Finding and cutting a Mexican Opal for a Ring

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Before the Tucson gem show this year, I was tasked with building a men's ring with a beautiful orange gem. My client loves orange, and had seen Mexican opal pieces and wanted something in this gem for himself.

I looked around through the stock I had, at home but didn't really have anything which fit the size requirements of the ring. Most of the Mexican opal rough tends to come out small, and so finding an ideal size stone can be challenging. Luckily, it was right around show time, and I knew many miners come up from Mexico with truck loads of these rough gems.

I went to a few dealers I know carry this type of material. With Mexican opal rough there tends to be a very large selection, but finding the right piece is always the challenge.

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After considerable time, i did find a piece that matched the size I needed. The biggest issue, was finding a stone which would fit. Of the 50 kg of stones I looked through, only 2 pieces actually were large enough to be cut into a working cabochon for the ring. Of the 2, I determined that only one actually was clean enough to produce an inclusion free finished stone.

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I brought the opal home, and then went through the laborious job of cutting this stone to fit exactly into the ring.  After a few iterations the gem was complete, and with no inclusions. Subsequently, the ring was polished, 2 small orange sapphires were set, and then the opal prepared.

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The final piece came out perfectly, and will be a daily companion to the my happy customer.

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