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carved opal
opal beads

Carved Opal

Opal is seldom found in large pieces, and, if of good quality its value is so high that it is seldom carved. However material of somewhat lower quality, such as light or clear opal showing some greens and blues, may be carved from time to time. Furthermore, skillful carving allows the occasional imperfections to be removed. Large carved pieces are thus not common, but smaller pieces to be worn as ornaments are usually available. These make beautiful and unusual ornaments and jewellery.


Rarely, an opal may be faceted. This generally does little for precious opal showing diffraction colours, although it can be quite effective for some opals of uniform colour, such as the fire opal from Queretaro in Mexico. While similar coloured stone is occasionally found in Australia, it is seldom used by the trade.


Opal is sometimes cut as beads. The main problem is to obtain enough matching opal to make a necklace, especially with high quality material; in the latter case, the value of the jewellery would be high. Striking necklaces can also be made from boulder opal matrix material.