Hey, hey, it’s cutting day! Watch Justin as he gives a rough gem makeover… how will it turn out?
Assessing your options
This week, Justin starts with a 34ct nobby opal that has a nice, thick color bar running through it. The key to getting the best out of this stone is to face it right as we’re after that gorgeous red color shimmering through the sides.
This nobby opal has some fractures as well as a sand line going through it which could mean that the stone ends up a lot smaller than we’d like… well, there’s only one way to find out!
Cutting the gem
Justin uses the rough wheel to give this gem a fresh face by grinding back some of the potch and finds that it’s going to be a dark opal, not a black opal. The sand line is disappearing as Justin keeps grinding and the brightness starts to come through.
Justin sees that the potch of this nobby opal dips down which can make getting a dome difficult; he might have to slice it up to get the best from this one!
After assessing the stone, Justin makes the decision to slice it into three separate pieces in order to keep as much carat weight as he can. Sometimes when cutting opal we think it will be one way and then we have to change our plans halfway through! That’s the risk with opal – you never know what you’re working with until you get in there.
Justin explains how he came to this decision and how he’s choosing to slice it instead. This is a challenging cut for Justin but in the end he’s happy with the decision that he made. Justin ends up with three gorgeous gems resurrected from one nobby that didn’t go as planned!
A quick tip for those playing along at home; Justin recommends his preferred wax for those experiencing problems with wax breaking.
After polishing the three stones, Justin takes us through attributes of these three gems and comes up with prices.
The first gem, a low-domed 2.35ct opal, has a dark body tone and green and red colors.
The last gem shown is a 0.91ct dark opal with one tiny inclusion sand spot left in it otherwise the stone would be too small.