Finest raw and rough uncut opals in Australia

rough opal direct from our mine, pictured hereWhether you want black opal rough, cheap opal rough, or any other form (Crystal, White or Boulder Opal Rough) we have stocks and contacts to find all your raw and uncut opal lapidary supplies. Rough sale raw opals and also white opal rough available.

Opal is beautiful, and there is nothing more satisfing than a cutting open a nice parcel of quality rough opal. Once inside ideas start forming and you may find some real gem quality black, crystal, white, boulder or fossil opal. There is no better feeling than cutting your own opal.




I was fortunate that due to our connections at lightning ridge ,as these opal miners were always showing us or sending us rough opal on weekly basis.

They were the good days when black  rough opal was plentiful and Cochran was producing good black nobbies.

These days, it s hard to find black opal nobbies, and these were the parcels that every now and than had surprises in them.

We had one miner who had good Nobby  opal mine, most pieces were small than one inch, but when you found good opal it was spectacular and gem red fore quality opal..

I would take it in turns with my Brother Paul to purchase weeks production from this opal miner, sometimes we did well other times we lost and every now and than we found top gem opal , that made it worth while.

A normal load of opal  rough would be 2-3 kilos and take week to rub down and to finish off and polish  the better opals,

The cheaper ones we would give to runner to sell to other opal dealers at the ridge.

The first lot of rough opal from this miner I did well with, that week I met guy from USA who purchased a $5,000 parcel from same miner and lost on it. so next day I looked at his rough and he had rubbed it the wrong way and didnt realise it, Not only did he rub from wrong side but he went after size than trying tog et clean opal.

We would spend lot time studying opal rough before cutting it, as many buyers don’t know what level or what mine the opal rough came from.

So we would visit opal mine with miner and inspect claim and surrounding mines if they produced good opal or not.

This mine was hard to cut and eventually we found out that lot cutters were losing money on his rough opal, so we negotiated better price to take his hole production and this mine produce opal for over 12 months so was very good for miner.

I once sold parcel to mate from States for $1,000,which was my cost, he bought it back next day and showed me what he had cut from it, not even $300 worth as he also had cut it wrong.


Once w e bought 3 large nobbies with black bars running around the edge, each about size of fist and showing lot promise

We paid $30,000 for the 3 pieces; wish I had pictures to show bars 2-3 mm thick, they looked fantastic and should cut well.

We rubbed down the smallest one and what shock and horror, the bar only went in 2-3 mm around edge and rest was black potch no colour at all.

This was not good moment, we did not feal good

So I rubbed the second largest black Nobby, it look promising, and I rolled the edges and slowly took the top off rubbing down

Oh no not again same, opal colour bar was only on edge, not even worth $300.00

We were so disappointed, how could we get it so wrong. So we had a runner to take the gem black opal Nobby around and best offer he had was $14,000 for the one Nobby, offer was for that day only.

Most opal miners and dealers used runners a lot in those days, these guys would run your opal around and show other dealers and try sell to them on a commission basis only ,some runners made really good money in those days.

So we discussed do we take offer and loose about $7,000 each or cut last rough opal which looked so good and was thicker colour bar than other 2 pieces that we had rubbed.

So we made decision ,even if colour bar only goes in say 4-6 mm we would get more than $14,000,so at 8 pm 1 started to rub this Nobby

At 8.30 I had rest, I had rubbed top down to colour bar, and had cleaned the edges so opal at this stage was around 4 inches diameter, but middle of the opal had lot of potch showing on top and looked like 2/3 rds would be lost to sandy potch.

It was not looking promising.

Next morning we gave to another runner to show to other opal dealers.

He came back later that afternoon with best offer for $10,000 only from same dealer who offered $14,000 the day before as rough

That was it, we had made our decision to go the full way and finish off the opal Nobby, Paul rubbed the top off in 5 minutes to expose beautiful gem colour on black opal, not harlequin pattern but similar mackerel pattern,

We ended up with 6 opals,5 opals under 3carats each and one large opal 12 carats.

The 5 smaller ones w e sold in that week, the larger one took 6 months as it was freeform so we re cut to oval shape 9 carats and sold

We ended up making $8,000 each ,but aged about 5 years so that was last time I gambled on just few pieces.

Later we found out that this mine produced empty centres and many people lost money with this miner, we were just lucky!

If I look at the hundreds deals of buying opal rough, many many times I broke even or took too long to get my money back.

Today even on our auction site about 1/3rd opal rough you loose on about 1/3 rd you break even and about 1/3 rd you make good money.

That is true for virgin rough opal, if rubbed down you pay more but more chance to make money.

Its also important to know what level the opal miner is working, so it was good with our connections to visit the opal miners mine and go down and chip away and see the operation, but more important to see how deep they were working.

I remember one miner who we would buy from weekly over many years ,we noticed that the rough was different and looked like it had come from another mine, he said he was still at the 30ft level on his second tunnel ,but I remembered it a shard potch.

He had new partner and his new opal mining partner lived in Sydney and didn’t want people to go down his mine.

So I drove out to his mine one day and saw the potch that was coming out, it was different to what we had seen 6 months earlier and I stopped buying from him as the opal didn’t look good, it chipped too much when I rubbed it.

About 6 months later I found out from his neighbour who helped dig that they went down to over 80 ft deep .so our suspicions were correct.


One day a new opal miner bought in tray opal rough, it was semi black rough but so many Nobby’s with colour bars, that looked really promising.

The tray was 3 ft long by 18 inches wide and over foot deep, so there were lots of colour showing and good colour bars.

Opal miner had partnership and wanted $20,000 on parcel, no offers

I had just spent my budget and had no money left, but really like the parcel,

As there was another opal cutter on the coast I rang him and told him about this parcel if he wanted to go half.

I told him it was semi black opal rough lot grey material with heaps light crystal opals showing and just few chips black potch.

He said he would go half and pay me $10,000 the next day.

I gave opal miner cheque for $20,000

The next day he rang me and said something had come up and he couldn’t pay so he reneged on the deal.

This is the first and only time someone cancelled deal.

I was furious, so angry.. At this time I had just bought house and was to settle in 30 days time.

I cleared the cheque and went about rubbing the parcel down.

It was the best parcel I had ever had, it took months to cut ,I rubbed the parcel and wife Estela polished the opals, we polished on average 120 opals per day and made $100,000  clear profit.

That was over 10 years ago ,

This opal miner never found any more opal,

 I never told the opal cutter about the parcel he reneged on.

There must be lesson in this story as this one parcel helped establish my opal business.

I never had another parcel like it.

Opal buyers pay premium for virgin opal rough with colour bars as there is always chance snagging top gem,

Black opal rough sells better at Lightning Ridge than anywhere else, as opal cutters are more experienced at Opal cutting and have better knowledge on how opal will cut.

Good luck with your opal cutting and enjoy whatever you polish.