CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

This category has outgrown its origins and is now the best place to discuss cutting opal. There is also a comprehensive cutting opal guide for newbies!

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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby topshelfopals » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:00 am

The Ethiopian Welo opal doesn't require stabilizing.
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby OpalFlash » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:25 am

:shock: Really nice pieces!

I never bought some of this welo stuff, cause I am to scary that every single stone will crack, but maybe I should buy an example stone to try it out.
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby jamesdumar » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:01 am

seems like it is stable to me.
some pics and a conversation with Mike Kelly
http://www.mochakenya.com/opal/gonder/
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby OpalFlash » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:24 am

Very interesting link! Thanks!
Seems that these stones become clear and dull very fast. So a thing I don't understand is... The picture above with these nice stones... are they wet or dry? How will they look like after diving in water for an hour?
What I'm thinking above is... when I wear opal, I want to get up out of my bed and put them on like my watch and not want to dip them in water for 20minutes so that they become nice gems. :roll: :?:

Greetz,
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby mick » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:57 am

The one on the right with the cracks looks good.
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby jamesdumar » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:08 pm

Mick- do you mean the blue green stone 1/2 way down?
looks like potch webbing to me.
can't see a cracked stone.
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby opalfireinfo » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:15 am

Hi all,
Steve, those are all polished. Some may turn clear if you soak them long enough, but by the time they are polished and set, they will be stable and not require regular wetting to look nice. Note the set pieces, that's how they will stay.

Mick, the cracked piece is a honeycomb pattern of later infusion around and through a previously formed and then fractured opal solid, or possibly still jel. The new infusion is often precious in Ethiopian but not always. This is similar to the spider web patterns which form in flagstone pattern opal, like mortar in a flagstone walkway. This is common in Australian opal, esp. LR flagstone pattern.

opalflash, take the plunge! You'll be glad you did.

Do we have any trained geologists here that can explain the differences in A opal and CT opal and how that affects the color structure? James, I see your hand up, any others?
Thanks to all,
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby topshelfopals » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:54 am

This is a little bit of Information that's a part of our listing information for the Welo Opal. People need to take note that the Welo opal is already accepted and in use in the high end jewelry market. If you are afraid to learn how to cut the Welo, then you need to stick with what you are currently doing as the learning curve can be costly. There are already many successful cutters of Welo opal out there making good money producing world class stones for jewelry and the market is getting hotter for this super gemstone. We currently have Australian opal miners from several locations that are learning to cut the Welo and are currently purchasing rough in large quantities from us and other miner direct sources. The Aussies are catching on to the hottest and newest trend in top quality opals. Those that are in denial and those that are still trying to create doubt about the Welo will be left behind. The Welo is turning the opal industry on its ears...this is a fact! The Welo can be tricky to cut, but not hard to master. The are several ways to cut this opal with success....please do not use oil of any kind. The welo opals have different levels of porosity and will absorb the oil and dull the color if in contact for extended periods. If you want world class color and brilliance stay away from prolonged contact with oil. We are in the process of collaborating with our other cutters to produce a fairly comprehensive cutting guide for the Welo opal specifically that will be out sometime before the end of the year. We have master cutters of Welo in the United States, Ethiopia and India. Together,we have cabbed and facet cut may kilos of Welo opal since this new find was discovered.
Below is the information that is posted with our Welo auctions...just some basics.


ETHIOPIAN WELO DESERT OPAL

This newly discovered Opal found in the Welo deserts of Ethiopia is a new find that is quickly gaining the attention of the opal community. This opal was the hit of the recent Tucson international gem show. Welo opal requires a mountain of patience and some special cutting techniques but the finished result is every bit as stable as the better known Australian opals. The color is brilliant and rivals any top grade opal in the world. Most have a brightness level of at least 4 to 5 on the brightness scale with hot neon multi-color and multiple pattern mix. Welo opal is not generally classified as contra luz opal although I have seen a few. The color play is face up and in a lot of cases, as bright in artificial indoor light as it is in direct sunlight. This opal just loves any light source. This is hydrophane opal which when soaked in water allows the base color to clear up...sometimes highlighting the play-of-color, sometimes making it vanish. The best trait of the Welo hydrophane opal is that when it's dry and polished it can be one of the brightest opals in the world. From my experience, the Welo Desert opal is as stable as the best of all that I have cut in the last 10 years. It can take twice as long to cut a finished stone, but the visual rewards are well worth the time. Different types of opals require specialty care for the beauty you enjoy... Welo opal is no different. No chemicals or detergents...If soaked in water, it will take one to two weeks to completely dry out and return to it original beautiful state. Do not try and accelerate the drying by any artificial means. Do not use ultrasonic cleaning for any opals. The Welo opal is found in the same type of geological formations as the Australian opal. It was discovered in December of 2008 in the sedimentary mines of the Welo desert region of Ethiopia. This is due west of the Gondar Desert(see map). Some call it Gondar desert opal but it is Welo desert opal and called such by the miners and dealers. Welo opal is the most stable opal find in Ethiopia to date. Ethiopian Opals are region specific in character traits just like Australian opals. I have seen the price of this opal rise dramatically over the last few months and it looks as though the price is going to go higher. The mines are currently owned by the Ethiopian government and they are in the middle of changing laws and will be selling these mines to large companies in the very near future.

