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Cutting Boulder Opal.

Cutting Boulder Opal.

Posted by Therese Brown on 2nd Apr 2021


cutting boulder opal

At Opal Art Global we specialize in cutting Queensland boulder opal.

Rick and I have been cutting boulder opal since 1982.

The introduction of the Opal Art range in 2000 brought with it a completely new way of cutting boulder opal. In the past boulder opal was cut into small gemstones intended to be set into jewellery. Opal that did not make the grade was dismissed as “off-cuts.”



The Opal Art way of cutting involved taking these “off-cuts” and turning them into beautiful little wearable works of art. Where in the past cutters sought to remove inclusions or imperfections the Opal Art way was to embrace these so-called imperfections and include them in the Opal Art image.

We see ourselves as framers.

When we cut for the jewellery for the Opal Art Global Jewellery range the opal determines the shape.

In other words, we shape (or frame) the necklace, earring, or bolo tie around the way the opal presents with the rock..

Shape is a defining feature of the Opal Art Global jewellery range.

When we cut the boulder opals for the Opal Art range, we strive for balance, symmetry, and unity and for this reason our jewellery not only looks good but feels good too!

We achieve balance through proportion by cutting the opal to the right thickness in relation to its size.

We achieve symmetry by focusing on form. Even abstract shapes can have symmetry.

We achieve unity by combining the above and hanging the piece from an exact point.

Shape is a large part of perception and just as we are drawn to certain colours we are also drawn to certain shapes.

Shapes represent ideas and feelings and therefore have symbolic meaning…

There are three key shape groups: Geometric, Natural, and Abstract.

1. Geometric shapes are shapes with straight lines and angles and usually symbolise structure and order.

  • Squares symbolize reliability, stability, order, dependability, and of the material world. The square and the number 4 in many cultures are associated with material things – physical elements (buildings), the compass, and the seasons. Rectangles are trusted familiar shapes that symbolize honesty, stability, and solidity. Straight lines and right angles (as found in square and rectangles) have a very mathematical balaned feel.
  • Triangles in the ancient world symbolized justice, science, and religion. Triangles are part of the three-part symbol family and represent concepts such as the past, present future, mind body soul etc.
  • Triangle pointing up: symbolises a strong foundation, stability. A triangle pointing up relates to the elements of fire and air.
  • Triangle pointing down : symbolises insightfulness and represents a strong connection to the natural world. A triangle pointing down relates to the elements of earth and water.
  • Diamond shapes are squares with attitude In other words, the diamond shape is an off-set square that dares to be different. Elegant and distinctive the diamond shape is aesthetically pleasing and creates an illusion of artistic flair.

  • Circle: unity, wholeness, infinity, completion, harmony. Circles have a free sense of movement which may also represent power and energy.
  • Oval: represents the egg which symbolises rebirth, fertility, and immortality.

2. Natural Organic Shapes

Leaf shapes represent the natural world. Leaves are symbolic of hope, renewal, revival, fertility, and growth.

Teardrop shapes represent the element of water. A droplet of water with its pointed tip, curved sides and broad rounded base is a pure form. Stylish and elegant the teardrop shape leads itself to modern jewellery design.

3. Abstract Shapes

Free shapes are for those which do not like conformity.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and have found it insightful.

Thank you for reading.

View our beautiful range of opals and see our distinctive cutting style here: