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Opal Mining

Opal mines are amazing and dangerous places. Most people imagine mines to be like a coal mine, a diamond mine, or a gold mine, but actually, an opal mine is relatively small. Here in Lightning Ridge, an average opal mine is a 50-meter by 50-meter block of land. Compared to a coal mine that may be kilometres across. Small operators run Opal mines in groups of 1 to 4 people. Small machinery is used chiefly all run by hydraulics or air compression. The first step to starting an opal mine in the ground is to find an area with good opal trace. The only way to find trace is to…

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Black Opal Earrings

Earrings have been around for centuries almost as long as people have had ears. When earrings are used, most people will have a hole pierced in their ear, or they will use clips to clip onto the ear. Gemstones have been a trendy eye-catcher for earrings. Gold and silver are commonly used to set the gemstone in. The gemstones can be set in a few ways. The most popular methods are either claw set with arm-like claws holding the gemstone into the setting. The other way is a rub-over setting that has an edge that has hammer set the gemstone into the piece. One of the most unique and beautiful…

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How to Cut an Opal

Learn from an expert how to cut an opal the old-fashioned way. This is the first video to watch in the series if you are interested in cutting and polishing opal. Justin is a second generation opal cutter learning from his father Jorgen who was a master cutter and carver. Justin started cutting as a young boy where his father from years of experience started to teach him the ‘tricks of the trade’. Justin has become a master cutter himself with over 30 years experience. In this easy to follow video ‘how to cut an opal’ Justin will discuss the art of fashioning an opal the old-fashioned way using sandpaper and felt wheels with Cerium Oxide. In…

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