What is the difference between a boulder opal gemstone and a boulder opal specimen?

As opal miners and cutters, we are constantly deciding whether our rough boulder opals should be cut into an opal gemstone or left as an opal specimen.

To produce a boulder opal gemstone we cut, shape and polish our rough boulder opal by hand, so that it is ready to be set into jewellery and worn with love.

To produce a boulder opal specimen we keep the ‘face’ of the opal in larger pieces in its host rock. In this way it is ready for mineral collectors and crystal lovers to display. There are typically two variations, one where both the opal and host rock are polished and the other where only the opal is polished. They range greatly in size from palm size to much larger pieces. Again, we cut and polish our opal specimen pieces by hand.