I'm considering possibilities for a new project, the better to learn
some new skills.
I have some pre-finished Spencer opal that I'm thinking of wanting to
incorporate, but I also know that opal must be protected by glass. a
I'm considering enameling a thin glass layer onto a recessed piece of
copper plate, then etching away the other side in ferric chloride (I
knew my ham radio experience would come in handy!), so that I could
make a clear window frame.
But how do I verify that the opal and the window are going to mate
perfectly, even after polishing?
Is there any technique anyone knows of other than using an optical
Andrew Jonathan Fine.
I'm considering possibilities for a new project, the better to
learn some new skills. I have some pre-finished Spencer opal that
I'm thinking of wanting to incorporate, but I also know that opal
must be protected by glass.
Opals do not "need" to be protected by glass. You're likely thinking
of opal triplets, which comprise a thin slice of opal backed by dark
stone and capped with a clear top. This description is from
Wikipedia's nice article on opals.
"The triplet-cut opal backs the colored material with a dark
backing, and then has a domed cap of clear quartz or plastic on top,
which takes a high polish and acts as a protective layer for the
opal. The top layer also acts as a magnifier, to emphasize the play
of color of the opal beneath, which is often of lower quality.
Triplet opals therefore have a more artificial appearance, and are
not classed as precious opal."
Why not learn to make regular doublets and triplets before venturing
forth? I use Basanite for the backing, Optical Quartz for the cap and
sandwich the thinly sliced Opal in between. I have 2 wooden paint
stirrers with pressure sensitive strips of 200 and 400 grit silicon
carbide attached. I flattenthe Basanite, Opal and cap with these. I
use Grindable 2 part epoxy to hold it all together. Good luck........
Why bother to make triplets?
I am in Australia the land of opals. Triplets are considered the
crap of the crap.
Delaminate with water. And never last. A quality stone is a joy for
A piece of crap is always a piece of crap. Worthless.
There are so many quality stones at very good prices, there is no
need to make "tourist jewellery". If the customer cannot afford the
real thing then perhaps they should re-think their priorities or
choice of stone.
1) From what other people tell me, what I am intending to make is not
a triplet. I'm not using any glue. I'm intending a window mount
2) As you may well know, opals don't only come from the land down
under. I live within a day's drive of Spencer, Idaho. one of the
premier sources of opal in the United States.
Spencer doublets might be crap by international standards, but they
are all I have to practice with. And I might as well practice with
crap first so that I don't damage the "good stuff". I'm only
intending to make an anniversary present for my wife.
3) I'm not yet at the point where I have made anything salable. I'm
an amateur, trying a series of slightly more difficult projects and
learning more each time.
Andrew Jonathan Fine
Go for it Andrew! Don't worry about other peoples' opinions. Use
what you have. You only get better with practice. Sheri
One of my best friends was Mark Stettler. He started the Spencer opal
mine. He had some beautiful opals. Sadly he passed away in 2011.
if you think what you make is not salable you need to look at more
There is nothing unsalable about your jewellery!
Doublets are not the same as triplets. There is a lot more opal in a
Only making a present for the wife, good on you.
I bet her friends start wanting you to make jewellery for them.
Have confidence, and make your salable pieces within your skill
Charge a good price and you will have a good little hobby, for tax