How to cut, shape, and polish an opal

Episode 4 - How to cut, shape and polish an opal

 Extra tips and key points:

- When shaping the opal gently move the stone back and forth while applying even pressure. Once again, let the opal guide you in the shape, it does help to have a plastic guide when starting out that has various shapes and sizes, such as tear drops, ovals, hearts, squares and so on. You can stop cutting and review the shape with the guide to ensure you're on the right path. There is no limit to how long it takes to cut a stone, don't rush, take your time.

- You can start on a finer grit wheel and work your way back to a courser grit if needed. Remember, that you can't add more opal on, but you can always take it off.

- Positioning of the opal on the wheels impacts where you're cutting and how you shape. If you want to cut underneath the opal move to the top of the wheel, if you want to cut on top of the opal move to the bottom of the wheel. 

- You want to create a nice cabochon, or dome like, on the front of the opal, as mentioned above how you work the stone is important to achieve this.

- Keep the stone moving on the wheel, so you don't get any high or flat spots. You want to work the stone evenly so it comes out uniform. 

- Work the wheels, move from the left to the right. This helps evenly wear the wheels and increase longevity. 

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