Starry Night

June 11, 2011

If Van Gogh was told to paint and create a gem stone, he would have created the opal. I should just end my blog on that note if you can make the connection right there. But for those who can’t, I’m here to give you the ‘macro’ look at the opal.  Who wants to hear the boring stuff about the opal anyway? Just Google the boring stuff I left out and we can call it even. But I’m sure I’m not going to leave out anything because I’m known to ramble on when it comes to my blogs.

Did you know 97% of Opals are found in Australia??? Haha, I know, too lame on so many levels. Anyway, the structural make inside an opal allows it to diffract light. It can take on many colors which it all comes down to the condition of the way the opal was formed. Opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the reds against black are the most rare (it beats out some diamond prices per carat, no joke), whereas white and greens are the most common (the McDonald of opals is the best way to describe it). It varies in optical density from opaque to semi-transparent. For gemstone use, its natural color is often enhanced by placing thin layers of opal on a darker underlying stone or wood. This is where you get an opal doublet. A triplet is 3 parts which consists of a thin layer of opal with a dark-colored backing and capped by plastic of crystal dome to protect the opal and magnify it. Another fun fact about opals is that it’s made up 30% water so it needs some sort of moisture here and there or it will crack. Heat cracks the gemstone as well.

Just like our friend, the ‘evil eye‘, it has been said back in the middle ages when people were slaying dragons and pillaging villages, owning an opal was considered good luck. Why? As always, I’m glad you asked. It’s believed to have possessed all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented on the color spectrum of the opal. Here’s a crazy ‘fun fact’! If you wrap your opal with some bay leaf and held it in your hand, you’d be invisible. What they forgot to mention (after some of you tried this out) is that you needed to add a little seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil with some shallots. Bad joke. For all you people born in the month of October, hit me up and let me hook you up with a nice piece of opal jewelry.

If Van Gogh were to paint a gemstone, he would have created the Opal. Can you see the connection in the photo?

Here’s an opal doublet for some of you still confused. It’s made up 2 layers.

Here’s the triplet. 3 layers and is considered not to be gem quality

So I get this ‘Kabana‘ style yellow gold ring that has taking a beating like no other. Opal is missing, cracked, loose and gold bars that separates the opal is missing. The ring is a mess as you can see in the image below.

You can’t really tell by this picture but the opal is broken.

I ended up cleaning up the whole channel and I added gold dividers in order for me to inlay the blue-green opal into the ring.

Best way to get the most out of opal in terms of color is placing it over a black background to enhances the color (that sounded like something a chef would say). I search through my rough, find the match and take the opal to my saw and start to slice away. I get the opal to my machine and start sizing it down to get it to sit inside the slots I’ve created. Once the opals fit, I get my epoxy and mix it with some black material (it’s a secret) and glue them down and let it sit for overnight. This is what you get as a final product!

I lapped the opal and the gold down flush and finished it off with a high polish and this is the finished product!

I wanted to show off this ‘Starry night’ Black Opal I have so you can all appreciate the beauty of this thing. It’s an oval-shaped 14.8×11.3mm cabochon at 4.24cts. By the way, this was all taken by my phone’s camera, the HTC Evo.

It’s the same black opal, I just flipped it around and look how it diffracts light like no one’s business.

I used the flash off my phone for this one.

I put it next to other opals so you can see the difference of the color properties it carries.

Well that should do it! If you guys have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to hit me up. Hopefully by next week, I’ll have another blog up regarding this crazy onyx job I got. The picture is below this but until then, cheers!

Next week, I’ll talk about this monster of a job.


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