Is Bigger Better?

The age-old question is, is bigger better?
Sometimes the larger pieces of rough opal aren’t as straightforward as one thinks.
A lot of thought goes into the execution of such a large piece of seam opal, especially when the color bar is so visible.
Do we cut through an entire color bar to reach the better color and hope for a black or dark opal?
Or come from the other side and take off all the potch?
Check out the video below to watch the gem reveal.

(Seams) like we have a challenge on our hands

My preference is to make a Crystal Opal, so the decision has been made to take off the potch.
The decision to cut the rough from this way will be a success if —
– The green color is much brighter than the purple showing.
– The potch line against the green is nice and straight.
If the potch grinds off straight, we will have a high chance of cutting a large-faced opal.
However, you never know until you get close to that color bar, where the sand is going to end.

Potch Problems

Well, the potch is causing me problems, which is amplified by how big the face is.
This is exactly why bigger isn’t always better.
I am close to the color bar yet hardly any color has come through the potch yet.
This is certainly a cause for concern and has forced me to re-strategize the cut.

Slice and Dice

In order to save the color, I will have to take the opal to the slicer.
I will use my experience to draw not only pleasing shapes to cut but also figure out the areas where the potch is consistent so I don’t lose too much color.
Have I made the right decision?
Heck yes, that potch is still tough to get out of the smaller cut gems.
One by one I was able to remove the potch and end up with some very pleasing shaped opal gems.
I hope you enjoyed the video and were able to take something away from the process.

6 thoughts on “Is Bigger Better?”

  1. Love watching you work. I always learn something new. I ‘m not sure how that stone could have been cut different, But I would never try to second guess someone with your skill.

  2. I learn a lot, Justin, from watching you deal with the challenges of opal, even though I am not an opal cutter! It’s about life and how you deal with it. Thanks for sharing with us your journey through life, like this!


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