Opal Cutting Guide

Symptoms of opal fever: You spend hours a day looking at opals online. You find yourself searching for ways to turn the conversation to opals at social gatherings. You fantasize about holding them, touching them, wearing them and yes… even cutting them.


If you’re daydreaming about learning to cut and polish your own opals one day, you’re in the right place. We’ve got a huge library of videos documenting Justin’s opal cutting process that’ll help you learn to work with the gem we all love.

Watch a black opal emerge from rough

Watch Justin cut a piece of rough opal a customer returned because they felt they needed a little more experience to do the gem justice. This hypnotising video is one of our most popular, and the gem that emerges is unexpectedly astounding.

The Essential Opal Cutting Toolbox

A good cutter never blames the tools, they just make sure they have good tools to begin with. Take a look at all the equipment Justin uses to make those brilliant cuts.

Seeing is believing. Tour Justin’s workshop.

Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a master opal cutter’s workshop? Your wish is our command!

No machines? No problem. Learn to cut an opal by hand.

Call us old-fashioned but there’s something special about doing things manually. Watch Justin cut and polish an opal without any expensive machinery.

Thrown for a loop by cutting wheels?

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which wheels you need when you’re starting out. This video takes you through the different types and what they’re used for.

Level up your cut & polish.

Once you’ve got the basics down, take your skills to the next level with these 12 tips to improve your final product.

What opal cutting wheel do I need?

Before you start practising your cutting skills, you need to make sure you’re set up right! In this episode, Justin chats about a question we get a lot from budding cutters; which wheel do I need?

How to carve opal.

Justin uses a piece of rough that came back with us from a gem show in Tucson to teach you how you can carve an opal!

Opal Guide

Lapidary, the practice of cutting opal, is an art. Before you start, you need to have a deep understanding of your gem. Of course, every single opal is different, but there are some fundamental aspects that’ll help you. Check out our Opal Guide for a quick rundown on body tone, brightness and patterns.

Watch our latest cutting video

Want to discover where opal comes from?

Get to know Lightning Ridge. The remote outback town home to red earth, endless skies and the birthplace of opal.

Emus at Lightning Ridge

Check out our Opal TV channel

Got opal fever? Head over to our Opal TV channel and watch Justin cut and polish the gems we sell on our site. We also have plenty of playlists on topics like cutting, mining and general fun facts about opals. But be warned! Our channel is more addictive than cute cat videos.

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