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Peruvian pink opal


#1

Just recently purchased a really nice parcel of Peruvian pink opal.
Having never cut this material before, I am looking for any insights,
hints, or tricks that may help in getting the best possible cabs from
this material. I have cabbed Australian opals in the past. Is the
Peruvian material any different? I’m looking forward to what info
all you opal cutters can enlighten us with. Rick Stutt


#2

Rick - Most Peruvian pink is less heat sensitive than most Australian
white-base. In contrast, the clear Peruvian blue is the most heat
sensitive of all. I’ve had excellent luck with all of the Peruvian
material using SiC only up through either 600 or 1000 grit sanding,
and doing eveything very wet, right up to sloppy cerium oxide slurry
on felt for the final polish. Some cabbers swear by diamond for opal -
I find the potential for overheating too great. Have fun!

Jim Small, SMALL WONDERS


#3

Rick, the Peruvian pink opal is much easier to work with than
precious opal. Heat build up is not a problem and the softer nature
of opal makes cutting quick. Plus, you don’t have the sinking feeling
of trying to get maximum play of color, only to cut through the fire
layer. A rough diamond wheel can eat it up fast, so be careful when
you shape your first cabochons. Otherwise, you can work it much like
agate. I go to final polish after using a well worn 1200 diamond Nova
wheel. Cerium oxide or Linde A (I make a mix of the two) works well
for final polish.

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona
@John_McLaughlin