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Crystal Opal rough from Coober Pedy, South Australia
Crystal Opal Rough from the Coober Pedy field, South Australia

What is rough crystal Opal?

Crystal opal rough is the natural form of opal extracted from a mine. Like all other opal rough it takes some cutting and polishing to highlight the play of color.

Most of the worlds precious rough opal comes from Coober Pedy in South Australia. The name Coober Pedy is an aboriginal term for ‘white man down a hole’. This type of opal has a light body tone as opposed to black opal which has a dark or black body tone.

It can be both translucent and opaque

Rough crystal opal is often milky white in appearance if it is opaque but if it is more translucent it is classified as crystal. As with all opal, the cutter just has to take a chance and make a cut to see whats there. All the time hoping not to cut across the face of the best part of the stone. For this reason, the opal cutting process with crystal or white opal often starts with the grindstone which removes some of the rubbish first before attempting to chase the color.  Although the milky white opal in itself isn’t considered precious , it has a wide appeal to many and has been used very successfully to make beads. In recent years it has become rarer like most opal and is in great demand.

Cutting and Polishing Rough Crystal Opal

Crystal opal rough undergoes the same cutting and polishing techniques as all other rough opals. General cutting is done with a diamond slicing machine and then shaping takes place on a diamond grinding wheel as the cutter chases the color  The final part of the process is polishing. The opal cutter uses progressively finer sandpapers until right the end he changes to a leather wheel with Cerium Oxide to bring out the final polish.

A lot more information about the opal cutting procedure is found in our special section on opal cutting. The ‘opal for the ordinary bloke’ CD (now updated with the new title “Opal, An Australian Adventure” will give you over 30 years experience of the opal industry as well as some really good tips on how to save money on opal cutting machinery. This extensive eBook is available freely for visitors to the Opalmine site but we do appreciate your support with the purchase of rough opal as soon as you are ready to develop your hobby or business.

Some opal collectors like to keep the cut and polished opal as a specimen, while others much prefer to wear it in the form of jewelry.

9 Responses to “Crystal Opal Rough”

  1. abdul rais

    dear sir, meri company ka name wazid gems h, hum australian natural white opal banate h, , aor hum chahte h ki aap humse contect kar sakte ho, humne net par aapki site dhekhi thi, aor hum itrasted h, aap hume bina fire, fire ,crystal opal, aal size and all price, ye mere no.9829860964 hum chahte h ki aap humse kaam kare

    Reply
    • admin

      Abdul, please send me the message in your own language and i will try to interpret what you are tying to say. Pleased to help if i can. you have some opal for sale, or you want to buy some? Peter

      Reply
    • Peter

      Please try to find someone to send the message in English, or let me know what language you are speaking so that i can try to translate it. thanks Abdul, Peter

      Reply
  2. Anita Groeneveld

    Coober Pedy….what a strange place….but the opals are beautiful!

    Reply
    • Peter

      It sure is. I dont think there is a tree in town. at least that’s the way it was. but the underground houses and shops are amazing. everywhere you go there is something amazing to see on this planet and Coober is one of them. peter

      Reply
  3. todd elliott

    hey peter I am a wire wrapper/stone finisher and I am looking for some larger pieces that I can finish and wrap…I really like the black opals and have had the pleasure of working with a couple larger opals in the past for some of my customers and would love to have a few to add to my growing variety of pendants and cabochons…the last piece I finished was 30mm x 50mm…I would be interested in doing a bulk buy if you could swing it…my company name is TODDZ ODDZ if ya wanna have a look im on facebook I currently specialize in ammolite and labradorite but would love to add opals to the list :) thanx…todd

    Reply
    • Peter

      Hi Todd. Wire wrapping is amazing. Pleased to help if i can. Keep in mind that black opal prices are ridiculous and unfortunately they are also getting rare. its better if you focus on boulder opal which has black opal type color mixed with ironstone and in my opinion is an even more interesting stone at a much better price. give me an idea of your approximate budget per stone and i will make some suggestions. If you like you can contact me direct at peterATopalmine.com and we can exchange some ideas. Best wishes Todd, and please send me the url of your website if you have one, by email. Peter

      Reply
  4. skull mp3

    Hi!I ҡոow this is kind of off topic but I was wondеring if
    you knew where I could find a captcɦa plugiո for my cߋmment form?
    I’m uѕing thе same blοg platform as yours anԁ I’m having troublе finding one?
    Thaոks a lot!

    Reply
    • admin

      Skull, re capture plugins on opal site: We are actually using awbber at present which has an ongoing rental, but i suggestion you search for a free one. there are a number to choose from if you just search for free word press plugins, in google. The better ones might cost a $100 or so and its probably worth spending that money. hope that helps, peter

      Reply

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