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Risking a monster black opal rough to cut over $20K

This monster black opal rough had me shaking worse than a triple shot latte! I think you’ll love how this gem turned out.

This week we’ve got a monster black opal nobby that looks like it’s full of color. When checking with a flashlight, I can see the clear color underneath the potch that appears to wrap all the way around. I might have to grind off the top to get to it, but it’s looking hopeful.

As always, to check if my plan will work, I take this baby to the wheel to grind the side down only to find that the color on top is way better than I expected. I can’t waste that!

After deliberating (and trying to avoid what I know I need to do) I realise the best option is… to slice it in half.

Slicing this stone lengthways is risky business; it’s hard to keep the monster black opal stable on the blade. On top of that, the blade might not be big enough and could bend and snap, sending my opal flying to the floor.

Is the blade long enough? Will it bend? Am I slicing in the right place? If I had any hair I would be pulling it out right now!

If I’m going to be this nervous, I’m going to take you along for the ride! I think you’ll like where we end up.

Spoiler alert! The final opals

I must have avoided all black cats, missed all cracks in the pavement, and have done something to enjoy the good karma coming my way today. Days like this in the workshop make the cutting game worth it. I took a risk and it paid off in two extra stones.

The papa bear came in as a whopping 31.65-carat black opal which I was not expecting! The medium-sized mama bear opal is a gorgeous 15.64-carat black opal with blues and purples.