EVALUATING WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR OPAL!
First and for most when you get opal there are a few different types of opal. Where did the opal come from?
· Australia- Coober Pedy, Andamooka, Mintabie Opal Field, Lightning Ridge
· Ethiopia- Wollo Province (Welo opal)
· Mexico- Querétaro, Guerrero, Tequisquiapan
· USA- Spencer, Idaho , Nevada
· Synthetic opal (Lab created)- Man made
· Other locations- Czech Republic, Canada, Slovakia, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil (in Pedro II, Piauí), Honduras (more precisely in Erandique), Guatemala and Nicaragua
WHAT IS MY OPAL? THERE ARE A FEW GRADES OF OPAL AS WELL!
1. Mine rough-opal directly from the mine, mostly un picked through
a) Displays the sand or potch around the opal (there may be something or nothing)
b) Displays color but mostly covered in sand/potch (DON’T TOSS ANYTHING OUT)
This opal has the risk and the most reward if there is a good opal in it! (Where there is no fire, you can save it for other uses) doublets, triplets, practice, or in the case of chips, jewelry: chips in water, in a small jar as a pendant! $$$$
2. Cleaned opal- most of the host rock and sand is taken of so you can better evaluate what you have. Note the price increases here.
3. Mid-grade rough cleaned with better color – since the miners know what it is they can better have a better understanding of what the material will yield (price goes up even more)
4. High grade opal rough- this stone has great color and is thus more expensive.
5. Opal rubs- the host/potch is taken off and the opal is worked into a solid state... possible freeform. (not polished ) $$$$$ VERY LOW RISK IF ANY AT ALL
6. Free form/cabochon/ the stone is worked to a finished and high polished state. It is ready product for jewelry, to be sold individually.
First and for most all opal is a gamble. What I mean is there could be cracks, inclusions, no fire, odd shape, too small.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ALL OPAL IS WORTH MONEY $$$$$$$$$
Something can be done with all opal! Here are a few examples:
· Free form
· Doublets (2 layers)
· Triplets (3 layers)
WITH THE ABOVE INFORMATION IN HAND WHAT DO YOU HAVE, AND WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?
Because there are so many different variables here, we will place a few in sub categories
a) Practice on the low grade stuff! Extract the black, white/gray potch for doublets /triplets
b) Chips/too small/great color- save them for jewelry accents, or to be used in a small jar in water as a pendant!
· Cabochon/facet/freeform- the opal can be worked into a finished stone
· Cracked? Can it or part of it be cut into something? Can you CUT IT IN HALF TO MAKE A MATCHING SET! (Make the most of your opal!)
· Black ,white, grey and shades of each as potch –to be used for practice/doublets or triplets
· Opal carving! (See the very bottom because this one is BIG!)
** OPAL DEFACTS LIGHT! This is why you see the fire the way you do in the color bar!
The rest of this post will contain NOTES/IDEAS!
GREAT COLOR but It is clear- place it on white/black paper and shine a BRIGHT led light on it!
Does the color get better? If so consider doublet… black potch attached under the color bar to display the color bar better!
COLOR BAR THIN? Cut the color bar out, attach clear over the top to protect the opal/ enhance/ magnify the light diffraction with black/white potch under (3 layers also called a triplet)
CARVED OPAL/OPAL CARVING
The opal has awesome color but as a cab or facet it will waste too much weight!
Clean it with a diamond bit dermal tool then with water on balsa wood (as a dermal bit) put diamond paste on the balsa wood to get in the small places! *** Diamond paste grits low to high! To get a good polish on the opal carving!
NOTE! Cutting opal is much like starting with a chunk of raw wood. Roughly shape it, then with low grit (very abrasive) get the desired shape you want!
Once you have that desired shape there are scratches all over it like in wood working, you must increase the grit (less abrasive) to get the scratches out the final polish the stone MAKE IT SHINE!
GRIT 80, 100,250,600,1000,2000, DIAMOND PASTE (VERY FINE GRITS= HIGH POLISH)
YOU CAN CARVE A WEIRD SHAPED OPALINTO ANYTHING YOU IMAGINE, LIKE AN SKULL OR PIECE OF ART! $$$$$
*** NOTE OPAL DOES NOT LIKE HEAT! It can crack very easily. Always work /cut/sand/ carve with water and be gentle!
There are some many other areas to be discussed but this is a basic guide or intro