My Hobby: Opal – Helpful Hints from an Enthusiast
After cutting opals for about 30 years, one day an old bloke walked into the Opal Miner’s Hut and said: “How do you “dop” an opal?” After a lengthy description of the traditional heated sealing wax method, he said “That’s a bit of a long winded way of doing it!!” I swallowed my pride and listened to his simple suggestion. His idea revolutionized my thinking of this procedure and caused me to create new, easier, and inexpensive methods of cutting opals.’ Excerpt, pages 1 and 2 of ‘the ordinary blokes guide to opal’.
– by Peter Brusaschi
My Hobby opal rough buying
I have been buying rough opal for 30 years, and every time I do so I remember a very successful Japanese buyer who absolutely refused to buy anything that was not completely finished, even if he payed three times the price for it. The reason he did this was that he was able to see exactly what risk he was taking and always made sure that his customers would pay him some profit.
However there are a bred of people out there, like me who for the sheer joy and excitement of attempting the unknown like to start from scratch to fashion our own future. For those few brave souls, rough opal is a challenge waiting to happen. But you have to get it right if you are going to learn my hobby-opal and opal cutting.
Having said that, unless you have limitless supplies of money and have a gambling problem, may I suggest that you buy opal that has been brought to the next processing step. Rather than buying piles of stones that are often miners rejects hoping that you will find something the miner missed and paying excessive freight for goods that will just be put aside in your workshop, take advantage of what are called ‘rubs’ not, ‘rough’ opal. Rubs have had all the rubbish cleaned off them. They are usually left with all blemishes and imperfections, thus allowing you to use your skill in producing a perfect gem, but they take the risk out of buying rough opal.
On top of this, if you find you have bought a parcel of rubs and do not do well on the investment, you only have to complain to us and we will make it good on the next deal, if you show us the results of your cutting and it is determined that the value is not there.
So, study the rough being offered on this CD, keeping in mind that it is selling all the time and sometimes what you like has already gone. Still if you give me an indication of your needs, I can usually come up with something similar in time. Let me know if you want me to inform you of special bulk buys as they come up. (see p.s. below)
Good Cutting, Peter
How can I decide which rough opal to buy to develop my hobby opal?
(1) If you are a new cutter, just experimenting, I suggest you save up and spend $500(including freight) and get ‘the ordinary blokes guide to opal’ thrown in for free. This will give you something to practice on and you will always cut some stones double the value of your cost. Of course you can buy as little as you like but you always get a much better deal if you can afford at least $500
(2) If you have some experience, please give me an idea of the type of material you like. If you let me know the type of stones you prefer to cut. i.e. for carving, free forms, ovals, specimens, doublets, triplets, inlays, etc, or a few of each, and I will arrange the parcel accordingly.
(3) If you are ordering boulder opal for cutting or carving, remember that polishing the ironstone in the boulder is a tricky experience. If you have not done it before, you will need some help.
(4) The photographs in the data base don’t show the full picture because of the shifting patterns of opal. Please ask for more details of any parcel.
(5) Of course, if the rough is not to your liking, you are able to return it, no questions asked, less the freight and insurance component.($20) But to cover you for this too, we will include an extra
$20 parcel worth of rough that you may keep.
More information on buying rough opal
Everyone has a different viewpoint as to what is good value and what is not, depending on your market and your experience as a cutter. Hopefully, the following will assist all to get as close to expectations as possible. If ever you are disappointed with a parcel, please let me know, and I will make every effort to make you happy. I want you to buy again and again, so, even if I loose money at times, I will make it up in the long run by good service. However because of the amount of inquiries I get, and the difficulty of locating the right parcel, I cannot always give the service I would like to. I apologize in advance for this, but of course this is the nature of the business. Opals don’t grow on trees.
(2) If you need experience in cutting, keep in mind the CD “The ordinary bloke’s guide to opal” The cost of this CD covering 30 years of experience in the opal industry is just $35 plus freight and insurance, but it can be had freely if you order over $500 (including freight) worth of rough opal.
(3) If you are a professional cutter already, please give me an idea of the type of material you like. If you let me know the type of stones you prefer cutting. i.e. for carving, free forms, ovals, specimens, doublets, triplets, inlays, etc. Or a few of both. Of course each parcel will provide stones for various categories, but if you let me know this detail I can send a parcel which features your main preference. Sometimes customers have ordered parcels that do not fit their preferences and have been disappointed. I would like to avoid this as much as possible..
(4) If you are ordering boulder opal for cutting or carving, remember that polishing the ironstone in the boulder is a tricky experience. You can experiment with it but it is different to polishing opal and can produce disappointing results. The CD discusses these details.
(5) Please indicate if you prefer to buy rough as it comes out of the ground so that you can enjoy the “challenge” of exposing the color. Keep in mind that this can be very risky. You can do very well, or you can loose money. If you like gambling, this is the way to go. But don’t blame me if you loose your money. Usually I take the risk for you, expose the color, take a photograph, and either send you the graphic by email attachment, or post it on the net. I can then give you a commentary on the parcel as well to give you more details.
(6) Please indicate if you are used to buying opal by troy oz , by gram, by parcel lot, or by piece. I will try to give you these details. We hope that you too can say’ my hobby opal ‘ is a very satisfying pastime.