Black opal carvings. Its only in recent years that carved opals have been popular and this has been due to new polishing equipment. Opals mined at lightning ridge Australia are expensive and in the past opal cutters would not want to waste any opal on carving and just make a commercial shape oval or freeform shape. But with the dremil drills now available an opal cutter can carve opal in the shape it was formed.
There are lots different drills on the market now so opal cutters can cut sand out of black opal specimens and polish to shape it was formed in.
There is still lot effort to drill and polish these opals. First the cutter has to clean he rough on standard wheels and than start drilling the potch and sand out. At this stage it is still difficult to see how deep the potch or sand will go so the cutter drills way with diamonds tip burrs. These need continual supply of water to keep cool and stop the diamonds from going dull quickly, so opal cutters can use several drills on one stone.
Next drills are rubber impregnated with diamonds and different grades until eventually it gets down to poling drills. The time taken to polish these carved opals can be days or weeks.
After the opal is cleaned sometimes the opal cutter can see a shape and shapes the opal to an artistic shape. Some black opals specimen’s have different colour bars of potch or opal colour so the professional cutter can clean these and polish a multi layered opal full colours and patterns and so unique for that special owner.