The Art Of Cutting Australian Opals
The story of each Jundah opal piece begins with the trembling hands of an opal miner reaching out to a rainbow flash of colour from somewhere deep in the earth.
The shape of rough opal is determined by the shape of the rock cavity that hosts it.
Hence, a master cutter relies on years of experience to bring to life the most magnificent play of colour, polishing the opal gem to reveal itself at its best. A fraction of a millimetre in the cutting process can make a significant difference to the finished piece and ultimately its value.
The majority of opals are cut freeform, some cabochon, and few if any are faceted as this adds nothing to their natural colour play. Some opals require angulation, an expert cutting technique that brings out a stone’s most minute shifts of colour.
Australian opals are not cut to preserve their weight, as is the case with other precious gemstones, for instance, diamonds. There is no mathematical formula or obvious crystal structure to guide opal cutting decisions. Master opal cutters rely on their intimate knowledge of the stone, their skill and their experience.
When working with Australian opals, what matters above all is revealing their magical beauty; an opal’s play of colour is sacrosanct.