Opal Rough Buying Guide: Expert Tips for New Cutters

When it comes to purchasing opal rough online, new cutters often seek advice on where to look and what to consider. Here are some essential tips to help you make informed decisions:

  1. Seek Videos Alongside Photos: When browsing opal rough listings, look for those that provide both photos and videos of the gemstone. Videos can offer a more realistic representation of the opal's colors, patterns, and play of light, helping you assess its true beauty.

  2. Check for Measurements Reference: Pay attention to whether the pictures include a measurements reference, such as a ruler or coin. Having a size comparison allows you to gauge the actual dimensions of the opal and helps avoid any surprises when it arrives. Keep in mind that finished opals and preshaped rubs are usually measured in carat weight (0.2g) and rough material in grams. Ruler usually will show centimeters.

  3. Watch Out for Sand Inclusions: One crucial aspect to watch out for in the videos and pictures is the presence of sand inclusions. While opals with inclusions are becoming more popular and can be fascinating, excessive sand can pose challenges for cutters during the shaping and polishing process. Be cautious and avoid opals with extensive sand inclusions that might make your cutting experience difficult.

  4. Inquire About Returns Policy: If the seller hasn't explicitly mentioned their returns policy, don't hesitate to reach out and ask. Reputable dealers should be willing to accept the return of an untouched parcel if it doesn't meet your expectations. Keep in mind that opals are notoriously challenging to capture accurately in photographs, and seeing them in person might lead to different perceptions.

  5. Use Your Previous Opal Experience: Leverage your past experiences with opals by taking pictures of opals you already have. This will help you understand how certain colors, like purples, behave on camera and give you a better idea of what to expect from the new opal rough.

  6. Remember - Quality Comes at a Price: While it's tempting to go for flashy and budget-friendly options, remember that, most of the time, the quality of the opal rough correlates with its price. Investing in higher-quality opals can result in a more satisfying cutting experience and a stunning final gem.

  7. Embrace the Exciting Journey: Despite the challenges, opal cutting is an amazing hobby to pursue. The allure of transforming rough stones into breathtaking gemstones is rewarding in itself. Embrace the learning process, and with time, you'll develop an eye for identifying the best opal rough.

In conclusion, buying opal rough online requires a keen eye and some research. Seek listings with videos, check for measurements, be cautious about sand inclusions, inquire about returns, draw from your past opal experience, and remember that quality often comes with a price. Enjoy the journey of becoming a skilled opal cutter and unlocking the mesmerizing beauty within each gemstone. Happy cutting!