Opal Cutting Guide

The opal fever has taken hold and there’s no holding you back now; your neck twitches and palms become sweaty as you say through gritted teeth “must… cut… OPAL!”

Well, my fevered friend, you’re in the right place. We’ve created many videos on Justin’s opal cutting process to help you learn how to work with the gem we love. Below you’ll find an extensive list on how to begin cutting opal.

Make sure you check out our YouTube channel where Justin cuts and polishes the gems we sell on our site. We’ve got a full playlist on learning to cut opal as well as learning about opal, mining for opal and more!

Watch a gem black opal emerge from rough

gem returned so I cut it and made thousands

One of our most popular videos ever and a sure way to catch opal fever! In this video, Justin cuts a piece of rough that was returned when a customer felt they needed a little more experience to tackle it. The gem that emerges is beyond what he expected.

What’s in my opal cutting workshop? A tour!

opal cutter's workshop tour

A good cutter never blames his tools… he makes sure he has good tools, to begin with. Let’s see all of the tools Justin uses to make those brilliant cuts.

How to cut and polish an opal by hand

cutting opal by hand

A great way for beginners to try their hand at opal cutting (without investing in expensive machinery) is to do so by hand. Yes, it is possible! Buckle in, it’s a bit of a long ride.

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; what wheel do I need?

How to change a lapidary wheel

How to change a lapidary wheel

If you have a lapidary machine and you need to change the wheel, we’ve created a quick tutorial on how to do so. In this video, Justin shows you the simple steps to changing your lapidary wheel with ease.

Maintaining a good polish on opal

Maintaining your polishing wheel

You can make or break an opal with the polish you give it, so how to do maintain a good polish on your opals? In this video, Justin shows you how to ensure you get a good polish every time.

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!

12 tips to cut and polish a better opal

12 tips to cut and polish better opals

Now that you’ve got the basics down, time to level up! Here are 12 tips that will help you to produce an even better cut.

Want to get back to opal basics?

Did you love this comprehensive opal cutting guide? Well, you’re going to love Opal 101: Everything you need to know!

If you want to learn more (or are looking to kill a few hours down a YouTube vortex) head over to our YouTube channel where Justin cut and polish the gems we sell on our site. We’ve got a full playlist on learning to cut opal as well as learning about opal, mining for opal and more!