NOTE: We are not resellers. we pick our rough out of multiple kilos and work with the miners direct. Each piece sold has been handpicked and cut either by myself or one of several master cutters. What you are bidding on is TopShelfOpal from Welo,Ethiopia. Our opals are solid, stable, natural, untreated and free of fractures. If you want to own one of the the hottest opals on the market today, try the Welo. It has changed my concept of brilliance and may just do the same for you.



BTW...the potch webbing is a honeycomb harlequin pattern indicative of the Ethiopians opal.
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby PinkDiamond » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:44 am

That is fantastic material!! Seeing those opals take up water like that and morph into clear opal is awesome! :shock: I can see I'm going to have to start saving for at least one of those puppies. :D

Thanks for the great link and info, and warmest welcome to the forum topshelfopals, and jamesdumar!! :wink:
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby starbird » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:20 am

Hello James,
Welcome from my side of the isle!!
I have purchased beautiful opal from this gentleman over the years and you will be a valuable asset to Opal Auctions not only for your Topshelf opal but the large pool of knowledge you bring along!
Welcome, Chuck Starbird
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby opalfireinfo » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:16 pm

Hi there James, nice to have you join us here. I agree with Chuck, you will be a valuable asset here. And you might have some fun too!

Pink, you won't have to save too many pennies. I've been selling this material for as low as 2 to 3 dollars per carat for nice bright red fire pieces in the $1NR section. I have top grade material in lager sizes that's a little more expensive, but the smaller pieces have been going pretty cheap. I guess that's why they call them "loss leaders". But it lets some great opal get into cutters' hands at a reasonable price. I'm very excited about this material and have several on my dop sticks right now. Currently I am using double stick tape for dopping.

TopShelf, thank you for posting those wonderful pictures. We all look forward to your upcoming guide to Welo cutting and polishing, in which Doug reveals all!!! Whatever they are doing, it is working. Those are beautiful opals with excellent cut and polish.

So far, I have seen this opal cut in many ways, from handling it with kid gloves and cutting it completely dry, with files and sandpaper to treating it just like any other opal, with hot dop wax, wet grinding at 220, etc., followed by cerium oxide polishing. I've seen them cut with all diamond tools, with water and waterless. I've heard of everything from bamboo to tripoli and jewelers rouge to cerium to carnauba wax to diamond to ashes as a polishing medium. Yes, ashes, for that final show level polish.

Tradition holds that the first black opals were polished with knife polish, whatever that is....

In short, I think we have all begun to show that this opal will cut and polish in just about any way you approach it. I admit to being intimidated by the "fade to clear" property to begin with but now that I've convinced myself that they will dry out and the color will return.

I've never been able to afford opal with this much color before. My fear is that prices will rise at the sources and the rough will soon be matching Australian prices. Then we'll have to save more than pennies. i encourage everyone to try a piece or two while we can all still afford it. Several sellers are offering this material, so you have plenty of choices among sellers.

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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby jamesdumar » Fri Sep 11, 2009 3:05 am

The first black opals were turned into fancy shirt buttons when hatton garden thought they were fake .
Hehe- it won't kill to take a little risk now and then.
sometimes you win.
after all, we are not scientists- so we can have the luxury of an open mind!
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby Dopal » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:46 pm

Welo Opals are very stable,if the roughs u start cutting and polishing do not have cracks which is pretty easy to check, just use a powerful flash light and examine them from different angels, before cutting.
Any way my company is based in Ethiopia, "Rember Trading" I mainly deal with welo opals and have been doing so since they were discovered.Although the price is still considered cheap compared to Australian opals , I have seen it constantly rising and now it has tripled compared to what it was 6 months ago and still rising.
If u are interested in buying or have any questions related to welo opals feel free to ask me,I have uploaded a pic of some of the stuff I polished the past couple of months, but sorry my pics don't do justice to these opals beauty.
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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby normans4 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:15 am

Just as a collector/consumer- this material is becoming more popular, and can be found here and elsewhere. Gotta say, it's gorgeous stuff both rough and cut. I'd even go so far as to say that what I've seen is on average it is far brighter and prettier than average australian material ... certainly gobs and gobs of color for the dollar and a great bargain.

(of course, the highest end stones from anywhere are simply impossible to compare to one another, and all are fabulous works of nature's art)

I just got a few great rough stones both here and from Steve Newstrom (villagesmithyopals dot calm) for what seems really cheap. It seems like a good time to stock up. The material is, as others say, soft and hydrophane but I have no reason to doubt assertions that it is stable once cut.

Cheers,

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Re: CUTTING /STABILIZE ETHIOPIAN OPAL

Postby mc2526 » Sat May 01, 2010 6:19 am

Hi people! Great to meet more opal lovers!
These are all Australian opals.

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As you can see, I'm more inclined to facet opal, but I do cab also. How stable is this welo opal when faceted?

Thanks for any response!

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