By Ted Grussing
… so the project on the opal began today.
First image … the part of the workshop I will be using for the work. Custom cabochon machine on the left side with 6, 6″ x 2″ diamond wheels of different grits … left to right, 260, 360, 600, 1200, 14,000 and 100,000. For opal I only use the first 4 wheels and finish with cerium/tin oxide on a flat felt wheel on the end of the machine. Forming and shaping is done on the 260 grit wheel.
Second image … the gem cutter. N95 mask because my face is close to the wheels when I work, opal is a silica and silica dust is very nasty in the lungs. The visor is again because my face is close to the wheels (less than a foot) and a magnified view of what you are doing is a good idea.
Third image … before I sliced the rough the rough had a weight of a little over 240 carats … 5 carats equal a gram, 31.1 grams equals a troy ounce … so our rough weighed in at a little over an ounce and a half. Way too much potch (opal without a play of color) on the bottom as the gem area of black opal was about 5mm thick. So I sliced the material with a .006″ (6/1000) and in reassembled the piece because I forgot to take a shot before I sliced it.
Fourth image … the sliced opal rough. Only the separate little piece had any color and will also make a nice 2 or 3 carat stone. The primary stone weighed in at about 140 carats. There was a crack that I was worried about and during initial shaping it broke off and that piece weighs in at 19 carats and will finish as a very gemmy 10+ carat stone.
Fifth image is the gem black opal I extracted, shaped, has a weight of 65.4 carats and has a 260 grit finish on it. By the time I put the finish polish on it I am hoping I can keep it over 60 carats … it is going to be an amazing stone!
I’ll put the final images out tomorrow night.
Hope you find this interesting … I have been cutting opal and other gemstones for close to 44 years now; both cabochons, carved and faceted gems. The finer the gem rough I work on the more fun it is … kind of a risk reward type of thing.
We are in the middle of two very important religious holidays … to my Christian friends a happy and blessed Easter and to my Jewish friends a happy and blessed Passover. We are so fortunate in this country to be free to celebrate our faith and beliefs. may it always be so.
Keep breathing and always find a reason to smile.
The easiest way to reach Mr. Grussing is by email: email@example.com
In addition to sales of photographs already taken Ted does special shoots for patrons on request and also does air-to-air photography for those who want photographs of their airplanes in flight. All special photographic sessions are billed on an hourly basis.
Ted also does one-on-one workshops for those interested in learning the techniques he uses. By special arrangement Ted will do one-on-one aerial photography workshops which will include actual photo sessions in the air.