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One fail! One win! You can’t always cut a winner

I like to keep it authentic with you guys and some days that means sharing my latest opal fail…

That’s when it’s most important to pick yourself back up and try again, in my book. And that’s exactly what I did.

Watch as I have a big, fat opal fail… and then I try again.

Psst… stay tuned to hear about how you could win one of our opals!

Not everyone’s a winner…

I chose an opal nobby out of my black box of goodies that I hoped would cut a nice red on black.

I started to grind the potch to see if it would turn black and noticed a thin layer between the black and grey potch. Yeah, that’s not a good sign.

My immediate instincts were right and, as I ground further into the potch, I saw that this nobby was not going to work. There were inclusions and a grey line of potch going through the color bar.

I was expecting a high-value red on black opal from this nobby but it had other plans.

Again, from the top…

Well, like the toilet paper hitting our grocery store shelves; that was short-lived.

An important part of any failure is to learn what you can and try again. So, that’s what I did. I got out my special black box of goodies and picked another nobby from the assortment of rough.

This opal nobby resembled a comet shooting through the night sky; the glow of color down one end with a tail of potch following behind. It could’ve made an interesting carving but I decided to go with my signature J T oval cut.

Cutting time!

I sliced off the half of the stone that had no color and guessed that I would get one high dome gem and possibly another small stone from this nobby. The potch turned black inside which, as you know, is a good sign! I started to grind away the excess and felt more optimistic about my chances to cut a nice gem.

I work the sand from the face and lose the color from the side I thought might make a smaller gem. Just like in my video a few weeks back, sometimes sand beats you and you’ve just gotta let it go! I wanted to grind that part away to focus on the main stone.

The opal is too thick on one side so I grind away a bit of the potch on the back. This is a great way to reorient the stone but you always want to keep some black potch on the back of the opal to make sure it stays a black opal.

I was super happy to see a meaty color bar on this opal. It has great play of color with flagstone, straw, and chaff patterning. I guessed it would be about 8 carats but it came in at 9.68 carats at this stage! Woohoo!

Let’s polish!

I pick up one of my trusty dop sticks and put a little more wax on to hold this gorgeous great big opal. You have to heat the wax for it to mould to the back of the opal. You have to slightly heat the opal, too, which can sometimes worry people. Opal can be slightly heated and needs to be for the wax to mould to it. After polishing the face of the opal I remove it from the dop stick to smooth the back.

The final verdict…

After the opal fail this morning, I’m really happy with how this nobby turned out! Coming in hot and heavy at 8.11 carats, this opal has a darkness of N3, a brightness of B4, and a high dome.

This gem cut a lot bigger than I first expected because the white cap was hiding a lot of the thick color bar. And that, my opal fever friends, is how you turn an opal fail into a much better day! Speaking of better days…

Want to win this opal?!

In celebration of hitting 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, we are giving away an opal valued at USD $2,000!

3.80 carat crystal opal giveaway
3.80 carat crystal opal

To have so many of you watching is a blessing that we never take for granted. If you’re new to BOD or have been around for years, are a YouTube subscriber or prefer to read on the blog, love opal or are just getting started; we are so thankful for you!

Your eyeballs being glued to our screen makes sharing the wonderful world of opal so much more rewarding!

Head over to this link and follow the instructions to be in the chance to win this 3.80 carat crystal opal.

For a bonus entry, comment below and let me know what you love about opal!

The winner will be announced live on our YouTube channel on March 30, 2020. Good luck!