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Raw opal (13)

Welcome to the magical world of raw opals! These gemstones are not only beautiful to look at, but also have a fascinating history and are sought after by collectors and jewellery designers around the world.

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Raw opal

Raw opals: a magical stone with an intriguing history

Opals are beautiful and unique gemstones known for their brilliant colours and fascinating patterns. Opals, these beautiful stones have been loved by jewellers and collectors around the world for over thousands of years. Rough opals are opals in their natural state before being cut and polished into jewellery or other decorative objects. We are happy to explain more about the world of rough opals.

What are rough opals?

Rough opals are opals that have not yet been cut or polished. They are often found as chunks in the ground. The colour and pattern of the rough opal cannot be seen from the outside, making it a surprise what can be seen inside the rough opal. This makes rough opals particularly intriguing and the ignorance makes it exciting to discover what colours or patterns you will encounter.

Types of rough opals

There are several types of rough opals, including:

  1. Ethiopian Welo opal: Ethiopian Welo opal is a relatively new type of opal that has only been discovered in recent years. It is found in Ethiopia and has a wide range of colours, from pastel to bright and vibrant.
  2. Andean opal: Andean opal is found in the Andes mountains of South America. It has a hazy, milky colour and is often translucent. Andean opal is loved by collectors because of the rare colours and patterns found in it.
  3. Boulder opal: Boulder opal is found in Australia. It is a type of opal that sits in the form of lumps on a rock. Boulder opal often has a dark background with brightly coloured patterns running through it.
  4. Black opal: Black opal is one of the rarest and most valuable types of opal. It is found only in the Lightning Ridge area of Australia. Black opal has a dark background with brightly coloured patterns running through it.
  5. Mexican fire opal: Mexican fire opal is known for its bright orange, red and yellow colours. It is found in Mexico and is often used in jewellery because of its striking colours.

How are raw opals found?

Rough opals are found by miners searching for them in the ground. Most opal fields are in Australia, but opals are also found in other parts of the world, such as Mexico, Ethiopia and South America.
Finding raw opals is an exciting, challenging and adventurous undertaking. Miners sometimes have to dig deep into the earth to find opals. It can take weeks, months or even years to find a good and quality opal, but the rewards can be huge.

How are rough opals worked?

When a rough opal is found, it is carefully removed from the ground and cleaned. Next, the rough opal is prepared to be ground and polished. This process involves several steps to transform the rough opal into a shiny gemstone.


First, the raw opal is carefully cut to create the shape needed for the jewellery or decorative object. Next, the opal is cut to get the right thickness and shape. This is done using a diamond wheel. The rough opal is then polished to create a shiny surface.


Some rough opals are not completely cut and polished, but are processed into cabochons. These are stones with a flat bottom and a convex top. Cabochons are often used in jewellery design and give a unique look to any piece of jewellery.

How are rough opals used?

Rough opals are often used in jewellery, as well as in decorative objects such as figurines, bowls and vases. The unique colours and patterns of raw opals make them highly sought after by collectors and designers.


Rough opals are often made into pendants, bracelets, rings and earrings. As opals are a soft stone, it is important to be careful when wearing them and avoid bumping them against hard surfaces.

Conclusion

Rough opals are magical stones with an intriguing history. The colours and patterns found in these stones make them highly sought after by collectors and jewellery designers around the world. The process of finding and crafting raw opals is an adventure in itself and can be life-changing. Whether you are a collector or looking for a unique gemstone for your jewellery, rough opals are a fascinating choice that is definitely worth exploring.

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