Opals from Australia

 The GEM N I story

I got the opal bug some years ago when I made my first visit to Andamooka in South Australia with my wife and daughter, who was then aged around seven. My daughter and I spent hour after hour searching heap after heap of dumped rock trying to find an elusive bit of colour. opal colours

cut opalI knew there was nothing of value likely to turn up but with a daughter who could read the tiny print on a bank note, there was maybe some faint chance. And surprise, surprise this eagle eyed young lady found one. Around 6 carats, very milky and not of much value but she got it cut and polished in one of the shops and she treasures it even today. Next was a week in Coober Pedy with my wife. Just a basic holiday, - or so I thought!

I already had some interest as we had bought each other an opal ring for our special wedding anniversary. I’d also purchased earrings and pendants containing opals over the years. I have always loved the multi-colour changes of pattern of this gem and the way the colour changes under different levels of light. I was invited behind the scenes and shown the process. The couple of beers we were offered only added to the experience in the hot and dusty environment!

And then I was hooked!

I bought a small jar of opals for around $100, which weren’t the best looking opals around, just practice material really. As soon as I got back home I began looking around for a machine. I ordered the best machine I could afford and one month later it arrived.

As soon as I got started and I began cutting, I realised there was more skill involved than what I thought. In fact, if it wasn’t for my daughter with her amazing close up vision I wouldn’t have got the level of expertise I have today. I still remember her calls of “Dad this one isn’t perfectly shaped” or “this one’s got a mark on it”. I couldn’t see the problem but when I moved into loupes and other forms of magnification I realised she had been right. Since those days I have refined the art to produce the perfect gem.