How to cut opal – see a gem emerge from a rough opal

A customer bought a rough piece of opal and was unsure how it should be cut. He decided to send it back, so Justin cut it… tune in to watch a black opal emerge.

Normally, we would re-list any stones that are sent back to us but Justin just couldn’t back down from this challenge.

This episode is a long one but a great one so grab yourself a cup of something and enjoy watching the magic unfold.

You will see the whole process as well as tips and advice on the following:

  • Assessing rough opal for colour
  • How to decide which way an opal should be cut
  • How the dome is formed on an opal
  • What grades of diamond wheels are used when
  • How to achieve that final perfect polish

For those not keen on cutting opal themselves, you will still find the video fascinating as a gemstone is revealed layer by layer – and you will be well on your way to understanding how to cut opal at an expert level!

9 thoughts on “How to cut opal – see a gem emerge from a rough opal”

  1. Hi Justin,
    Have a nice day. Enjoyed this lovely and live nobby opal cutting video. Excellent result after cutting. I like nobby opals because you do not loose the value and it gives more room into cutting it and bringing out good finished opals on condition that you are a seasoned lapidarist. Practise makes perfect.

    Best wishes,

  2. You did a fantastic job Justin. Love cutting stones and really miss not being able to do so anymore. You make great and informative videos, keep up the good work.

  3. I enjoyed your video very much, because it was not only informative and interesting, but because I always wondered how my few pieces of opal jewelry were made. It helped me to understand how much time goes into the jewelry I wear and the price I pay. So thank you for taking the time to make the video.

  4. I have several black opal stones and I have one side revealing the opal colors but I wanted to remove the outer shell completely . Is there a way of doing this at home.

    • Hi Stefano Yes you can do work on opal at home but you need some sandpaper to wear down the opal. It is not a way I would usually tell someone to do it but if you have no other lapidary tools this would be the only way. I hope this helps

  5. Thanks very much for your videos, Justin.I am a total newcomer to this but find it fascinating. Is it really possible to increase the value of a rough piece of stone like this?! Quite amazing. Would you have to spend a lot of time learning how to do this? Cheers. Paul


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