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.
I 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.