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

Written by Stuart Bazga

Individuals rather than large mining companies do mining inrepparttar Australian opal fields. The reason for this is that opal is particularly elusive; it is not found in great amounts at a particular level or in a particular area, but is found at varying depths beneathrepparttar 145287 surface and is usually found at levels up to 25 metres deep.

Although in reality all that is needed to get started mining opal is a pick, most miners now consider a jackhammer and an electric hoist – a machine used to get opal-bearing dirt torepparttar 145288 surface –repparttar 145289 minimum equipment needed. Most shafts are now drilled using a drilling rig. After a shaft has been sunk andrepparttar 145290 opal level identified, horizontal drives are dug.

After bringingrepparttar 145291 dirt torepparttar 145292 surface, it is initially processed by washing away allrepparttar 145293 ordinary dirt and leaving behind potential opal stones. This is usually done in an “agitator,” a modified stationary cement mixer. Water is pumped through whilerepparttar 145294 dirt rotates inside. Sludge pours fromrepparttar 145295 mesh-covered openings inrepparttar 145296 side ofrepparttar 145297 agitator asrepparttar 145298 dirt is washed away. What remains are known as tailings.

This final process is eitherrepparttar 145299 most exciting or disappointing part ofrepparttar 145300 hard work of opal mining. It is at this point that it becomes apparent how much, if any, opal there is among allrepparttar 145301 dirt that has been mined.

Sinking a Shaft:

This is one ofrepparttar 145302 most effective ways of finding opal, but alsorepparttar 145303 most laborious. The length ofrepparttar 145304 shaft can be as short as three meters or as long as twenty.

A variety of tools are needed, including a hand windlass or motorised winch that is placed overrepparttar 145305 hole, liftingrepparttar 145306 dirt torepparttar 145307 surface. Some miners will use an expensive vacuum-cleaner apparatus called a “blower.”

Oncerepparttar 145308 bottom ofrepparttar 145309 shaft has been reached (whererepparttar 145310 opal-bearing dirt begins),repparttar 145311 miner begins gouging away very slowly. A horizontal tunnel is dug inrepparttar 145312 hope of finding a seam of precious opal or scattered “nobbies.”

Puddling and Rumbling:

This technique is used oncerepparttar 145313 opal dirt has been transported away fromrepparttar 145314 surface, usually by trucks. The dirt is first placed in a large mesh-lined drum. Water is pumped through it as it rotates, turningrepparttar 145315 dirt into sludge.

The sludge escapes throughrepparttar 145316 mesh inrepparttar 145317 sides, leaving only pieces of rocks, and hopefully opal.

Open-cut Mining:

Open-cut mining is created by running over a large area of ground with a bulldozer, slicing awayrepparttar 145318 dirt untilrepparttar 145319 opal level is reached. Although this method is very expensive,repparttar 145320 chances of finding opal are increased as a larger area can be mined at once.

Noodling: Noodling is when a person goes over what other miners have rejected as rubbish. All that is needed by a “noodler” is a sieve and a very keen eye.


Unprocessed opal straight fromrepparttar 145321 ground is known as “rough.” The miner may sell it at this stage, or he may choose to continuerepparttar 145322 processing himself. Althoughrepparttar 145323 potential value ofrepparttar 145324 opal can be estimated whilerepparttar 145325 material is unprocessed, its actual value cannot be established at this stage. The rough opal, although it may look as if it will cut well to produce valuable stones, may have faults within it. Conversely, an ordinary looking piece of rough may produce a magnificent gem. The choice of selling “inrepparttar 145326 rough” or continuing processing belongs torepparttar 145327 miner.

Singing - the tonic of life

Written by Michael Oliphant

Singing -repparttar tonic of life

Most people these days would associate singing withrepparttar 145286 popular music they see and hear onrepparttar 145287 radio and tv. This can make you feel like its beyond you , like it's some form of high skill that you need to be born with. A natural talent if you like. In fact singing is much more a part of our everyday lives than you might realize, and it can be a tonic for an improved state of mind and a recipe for stress reduction and better health.

The best example of this is : think aboutrepparttar 145288 songs that when you hear them onrepparttar 145289 radio make you remember something wonderful in your past. The song that reminds you of your first kiss or when you proposed to your partner, or perhaps just some good times with friends at school or work. You can be sitting all alone feeling sorry for yourself aboutrepparttar 145290 way life has treated you and a song comes onrepparttar 145291 radio that reminds you of a great time in your life.

I'm sure you have songs that do this to you. Songs that you sing along to inrepparttar 145292 car atrepparttar 145293 top of your voice, ignoringrepparttar 145294 strange looks from other drivers atrepparttar 145295 lights. It can be a form of instant atitude adjustment and will often completely eraserepparttar 145296 effects of a bad day. This effect is multiplied ten fold if you can sing along with a favorite song. Forrepparttar 145297 moments when you sing along you get to journey through a personal fantasy, a kind of mental movie of events that you recall related to that song. When you sing along to a CD inrepparttar 145298 car you get to momentarily exit this reality and visit another which is tailor made by you.

There is even a flip side to it. I still find it hard to listen to a particular Led Zeppelin song which I associate with breaking up with my first wife. However, when I do hear it I feel like singing along because it makes me remember how much better things are now than when I was with her. Funny how that works.

If you arerepparttar 145299 sort of person who has a lot of emotional ups and downs in your life then you could try this little trick for a kind of instant pick me up. Make a CD up of about 10 of your favorite songs and keep it with you at all times. Make sure these songs are related to great times in your life. When you are annoyed or upset, or just need a bit of a boost putrepparttar 145300 CD on and play one song at random. Do not play more than one song and resistrepparttar 145301 urge to playrepparttar 145302 same song each time. Playingrepparttar 145303 same song will reprogram you to associate it with your current situation and it will loose it's effect. Then sing your head off! Make sure you are alone and sing fromrepparttar 145304 heart. Don't sparerepparttar 145305 horses - just go for it. Make sure you take a good deep breath to start and concentrate onrepparttar 145306 sound of your own voice, notrepparttar 145307 voice ofrepparttar 145308 singer inrepparttar 145309 song. This will help you pitch correctly and make you feel like you are a real singer on a stage.

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