The Opals you see on this website have all been hand carved by Justine Colville-Buckley, an extremely talented and International award winning professional opal carver. Justine has been carving opals for more that 21 years now, and is very particular about the final shape and polish on her opals. They are mostly what we call, free form undulated or carved opals. The process of 'carving' an opal is to seek out the natural shape of the colour displayed in the opal. This process is done by hand with a dental drill, diamond burs and a HUGE amount of patience. Justine must first find the natural shape of the opal and its colour bar.
The three photos here show how a rough piece of opal can be transformed into a stunning carving!
By grinding the unnecessary opal away, she then needs to look at the opal and find a nice balance between the opal that is displaying and an aesthetically pleasing shape. Justine has also been a jeweller previously, so creating the opal shape that will also be able to be set into jewellery is important. The polishing of each piece takes time, working with diamond paste and diamond paper, each piece must be worked over and over again, creating a smoother and smoother surface, until at last a beautiful polish is achieved. ‘To me, an opal carving is the best way to display this magnificent stone. Bringing out the colours and the natural shape of an opal is exciting and creates a most unique and naturally stunning piece. I feel that I work hand in hand with mother nature to bring out the best in an already stunning medium’ Justine Colville-Buckley