Hydrophane Opal from Ethiopia

[re-post from 03/05/2018]

Mesmerizing play of color in this Opal Rough from Wollo, Ethiopia. Natural, untreated.

This is very select rough that is in the initial stages of processing. Next it will be sawn and/or roughly ground to remove the surface clays.

Then the stones will be rough preformed to orient them to display the best play of color for each piece.

This part is tricky since this is hydrophane opal. “Hydrophane” means the stones absorb water when they are in contact with it and turn colorless!

And you certainly need water when sawing, preforming or faceting stones. At that point the opals look transparent to translucent and much of the play of color is lost. Good thing it’s only temporary! The opals dry over a period of a few hours (and sometimes longer) and the beautiful play of color appears again! Phenomenal!

They will then be cut and polished into cabochons with various shapes. The last stage is final quality control before being offered for sale.

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