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The value of this gem went through the roof!

14.98ct black crystal opal Lightning Ridge

Do you like surprises? I do. Well, good ones, that is. Let’s cut a beautiful black crystal opal from a gorgeous ocean blue opal nobby! It’s not every day that I’m surprised with more than I hoped for. Social media can make it look that way, but trust me, every cutter knows that the wins can be few and far between. This opal turned out even better (and bigger!) than I was expecting. When I was first studying this rough opal piece, I saw that it had little potch but a natural tint. I was expecting a dark crystal with some play of color, although I was unsure how deep…

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The dream opal comes true!

best black opal gem cutting video

Some days at the cutting machine are good and others are mediocre. Then there are days like this. Watch me get caught off guard while uncovering an absolute dream opal in this weeks video. We shared a live cutting video on YouTube a couple of weeks ago that included an exceedingly beautiful piece of rough opal from Lightning Ridge. I decided to take this rough nobby to the cutting wheel expecting a good gem and being surprised with a dream opal instead. What can we get out of this rough opal? Before cutting any opal, I always spend time evaluating. Every piece of rough opal is unique, just like the…

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My biggest challenge ever! A massive chunk of Andamooka opal

Andamooka opal

What do you get when you cross a huge piece of Andamooka opal and a lot of very hard quartz? My biggest challenge ever! (literally!) In this weeks video, we’ll work on exposing the gem inside this massive chunk of Andamooka opal. This piece weighs 2.2 kilograms (almost 5 pounds) and it made up of opal encrusted in quartz, or quartzite or silcrete. I can see that there is a lot of color in this chunk but it’s unclear where that color meets. I always spend time assessing the opal before taking it to the wheel and this chunk is no exception. In fact, this piece will probably take me…

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