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Will I get my rough opal investment back?

Buying rough opal is one of the riskier parts of being in the opal business; how do I know this rough opal investment is worth it? What if I lose all of my money?

I take an educated guess at whether a rough piece will produce a gem opal, but it is impossible to tell for sure. I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing after working with opal for over 30 years although, as any regular viewers will know, opal likes to prove me wrong just for the fun of it.

Will I get this $800 rough opal investment back? There’s only one way to find out!

Today’s rough opal investment is a piece of seam opal from the Grawin Opal Fields in Lightning Ridge. Seam opal is different to nobby opal; to learn more about the difference, check out one of my earlier videos here.

Let’s get into it

This rough piece has some dark potch that looks like it could turn black. There is always a chance that there will be a little grey line and it won’t. We’ll cross our fingers and pray to the opal gods.

I always start by taking off any excess without color, and I grind around the sides of the piece so that I can begin to see what’s happening inside. I am a fast cutter, thanks to years of practice, but you can see how often I stop to reassess my approach.

After some debating, I take the potch off the top to find that this opal doesn’t turn out quite like I was hoping it would. Unfortunately, I’m not making much money back today. There is still some beautiful color and a reasonably dark boy tone, but there are a few factors that bring the value of this opal down more than I would have hoped.

The gorgeous mauve and other pinks in this opal are a saving grace because of their rarity. With a brightness of B3 and an average body tone of N4, this rough opal investment becomes neither a win or loss.

I’m happy because I didn’t lose any money and, even though I didn’t make any, I learnt just a little bit more about opal.