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Topic: Loose Opal?  (Read 430 times)
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« on: January 12, 2006 11:08:01 AM »

A friend of mine from Australia gave me a gorgeous loose opal several years ago. I have been hanging on to it, waiting for just the right idea. Ideally I'd love to have it made into a pendant for a necklace, but I don't do any sort of metal work so I what I think I really need is a good jewelry artist to work with on planning and making the piece. I'd like something delicate and silver, maybe with additional stones, and organic in shape/style. I've seen so much great work on craftster, so I'm looking for either ideas for how to best use my opal, recommendations of artists, or any bits advice you may have. I'm quite open, but I want to end up with something I really, really like. The opal is a weird shape, kind of like a longish squared-off pinkie nail. Wider at one end and tapered on the other, about 3/4" long.
I'd love to hear your ideas! I'll try to post a pic of it when I'm home.

modified to add...I'm in the Twin Cities/Minnesota if anyone has any local recommendations
« Last Edit: January 12, 2006 11:50:10 AM by batgirl » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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Ayn
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2006 02:09:33 PM »

Hi there -- just bunping this up a bit in case anyone has any thoughts, or perhaps we actually have a silversmith or wireworker here who'd take your commission.


Otherwise ...
Wherever I've lived, whenever I needed an experienced, artistic goldsmith or silversmith, I've always had great luck just looking in phone book & calling locally-owned jewelry stores (not the 'chain' types).
After just a little while, I always ended up with several choices where either the jeweller/owner actually was a goldsmith or  silversmith, or s/he had one-or-the-other as a colleague or employee -- &-or I had several recommendations on the order of: "oh do call so&so, here's the number, does absolutely exquisite custom work."

[[ btw, do ask "specifically for" a *silversmith* if silver is what you know you want. A "goldsmith" will only very very rarely, if ever, also work in silver. I've had an awful lot of goldsmiths tell me silver is actually more difficult to work with.]]
 

Also, do be aware that opals can be quite fragile (unless done as a doublet or a triplet, I guess) & can be tricky to work with.
I'd suggest you have the person you decide to work with examine yours very carefully for magnification-visible or internal cracks [in fact I'm not sure I'd totally trust someone who didn't suggest that himself or herself first --
[EDITED TO ADD : unless it's a doublet or triplet, as I mentioned above; I think most any experienced goldsmith or silversmith would feel much more secure about working with those].

but, just for example:
I had an old opal ring (stone was definitely not doublet or triplet) inherited from a great-auntie who was said to have worn it just about every day of her adult life. The design was not only a little old-fashioned for my taste (also wayy too small a fingersize, lol) but also, the gold was rather worn/banged-up.
When I took it to my kindly,long-experienced,and most-excellent jeweller to have it reset, he did check it first -- and found such an awesome crack (not at all visible to the eye) that he said the stone might practically disintegrate if taken out of its wraparound type setting -- which was probably all that had been holding it together for years. (wizard that he is, tho, he suggested doing something else wonderful with it, lol)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2006 02:16:08 PM by Ayn » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2006 03:56:14 PM »

Thanks for all the helpful advice! I'd heeard they were very fraggile, which is what's kept me from taking a class to learn to do it myself!  Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2006 04:06:01 PM »

how fun, opals are so pretty.

Be very careful with it once you do get it set into something. I'm sure the rest of the world knows this, but for some reason I didn't...and I wish someone would have told me.

Don't get it wet!!! It will crack. I have a gorgeous teardrop opal ring with diamonds set around it that was my grandma's, passed down through the family. I wore it all the time, which means, yes...showers and handwashings. And..it cracked. I cried for sure. Don't let it happen to you! It's very disappointing.
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