You’ve seen the opalescent glow gleaming from a shiny opal gemstone. Opals beautifully adorn antique rings and jewelry, but have you ever seen rough Australian opal?
Uncut, or rough opal is available in many forms. When you buy loose opals, what you see is the final product after cutting, shaping and polishing. Conversely, uncut opal is a rough specimen taken straight from an opal mine. When you hold a rough opal in your hand, you’re holding a piece of the earth in its most natural form. That is, if it’s small enough to fit in your hand. Rough opals can weigh up to hundreds of thousands of carats!
Fascinating, right? If rough Australian opal is on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re diving into rough opals and where to buy them. Let’s get right to it!
It’s no secret that Australia is the leading source for opals in the world. Australia sources over 90% of the world’s supply of opals. That’s a lot of shiny gems and uncut stones! While most rough specimens blossom into beautiful gemstones, some are deliberately left rough.
So, what are rough opals? Simply put, they’re uncut specimens that aren’t shaped or polished into a gemstone. These beauties are left in their natural form and live on in their natural form to either be used in decoration or jewelry.
The major Australian sources of rough opal comes from the Coober Pedy fields, Lightning Ridge, and Queensland.
Rough Australian opal is a collector’s item. They are also sold to gemstone cutters who shape and cut them to sell to jewelers. Then there are those left pristine as nature intended them to be. These prized pieces are usually used as décor, healing stones or displayed at museums. Imagine all the fiery, sparkling beauty of an opal gemstone left completely untouched. There’s something awe-inspiring about the glow of an uncut rough opal, which is why people buy and collect them!
Because each rough specimen is drastically different from the next, valuing uncut opal isn’t a cut and dry process. Still, there are markers to denote the worth of an uncut stone. Here’s how opal cutters categorize uncut opals:
Off Cuts are rough specimens that have already had the best parts removed. Essentially, cutters remove the good parts and sell the leftovers. If all the good parts are gone, why buy Off Cuts? The remaining uncut is often high-quality but not up-to-par with a certain market. This creates the option to get your hands on a bargain of uncut opal for a great price.
Rubs are rough opals that get cleaned, shaped and then reveal the color within. Buying rubs indicates the specimen's color and is a better price point for buying opal online. Plus, you can see exactly what you’re buying.
Mine Run opals are uncut stones taken right from the mine. These are generally more mysterious to work with because, at first glance, the color of the stone isn’t precisely present. It takes a keen eye with years of training to value a Mine Run opal.
We’ve established the basics of buying uncut opals and you’re keen to get your hands on some. So, where can you buy a rough Australian Opal? As a buyer, you have two solid options for buying Australian opal:
If you’re on vacation in Australia, a great idea is to buy local opals! Not only will you have a gorgeous souvenir, but you’re buying it directly at the source. You can visit local mines like Lightning Ridge of Coober Pedy to buy opals straight from the miners.
You don’t have to make a trip to Australia buy uncut opals because you can buy them online! Scouring the web for where to find raw opal? With so many dealers online, how will you know where to buy authentic opals in Australia? You’ll want to acquaint yourself with these tips for buying opals online.
It's smart to learn about base tone, lightning, photography, play of color, and more. There are several factors to consider and the more you know, the wiser your decision will be!
There are certain key factors to consider during the buying process. We have extensive experience working with uncut opal specimens, so here are our tips for how to buy rough opals like a pro:
Choose Australian opal, which has a longstanding reputation for being the best source of rough opals in the world.
Take care when buying opals that are in water. “Hydroplane” opal is a risk because when the uncut stones are removed from water they can fall apart and crack immediately.
Buy opal from vendors who include a high-quality video of the uncut so you can see exactly what you are buying.
Ask questions. Never be afraid to reach out to an opal dealer and ask them questions about the uncut you’re interested in. Chatting with them about the specimen will reveal their knowledge about rough opal which will give you peace of mind as a buyer.
Our #1 tip for buying rough opals is to choose reputable, honest dealers who guarantee their product. At Opal Auctions, we have the Opal Sheriff Program which provides full transparency to buyers. All you need to do is request an audit of a specimen and a professional gemologist will assess the accuracy of the online description and pictures.
Ready to buy rough opals? Excellent! At Opal Auctions, we put the power in the hands of the buyer to keep the market a fair and safe place to buy rough opals and loose opals online. We work directly with verified sellers to offer buyers the most reputable and transparent option. Opal Auctions is the industry leader for all your opal needs!
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