Closed back settings suggest that something is being hidden such as
a colored backing, a foil backing or a bottom half of a doublet
that is a different material than the top portion. In other words,
a closed back setting suggests the stone may be a fake, even if it
isn't, while increasing the metal cost of the piece.
“A closed back setting suggests the stone may be a fake” To whom
might this suggest that a stone might be a fake"?
Being a G. I.A. trained Gemologist in 1973 and a goldsmith for about
30 years and having a retail store for most of that time, if the
proper disclosure is always made according to FTC guidelines, there
never has to be an issue about what may be implied by a closed back.
If I buy a closed back piece of jewelry with an opal in it, I assume
it is a doublet and tell the customer. If it an inexpensive piece,
the customer does not usually care. Crystal based opal with a closed
back will usually have a reflection if yellow gold is chosen, color
which can actually alter the base color of the opal, and I would
consider that as something that unintentionally distorts the true
nature of the opal the way it looked before setting it.
If I make something, it is up to me to educate a public that does
not usually have a clue about solid or doublet opals or how their
choice of color of metal changes the attractiveness the gem in an
unattractive way. If I do my job right, my customer can go to any
knowledgeable person,(I would use the word jeweler but my definition
of a jeweler is someone that can read a price tag) that understands
the relationship of how the metal the gem is set in affects the
appearance of the gem.
The true test for me over the years, show the customer what the gem
looks like in the metal they prefer, and alternative colors to see
what creates the optimum visual beauty of the gem. With opals,
sometimes the choice is their preference of color of metal, and for
maximum beauty, a black backround has always been the choice of my
customer. Someone mentioned that sometimes an open back presents a
problem when the piece is worn on the skin, or on a color that alters
the gem as to make it unattractive.
As far as the difference in price of an open back or closed back,
that is so negligible in relation to what accomplishes the goal of
beauty and durability of the mounting, that this is insignificant to
me. Sometimes the labor of sawing and clean up negates part of the
increase in price of a solid back if you are working in gold or
platinum. If it took 15 minutes to saw and clean up, and I charge $60
an hour, that $15, and in sterling there certainly is no saving.
Richard Hart G. G.