Opal Shape and Face
opals are cut as cabochons, beads and carvings. Fire
opals without a play-of-colour are sometimes faceted.
Many cabochons are classically shaped as ovals. However in
our more modern times pear and freeform shapes become increasingly popular
particularly when set in attractive, individually designed jewellery.
The term freeform is usually applied to all shapes that do not have an own,
clearly defined denotation like oval, round, rectangular, square, triangular,
pear, cushion etc. However personally we subdivide the freeform category into
freeform (uneven shapes) and fancy (symmetrical shapes but without a special
Most opals are single-sided stones i.e. with a polished face
and a roughly sanded back. In many cases the natural backside consists of
potch and does
not show a play-of-colour at all. It also occurs frequently that the back still shows some natural remains
like patches of sandstone or an uneven and pitted surface.
The appearance of the face is classified as flat, low, medium and high domed or
if unevenly shaped as undulating (wavy surface) and baroque (carved face).