For the love of Opals!
From rough rock to a sparkling world.
My interest in opals was fired up when a friend showed me her large inch long black Australian opal. The ring was silver, with the stone resting lengthwise. Yes it was old, a little chipped in places but is a very much loved piece of her jewellery.
Those multi- coloured flashes had me intrigued. It was quite different to the milk opals I’d previously seen.
Can I cut and polish opals? I needed to find out but Lapidary clubs are fairly scarce here in the UK.
My parents had dabbled in lapidary in the early 1970’s and I’d always had this potential skill in the back of my mind. The equipment I wanted was available but choice is limited and price expensive. Even second hand stuff when it appears (rarely…) is expensive.
With my father having a mechanical engineering background, I had no hesitation in building the lapidary equipment in my barn here in South Devon, UK. I used the skills of local metal workers to machine parts, sourced wheels on the continent and with a bit of ingenuity, I produced a rather nice grinding machine, polisher and saw.
I now play contentedly producing my opals!