Buying anything online is different to walking into a shop, but buying opal jewellery is something that demands a little more special knowledge.
Natural or Synthetic?
First of all we want to know whether we want to buy real or synthetic opals. Notice I didn’t say fake opals. Naturally we all would prefer real opals to artificial opals but if the budget does not reach that far then we would prefer to have synthetic than nothing.
Synthetic opals are man made in a laboratory and will be called “created opals” by most websites. They can make stunning jewelry too.
By now you are probably aware that a triplet is the cheapest, a doublet comes next and a solid opal is the most expensive.
Bezel Set or Prong Set?
One of the most important things to consider is whether you want your opal to be set with prongs or with a bezel. We all know what prongs or claws are and a bezel setting is where the metal goes around the stone like a band.
Opals are relatively soft stones compared to diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. I suggest that if you are going to have the stone in a prong setting then think hard about where and when you are going to wear it.
For example, if you are going to wear a prong set opal ring to the office everyday then it is not going to last forever. Those prongs will inevitably get knocked and when they do they will push at the stone and it may chip or crack. A bezel setting will give it a little more protection
If it is a prong set pendant that is worn high then there may be nothing to worry about with prong setting. If, on the other hand, it is worn low on a long chain then you are going to possible lean it against objects and face possible damage whether it is bezel or prong set.
If the stone in a ring is a doublet then I would be even more considerate as to whether I would choose a prong setting over a bezel setting. A doublet is more easily damaged but that extra protection of a bezel setting will make a great deal of difference.
Inlaid opal jewelry is different again.
I love inlay opal jewelry. Normally its colors are bright and the stone is sitting low in the metal and gets good protection.
Remember that inlay opal has been glued in place. The glue is a very powerful epoxy resin in most cases. It should be treated with care. Do not do the washing up with any opal ring especially an inlay ring ad the glue may break down after repeated contact with detergents.
Resizing of Rings.
Opal rings are not the common, ordinary type of ring that you buy in the mall. They are special and as such not many jewelers around the world get a lot of experience with them. With that in mind I recommend that you buy your opal ring resized by your supplier to fit you. I do not recommend that you buy a ring online and then try to get it resized by your local jeweler. Most will not resize it for you. If in years to come you need it resized you will have time to shop around and find a jeweler who can and will resize it.
My recommendation is that if you are a rough, tough wearer of jewelry, or you like to wear your opal ring to your work as a plumber or carpenter, then simply do not waste your money as it will not last. Opal is a gemstone. Treat it with loving care and it will reward you with its beauty for generations.