Opal Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by TwoDogs, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

    I bought this jar of raw Idaho opal ore from an elderly gentleman out at the swapmeet in Prescott Valley, AZ. The ore is in water to keep it moist. It also makes the "fire" more noticeable.

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    Only the veins of "precious opal" that run through the ore have any "fire." Some of these veins are very thin. I had never really worked with stones before this endeavor. I managed to pick the one most unforgiving stones to work for my first project and I will try and pass on some of the things I learned here. Here are some of the pieces that I first pulled from the jar and worked down to their precious opal veins. Most of these pieces wound up as pendants.

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  2. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

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    Here are a couple of the larger pieces that are attractive with some of the parent material. I think that these are referred to as "boulder opals."

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  3. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

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    The opal above was one of my learning pieces and no longer exists in that form. The owner of the rock shop where I buy my supplies had told me that this was a $400 piece of opal. If you look closely you can see all the fractures in the stone. There are minute fractures through out the precious opal and light refraction from them is what gives opal it's fire. I bought some fracture sealer from the shop and when I cleaned that $400 piece in preparation for sealing it just fell apart in my hand.

    The piece below is another boulder opal


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    Here are some of the pieces that were in the first pics as they make their way toward becoming jewelry.

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    As you can see, this piece is going into a prefabbed 14K setting that has small round opals already set around the perimeter. If I remember correctly, there was an amethyst in the center of this piece originally. Here's the finished piece.

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  4. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

    Here is another 14k setting I used. It's a two-toned cherub pendant which happens to have a nice and convenient oval recess in the back.

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    I worked the opal with a dremel and then a diamond file until it was a press fit for the oval recess. I then set the stone and polished it with 400 grit and then 1200 grit emery cloth.

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    I polished the back of the gold setting and dimpled it with a tiny drillbit. Presto! a reversible pendant. Here is a composite pic of the before and after.

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  5. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

    Here are some more of the pieces that I completed using prefabbed 14k settings that I removed the original stones from and replaced with opals.

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  6. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

    The final project that I've completed is the removal and replacement of a stone set in a nice old sterling silver ring. I don't know WHY someone would set this antique ring with a piece of faux turquoise, but they did.

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    What one needs to work with raw opal ore are:

    a. A good Dremel Kit
    b. A set of various shaped diamond files.
    c. Fracture sealer.
    d. Coarse to ultra fine emery cloth.
    e. A jeweler's rouge cloth
    f. Most important...a LOT of patience.

    If you have any questions...feel free to ask them here or by PM.
     
  7. melonhead

    melonhead Member

    wow! gorgeous stones, and great jewelry!

    do you sell it?
     
  8. HempMama

    HempMama Member

    The jewelry is beautiful! I love the antique ring (the one with faux turquoise replaced with opal). Very beautiful!
     
  9. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

    Thank you.

    Thank you. All the pendants that you saw here went to my sisters, my mother and my sweetie. I still have the ring and it is for sale. I just made and sold this pendant. It was my first sale.

    The stone:

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    The pendant:

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  10. melonhead

    melonhead Member

    sending PM
     
  11. Aristartle

    Aristartle Snow Falling on Cedars Lifetime Supporter

    Wow. I love those stones. That is fantastic!
     
  12. oh...these are sooo WOW.gorgeous.beautiful , cute , powerfull and soo... something like a fairytale. i loove them
     
  13. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent. Lifetime Supporter

    They are beautiful. Opal is easily my favorite stone.
    I find them magical as I work the raw ore. You never know what colors will appear as you uncover the precious opal vein. Some have simply green fire. Some green and red. Others have green, red and blue fire and occasionally you'll find veins with just about every color in the rainbow. The long stone in the ring is the only piece that I've worked so far that has lavender fire.

    I find it so relaxing working the ore. It's almost like meditation.
     
  14. so good man
     
  15. babyhellfire

    babyhellfire Banned

    beautiful!
     
  16. MaryJeanne

    MaryJeanne Member

    bumping this thread up cuz opal is so sick, just bought a piece from the rock shop the other day. gonna twist up a wrap very soon with it.
     
  17. FritzDaKatx2

    FritzDaKatx2 Vinegar Taster

    Looking forward to getting my hands on some as theres supposed to be a sizeable opal field somewhere near the Hostel here, just need to take the time to go hunting.
    Curious to see how the stone cut's, if it's more like a calcium based stone or something harder like a quartzite? Should go well with the Jasper findings. All I need to do is find some silver ore and I'll be in business with my lil' charcoal foundry, well once I gab a dremel and some diamond bits. (Really sucks when ya' loose 15 years of accumulated equipment to a shitty economy... Oh well shit happens eh'? )
     
  18. phoenixsun

    phoenixsun Member

    mmmmm opals are lovely - and certainly abundant here in australia (it's probably somewhat 'unaustralian' that i don't own one yet!)

    black opals however, take it to the next level
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    so beautiful!
     
  19. Tinkertiger

    Tinkertiger Member

    just love opals, beautiful stones, always think of them as mother earths rainbow.
    must be magical to take a raw stone and gradually see the fire and colours radiate out.
     
  20. Lovely.

    I have several opals from my mother but never wear them out of superstition. They say it's bad luck for anyone not born in October to wear them.
     

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