Unit of competency details

CUVOPA07B - Use opal carving tools (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to CUVOPA07A - Use opal carving toolsUpdated and equivalent 19/Apr/2008
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUVOPA401A - Use opal carving toolsThis unit replacess CUVOPA07B Use opal carving tools 11/Oct/2011

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Apr/2008


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100307 Jewellery Making 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100307 Jewellery Making 18/Apr/2008 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit encompasses the skills and knowledge required to carve opal including all the processes from the selection of the piece of opal to the completed polished carving.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit requires the application of knowledge and skills to produce individual pieces that comply with commercial standards and demonstrate the ability to capitalise on the potential of the stone. Carving requires access to carving equipment and consumables appropriate for use with opals. Carving skills may be used to capitalise on the potential of the piece of opal by using carving tools to correct faults or to produce individual carved pieces.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor


Prerequisite units 

This unit may be assessed on its own or it may be assessed with other units that cover related skills and knowledge.

Evidence is most relevant when provided through an integrated activity which combines the Elements of competency for the unit, or a cluster of units of competency.

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 Select the stone and clarify the required outcome .

1.1 Review available pieces of rough opal to determine the suitability or necessity for carving.

1.2 Assess the potential of pieces of opal for carving depending on the shape, size, the position of the colour and other characteristics of the stone.

1.3 Rub the stone and remove foreign materials and eliminating faults.

1.4 Discuss the possibilities with colleagues and client.

1.5 Determine the approach to be taken to achieve the potential of the stone and maximise the value of the finished product.

2 Select tools and equipment and materials .

2.1 Select carving tools  and equipment  needed to achieve the desired result.

2.2 Select consumable for sanding and polishing the carving.

2.3 Determine OHS issues  and comply with OHS procedures to be followed when using the equipment and consumables.

3 Carve opal .

3.1 Clean stone removing foreign materials and eliminating faults.

3.2 Grind to desired shape using high speed fine grit burr accommodating existing colour and patterns.

3.3 Ensure opal is not heated.

3.4 Sand carving with suitable sanding mediums  (from coarse to extra fine).

4 Polish the carving .

4.1 Polish entire carving with polishing compound .

4.2 Use magnification to check the finished carving for faults and if necessary rectify faults.

5 Ensure that industry standards are satisfied .

5.1 Check the carving to ensure that industry standards  are satisfied.

5.2 Correct any faults or defects if required.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills :

  • carving skills
  • sanding and polishing skills.

Required knowledge :

  • the suitability of opal pieces for carving
  • opal carving process - the equipment and consumables required
  • industry standards.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

To achieve competency in this unit, a person must be able to carve opal to industry standards.

The assessment must confirm the ability to select opal pieces suitable for carving, carve the opal using opal-carving equipment, and polish the carving in accordance with industry standards.

Competence in this unit must be assessed over a period of time in order to ensure consistency of performance over the range of variables and contexts applicable to the work environment

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

This unit may be assessed in a work environment or in a simulated work environment or in a combination of these situations.

Method of assessment 

For valid and reliable assessment of this unit, evidence should be gathered through a range of methods to indicate consistent performance.

Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning on underpinning knowledge and skills and other methods such as the evaluation of the finished piece (or pieces) as required.

Assessment methods should closely reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy) and the needs of particular groups (e.g. people with disabilities, and people who may have literacy or numeracy difficulties such as speakers of languages other than English, remote communities and those with interrupted schooling).

Assessment of this competency requires access to:

  • carving and polishing equipment
  • tools and consumables
  • a qualified workplace assessor or assessment team.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Carving tools  may include:

  • assorted mandrels
  • coarse, medium, fine and extra fine CRATEX wheels
  • diamond grinding burrs, assorted shapes
  • diamond polishing wheels, assorted shapes
  • diamond sanding wheels, assorted shapes
  • felt polishing buffs
  • sanding discs, assorted grit sizes and diameters
  • silicon-carbide grinding burrs, assorted shapes
  • supporting equipment, e.g.:
  • drip feed watering system
  • dust extraction system
  • wooden polishing buffs.

Carving equipment  may include:

  • air power tools
  • centre point carver
  • flexible drive
  • hobby carvers, e.g. Dremel
  • micro motor
  • personal protective equipment.

Occupational health and safety issues  for carving may include:

  • contamination
  • eye protection
  • guarding
  • keeping a clean work area
  • minimising dust inhalation
  • the need to maintain equipment
  • unattended running machinery.

Sanding mediums  may include:

  • CRATEX wheels, coarse, medium, fine, extra fine, assorted shapes
  • diamond powders up to #1200 on felt/wooden wheels
  • pumice powders on felt wheels
  • sandpaper wheels and discs up to #1200, assorted sizes
  • silicon-carbide powders up to #1200 on felt/wooden wheels.

Polishing compounds  may include:

  • cerium oxide on felt/leather/wooden wheels or discs
  • diamond compounds from #1200 to #100,000
  • tin oxide.

Industry standards  may include:

  • no sharp or protruding areas
  • when shaping, keep the setting into jewellery in mind
  • very high polish required
  • no grinding marks or sanding marks on surface
  • no cracks or obvious inclusions that should have been removed with initial grinding
  • if for jewellery, avoid making the carving too large
  • the more colour, the less detail is required.

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable

Competency field

Competency field 

Opal cutting and polishing