How Boulder opals are cut and polished

A beautiful Boulder Opal set in a pendant, ring or earrings is often stunning in its appearance, and almost magical in the vast array of colours it exposes as it sparkles under light. But, the miner didn’t just dig it out of the ground looking that way. The gemstone needs to be cut and polished before it is ready for mounting in a piece of jewellery. So, how does that all come together?
Opal specialist Dennie Fickling explains the process taken to work the gemstone from its original form, to being ready for a jeweler to set in gold or silver.
Boulder Opals are mined across Western Queensland and are usually found in ironstone boulders. When first cut into slabs using industrial strength diamond saws, they will invariably be contained in a brown ironstone piece. The now smaller piece is trimmed to expose the Opal around the edges. Using a special grinder, Dennie grinds the face of the gemstone until the full Opal face is exposed, and finishes it off by shaping the outer edge. This process is known as ‘facing up’ the Opal.
With the full face of the Opal now exposed and all the brown ironstone removed, Dennie continually sands the gemstone until a smooth surface is achieved using a product called ‘diamond paper’. The diamond paper is manufactured with many level of coarseness or ‘grit’. The sanding process is time consuming and requires the use of progressively finer grades of diamond paper to reach the final polished stage.
Learning the art of cutting and polishing Opals over many years has allowed Dennie to evolve as a master in his work, creating Opal pieces of outstanding quality and breathtaking beauty. Dennie Fickling’s reputation for exceptional quality and presentation is known not just in Australia, but internationally.
Dennie Fickling Opals is committed to providing customers in Toowoomba and across Australia with quality product and value for money – all built on experience, expertise and exceptional customer service.
Dennie Fickling Opals – sharing stunning beauty worldwide since 2000.

Dennis Fickling Opals
Toowoomba, Australia
1300 660 690


Why buy from us?

I wanted to let you know the opal ring arrived today... and I am thrilled with it. It is even better looking than in the pictures and video. The flashes of color are glorious. And I was amazed at how quickly it arrived.I will check your web site from time to time to see what else you have.

Barbara, USA