Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Polishing Gold Findings


#1

I have a large and lovely opal that is ready for setting.

I have a gold setting I purchased from Rio Grande and want to mount
the opal in this setting. I am a lapidary, not a jeweler hence this
question that might seem pretty elementary. As received, the setting
is not finished or polished. What is the process/equipment used to
put a gleaming polish on the setting prior to setting the stone in
it?

Thanks for any suggestions.


#2

Gail,

I am a lapidary, not a jeweler hence this question that might seem
pretty elementary. As received, the setting is not finished or
polished. What is the process/equipment used to put a gleaming
polish on the setting prior to setting the stone in it? 

My first advice is…don’t. If you have such a large and lovely opal
but no experience in setting such a stone, please get some expert
advice and hands on experience first. Its kind of like I tell those
students who come in and say…“I’ve never cut a stone but I want to
cut opals”. My advice to them is the same…don’t! Maybe after
cutting 20 or 30 other types and hardness of stones (cheaper at
that), then I will teach them how to cut opals. Like them, you stand
a very good chance of ruining your lovely stone. It matters not
whether you plan to set in prongs or bezel, an unpracticed hand can
chip an opal in a blink…or worse.

Having said that, I suggest you first search the Orchid archives for
’stone setting’ and then Google the same. You will have about a
month’s homework with that and you would have a much better
appreciation for how it is done.

Cheers from Don at the Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#3
I have a gold setting I purchased from Rio Grande and want to mount
the opal in this setting. I am a lapidary, not a jeweler hence this
question that might seem pretty elementary. As received, the
setting is not finished or polished. What is the process/equipment
used to put a gleaming polish on the setting prior to setting the
stone in it 

Actually, you’ve got it backwards. You have a gold mounting you
purchased, and want to set the opal in the mounting. But to get to
your question, there are many ways to polish the mounting, and most
involve equipment that most lapidaries don’t have.

If you have a flex shaft, I suggest you buy a set of the 3M radial
bristle discs with the suitable mandrels to mount them (at least 3 -
5 discs at a time). Start with the heaviest grit and work down to the
finest. The reason I suggest the radial bristles is because they are
very good at preventing you from grinding flat spots into the metal.
Just let the bristles touch the metal lightly, and you’ll be fine. If
the polish doesn’t quite make it to “gleaming,” use a small muslin
buff loaded with green rouge to put a mirror polish on it.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL