Dear JS, I have to agree with Don about deciding which gemstones
should or shouldn’t be used in settings that might be detrimental to
the stone, such as rings, bracelets, etc.; you really do need to
study their characteristics because there are other considerations
besides hardness and toughness that matter here, especially cleavage
planes. As an example, diamonds are recognized to be the hardest
natural gemstone, everybody knows that. We use it every day to cut
our rocks and gems, along with other, softer abrasives. It will
slice through jade like nobody’s business. Yet, anybody can use
diamond abrasives to fashion a hammer from a block of jade, then
turn around and smash a diamond to bits with that same jade hammer.
The lesson here is that, while hardness is a weighty factor in
choosing a setting for a stone, things like toughness, crystal
structure, crystal habit and formation are also factors.
Don also mentions educating the customer. This is an absolute MUST.
Another example: the general public thinks that diamonds are
completely indestructible, when in reality, they can be damaged very
easily. In GIA’s Diamond Grading Class, I saw dozens of diamonds
with rounded facet junctions, pits, scratches, cavities, nicks, etc.
Definitely ask if "Is this a ring to flaunt or lay back with?"
Jewelry consumers assume that, if it’s a ring, it was made to be
worn ALL the time, even that opal ring, when they’re doing the floor
with Mr. Clean (ammonia isn’t recommended for opals). Also, many
gemstones cannot be cleaned with solvents such as commercial jewelry
cleaners, ultrasonics or steam.
The upshot of what I’m trying to say is, you may mount practically
anything in a ring, including opals, turquoise, lapis, etc., and
it’s anybody’s choice. But, as Ron said, “So what if the cab gets
scratched down the road”. As long as the customer knows the
limitations of their jewelry regarding DURABILITY is concerned, and
as long as you can provide the service they’re likely to eventually
need (repolishing, replacement, etc.) then, feel free.
Cheers from James Who Has No Studio in SOFL where found jewelry IS a