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 it went. There were some dips and pits that I knew I would have to grind out to make a nice cabochon and the possibility of web lines and inclusions. At this stage, I’m hoping this nobby ends up being around 10 carats.
Let’s take it to the wheel…
I began shaping the stone into an oval when I realised that the dips in the stone were really going to throw a spanner in the works. The opal also had a pretty stubborn sand spot. If I can get these kinds of imperfections out, I can get this stone to its potential.
I put the nobby on the dop stick to slowly render it as smooth as possible, getting those dips and pits out while trying to retain as much carat weight as I could.
The end result…
Now, the moment of truth!
This gem ended up being bigger than I expected; 14.98 carats! A large black crystal opal great for a men’s ring (for bigger hands) or a stunning pendant. There are a few inclusions which bring the value down a bit, but it has a bright color with a grade of B3.
Overall, I was hoping for a decent-sized dark crystal opal and got a large black crystal opal instead! Definitely the kind of surprise I want in my life.
Thanks for watching, see you next time!