From time to time you come up against a nobby opal that will challenge you like no others before it.
When I purchase each piece of rough opal, I examine it thoroughly and envisage the cutting possibilities of each stone.
With this particular nobby opal, the visible colors were spectacularly bright and showed a lot of potential.
I could see a lot of sand was present but a fair amount of light shone through the gem, so I had hoped for one or a two clean Crystal Opals.
That escalated quickly!
My strategy was to get the nobby opal on the wheel and clean up all that visible sand on the outside and assess as I go.
As I took away the edges, more and more sand presented itself.
It was time to take off the cap and see what lies beneath — did you guess sand? Argh!!
This may end up being a polished specimen at this point!
Chipping away at the sand to see how far in it goes — and, it looks like it goes all the way through.
I thought there would be bigger cavities of color.
It’s not looking good, there are so many inclusions inside.
I usually don’t see the value in polishing an opal as is with all the inclusions inside, it goes against how I like to work with gems.
Generally, I would slice it up and try to redeem some nice clean gems — even at 1ct a piece.
Nobby opal victory or defeat?
After much deliberation and a few days of examining and re-examining the nobby, I have admitted defeat!
The colors are so bright and beautiful but there is simply too much sand to cut any clean gems.
I will polish the opal as is and sell it as a specimen, you can find it here.
Thanks for joining me, although this opal clearly wasn’t a winner.
I hope you enjoyed the journey and learned a few things along the way.
If you want to watch one of my better outcomes, check out this cutting video here.