Hey guys, I need some advice. I bought an Ethiopian Opal from a guy
who I’ve bought many nice opals from before, and it is GORGEOUS "
one of the most beautiful opals I’ve seen " but once I got it in the
mail, I noticed it has a crack in the back. It’s not a big, honking
fissure " and you can’t tell anything from the front - but it’s a
definite crack that you can see at the surface under a 10x loupe. It
goes across a little over half the back and internally up the side.
I was planning at the time I bought it to use in a piece of jewelry
for me (because it’s so darn purty and I want something purty for ME
this time), so I wouldn’t be using it in anything to sell. But I’m
concerned about the long-term stability of this opal if I put it in
a piece of jewelry. I’ve never had any concerns about the stability
of the many non-cracked opals I’ve bought from this guy before.
Contrary to what others have said about Ethiopian opals, I’ve found
them to be stronger than the Australian ones I’ve worked with. I’ve
leaned many a cruel lesson by cracking my Aussies, but I have pretty
much abused the crap out of these Ethiopians and they’ve taken it. I
hammer set all of them, and I haven’t been delicate. And I’ve
accidentally dropped almost all of them on the floor multiple times.
Nothing. Hell, I even dropped one on my cement barn floor! (Yeah,
stupid.) After freaking out, I looked at it for nearly half an hour
under a loupe to find not even a scuff. These guys are tough. But
I’m still very concerned about this one.
When I questioned the guy, he said he thought the crack was clearly
visible the his pictures and videos of the opal (it just looked like
sharp color-plane changes in the pics/vids to me, like many opals
have), but that he should have clearly stated in the description
that it had a crack. He said the opal was cut a little over a year
ago and the crack hasn’t progressed any since, so he thinks it would
be stable in jewelry, but that he’d give me a full refund or a
replacement if it ended up cracking more. I told him my problem with
that would be that I make really complicated settings with other
stones, and that it would pretty much trash all the gold and the
work I did if I had to tear it apart to replace the opal. I want to
make this piece with the opal surrounded by a gold dragon, along
with a tsavorite and a mandarin garnet. It wouldn’t be easy to tear
that all up to replace the stone. He understood and said he’d look
for a replacement stone. He really has always been very much on the
up-and-up when I’ve dealt with him before. Sounds like everything’s
solved, so what’s the problem now? Well, I truly LOVE this darn
beautiful opal! It really is beautiful. Pictures don’t do it
justice. I want to have an opal that looks like this around my neck
in one of my over-the-top pieces! But I’m very concerned about that
crack. Any of you have experience with cracks like this in Ethiopian
opals? Can they have a year-old crack stay stable? I would greatly
appreciate any and all advice " pro or con for setting this opal "
from any of my fellow Orchidians.
Thank you guys for any help! El