Cutting & Polishing Opal

on . Posted in About Opal

The Lapidary Process:

A Step by Step Guide to Cutting Queensland Boulder Opal

cutter opalton 1902 

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Cutting: Pleasure, Value Adding or Profession ?


Opal cutting is a specialised job but many miners do cut their own.

Others prefer to leave it up to the cutter, wholesaler or manfacturer to decide the shape and cut appropriate for making jewellery.


cutter_opalton_1902.jpg The first lapidaries on the Australian Opal fields at the turn of the century rigged up sewing machines, bicycles etc. creating hand or foot operated contraptions with which to cut and polish Opals.

Some miners prefer to sell completely rough material just as they find it, others choose to block and face, or 'rub' it to reduce the element of hidden surprise.



There has always been a strong demand for cutters services on the opal fields, particularly in Lightning Ridge where most of the Opals found are sold as cut and polished gems by their finders. There a single stone may provide enough money on which to retire.


Peter Christianos'

Hong Kong Opal cutting factory 1963.

Photo Courtesy of



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Sue-White opals29 June 2013
Dear Rainbow Serpent,
Thank you for your email and membership.
It is great to know that you are out there promoting Australia's National gemstone & NSW emblem.
Keep up the good work, I love your concept.
Sue White - Orana Glitz & Glamour Extravaganza Inc Assn.

15 march 2013
Hi Peter,
Colourful characters are key,
your Facebook page and the photos look like there are some fantastic people!
We loved the look of Tarzan of Opalton.
Gemma Brady - Boundless

Alexander fink.PhysicsPHD opal28 Nov 2012
I would like to welcome your information page on opal,
with detailed information about nearly everything their is to know in a general term.
Alexander Fink PhD - Dept. of Physics La Trobe University

5 August 2010
Hi from another opal lover.
Just wanted to say I love your site, a wealth of information.
I always send people to your page for opal info.
Kind Regards
Sean Tapner - Planet Opal

8 july 2010
Dear Rainbow Serpent,
Will be recommending your website as a primary reference to 15 Macquarie Uni media students who will be doing a PR project for us as part of their assessment soon.
Best wishes
Renata - Opalminded

Opalminded recommend opalsinformation6 June 2010
Dear Rainbow Serpent, 
Greetings from Opal Minded In Sydney.
We are all very impressed with your website – one of the best things that has happened to this Industry for a long time. 
We would love to share it with the visitors to our website. 
Would you mind If we post with us links to your website, 
also on our facebook and twitter. 
Best wishes
Renata, John, Nelly, Fabrice and Summer

Fri, Apr 16, 2010 
Good Morning,
I have just found your wonderful website.
I produce a monthly e-newsletter which is circulated to the Tourism businesses in Coober Pedy and neighbouring stations plus the Info Centres around SA & the NT.
I wondered if I could use some of your Opal info in my October Edition (Opal Month), mainly the parts in your “About Opal” section – names, spiritual info etc.
I would obviously reference it to your website noting the address so others could read your site. 
Sandra Harris
Tourism Officer - Coober Pedy Information Centre

5 April 2010
I am wanting to use your site in an assignment as it is a superb example
of a site to use for a primary teaching unit on gemstones.
Many thanks,