
Okay. Remain calm. I won’t floss. I definitely won’t do the robot. And this is most definitely not the time to do the sprinkler. This is serious.
Let’s measure the smaller gem… 2.33 carats with that gorgeous rare and bright color.
Both of these gems sit at N4 on the body tone scale officially categorising them as black opals. They are both valued based on brightness, play of color, and the fact they sit within that black opal range.
We’re over the moon with the result of these two gems and hope you enjoy this unexpected dream opal discovery!