"Nature's Fireworks" - A Beginner's Guide to OPAL - Part 4 Mining , Cutting and Caring for your opal

Written by Stuart Bazga

Continued from page 1


Cutting and polishing isrepparttar process by whichrepparttar 145287 opal is completed before setting into jewellery. A “rub” is stuck ontorepparttar 145288 end of a “sop-stick” – a short piece of thin dowel used as a handle - with jewellers wax. Using a fine grit cutting wheel, and holdingrepparttar 145289 stone withrepparttar 145290 dop-stick,repparttar 145291 stone is shaped and flaws and scratches are removed fromrepparttar 145292 stone.


The stone is then polished, usually on a leather wheel using jewellers polishing powder. Careful attention is paid to achieverepparttar 145293 best possible results, taking into accountrepparttar 145294 appearance ofrepparttar 145295 stone and retaining as much of its size and weight as is compatible with all other factors. With each touch ofrepparttar 145296 cutting wheel,repparttar 145297 cutter will reassessrepparttar 145298 stone, checkingrepparttar 145299 appearance and colour as well asrepparttar 145300 presence of any faults, making sure thatrepparttar 145301 maximum potential ofrepparttar 145302 stone is achieved.

Oval-shaped stones are stillrepparttar 145303 most popular, but some times, to achieve this shape, a lot of good opal may have to be cut away. In order not to grind away fantastic colour that nature has taken millions of years to produce, an opal may be left inrepparttar 145304 shape in which it was found. These stones are called “free-forms,” and are becoming more popular as people realise how individual, personal and attractive these unique stones look once set in jewellery.


Opal is a very delicate gemstone and it is important you properly care for it. Although solid opal does not require any special conditions, it is advisable to avoid impacts and knocks. Keep it away from direct heat and sunlight, and avoid accidental splashes with any chemicals.

Opals are softer and more fragile than most other crystalline gemstones. Be careful not to scratch or hit opals, especially those mounted in rings, and avoid wearing rings while washing up or doing gardening and housework.

Never clean your opal with jewellery cleaner of other harsh chemicals. Simply use water with a little vinegar in it and brushrepparttar 145305 jewellery gently with a soft toothbrush, then rinse in clean water. Contrary to some belief, water will not harm solid opal. In fact, it is sometimes recommended that solid opal should be immersed in water overnight occasionally to maintain its water content, a recommendation that may or may not be true. However, doublets and triplets should never be immersed in water, as moisture may get in betweenrepparttar 145306 layers, spoiling its appearance or causingrepparttar 145307 glue holdingrepparttar 145308 layers together to dissolve.

Opals are composed of between 3% - 20% water and as such, should not be allowed to dry out or freeze.

When storing opal, avoid using plastic bags and dry storage conditions. Soft cloth bags with padding are ideal. If storing solid opal, take it out occasionally and wipe with a damp cloth or dip in fresh water.

That concludes part 4. In part 5 we learn aboutrepparttar 145309 types and characteristics of some ofrepparttar 145310 major types of opal available today.

So unitl then,

Best wishes and have a great day

Stuart Bazga www.kulpunyaopals.com

Kulpunya Opals was established several years ago to provide the UK and Europe with a specialist supply of opals at great prices. We import directly from key suppliers in Australia with whom we have developed strong and long-term relationships. This ensures the products are always of the highest quality, and each represent excellent value.

Singing - the tonic of life

Written by Michael Oliphant

Continued from page 1

Many people simply ignore music in their environment. They regard it as background noise like traffic orrepparttar murmur of people talking in a cafe. The truth is music is a custom built emotional trigger. We all react to it in different ways. How many times have you found a piece of music totally distracting when you are trying to concentrate on something? This is because music is created specifically to evoke a response, it is looking to push your buttons, to make you participate. The next time you see some motor racing onrepparttar 145286 tv check outrepparttar 145287 sort of music they put behind it. It won't be Beethoven or Mozart, it will be high speed aggressive guitar music. How does it make you feel? This music is chosen to evoke an adrenelin response, to get you excited and feel like you are part ofrepparttar 145288 action. Conversely, you are unlikely to hear thrashing guitars used behind a documentary about gorillas in Kenya, you will hear thoughtful music that is designed to create empathy and wonderment.

All this means that you should take more notice ofrepparttar 145289 music around you and try to participate whenever you can. Above all, try to listen to music that allows you to sing and express your emotions, let it all hang out and don't give a damn about what other people think. The next step is to get better control of your singing voice. Try getting some karaoke tracks and sing to those regularly. From there you might consider some actual singing lessons. The benefits are huge in terms of improving your sense of wellbeing and confidence. Finally, pay a visit to The Explore Your Voice Show Podcast It's a half hour downloadable mp3 audio show onrepparttar 145290 net where we talk about all aspects of singing, performing, and getting your voice into shape. Justrepparttar 145291 tonic you might need.

Michael Oliphant , musician, producer and songwriter, is one of the inventors of Explore Your Voice Singing Lessons. He also co-hosts a weekly free show called the Explore Your Voice Show Podcast. http://www.exploreyourvoice.com http://www.exploreyourvoice.com/eyvshow/singing_lessons/eyvshow1.html

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