I have been receiving increasing numbers of requests for information regarding the opal cutting tools and techniques that I use. I can understand that there are many different ways to cut an opal, but not every method can tackle the undulating surface and free-form shape that is a common challenge when cutting boulder opal.
I have undertaken to build an affordable machine that is custom manufactured to cut and grind boulder opal. I will also supply the tooling and information on the techniques that I use in my cutting process to conquer the undulating surfaces on the face of the opal. There are various machines that range from hobby units up to commercial quality machines that can be used in the final sanding and polishing process. I will demonstrate the use of these machines so that you can find a suitable solution for you particular cutting requirements.
The information will be freely available with the intention of contributing to the wider knowledge base regarding cutting this fine gem. In doing so, hopefully there will be a greater number of cutters who will see the possibility of successfully polishing the rough parcels that I am offering.
Feel free to contact me with questions and suggestions regarding cutting. I always welcome your suggestions and will try and help by providing information whenever I can.
I do have some rough faced stock remaining that is nice, commercial quality material. I am selling these in colour matched parcels of five stones, with each stone being suitable for cutting a good quality finished opal with a value that is substantially higher than that of the rough material.
In the future, I will be grading the rough opal into Hobby Grade, Commercial Grade and Gem Grade to give a better indication of the quality of opal being offered. Hobby grade parcels will have lower quality material where the colour is not as bright or the opals will have some of ironstone in the face of the finished stone. Commercial Grade will be brighter stones with a nice play of colour and many stones have the possibility of being cut with a mostly clean face. Gem Grade is for clean faced rough with gem quality colour and pattern. Obviously the price is a reflection of the quality of opal on offer. If you are not comfortable cutting more expensive stones, the hobby material is a good value option. If you need to cut top quality stones, the Commercial and Gem Quality rough is more expensive, but still great value as I try to price parcels so that there is a margin for adding value by finishing the stones. Feel free to contact me if you have specific colour/size/quantity requirements and I will put a parcel together for you.
Unset polished opals and jewellery.
Some of the material is being finished off and set into silver jewellery with a large number of earrings and cuff-links ready to be made up. There are also a few stones that will be polished and sold as unset opals for those who don’t have the capacity to sand and polish the rough parcels.
The Gold Coast trade show was a great success. The show is an annual opportunity to catch up with familiar faces and also to extend the network of people to work with. I had a large amount of faced rough opal from the Alaric Mine, along with the gold and silver jewellery. I also had the pleasure of displaying an amazing opal from the Amanda Jane mine. The stone is named “Cathedral Glory” and it is 46 carats of gem quality boulder opal with the most amazing play of colour in a Cathedral Window pattern stone.