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Ring with Opal Inlay Questions

Hello Folks,

I have a titanium ring blank with an inlay. I’d like to use some meteorite shavings, crushed diamonds, and Australian opal to make a cool space-themed ring similar to the Patrick Adair Design Star Dust ring.

I’m a novice, never made any jewelry before and I have some questions about the opals and epoxy or glue to use. I have several raw Australian opals and opal rubs between 1 - 10 cts. My plan was to remove the impurities / potch with a dremel. Then, polish each opal. Then, crush it. If I’m able, polish the new rough edge. Then, crush it again until I get it into 1-2mm pieces and use it in the inlay. I’d put the meteorite shavings and diamond dust as a backdrop, so the opals aren’t buried but add a splash of blue/green color, overfill the inlay with these ingredients and use either CA glue or epoxy 330 to keep the materials in place. Then, use the dremel to grind down the inlay and polish the ring.

  1. Would you recommend using E330, CA glue, or something else for this project? I don’t want it to yellow later on and want everything to hold well.
    I read on this forum that black or dark gray JB Weld was recommended so should I put a dab of that down and place the opal pieces on that, let it cure and use E330 or a thin CA glue on the surface?

  2. Does my plan for the opals sound alright or would you recommend a different approach? I want to make sure the colors really pop nicely. I was concerned if I didn’t polish the opal ahead of time, then pieces that remained below the surface of the finished ring wouldn’t shine as bright since they’d remain a more raw look.

Any help would be great. If you have a different approach you’d recommend, please let me know. Thanks. Kim

This isn’t going to work too well, especially with the crushed diamonds. There’s nothing you can run in your Dremel tool that will grind them down; all you’ll do is remove the matrix surrounding them while wearing down your tools. While diamonds can be cut with other diamonds, it takes specialized tooling and methods to do it.

If you stick to crushed opals, this will work much better. You don’t need to bother polishing them if you’re going to crush them up anyway. JB Weld is a filled epoxy product that will probably hold okay and won’t yellow appreciably, but it won’t take a polish either. The CA glue sets up harder and can hold a polish to some extent. And the opal chips shouldn’t be too difficult to polish, if you keep it wet.

In my experience iron/nickel meteorites are pretty obdurate, and don’t lend themselves to making shavings. Dust or filings would be a more likely product, and will take some effort to produce. I doubt the visual effect would be worth it, but maybe you’ll discover a shaving-making process that works with them. To me, though, it sounds like a waste of rare material. .

There is certainly no reason I can think of to polish opal, before crushing it.
After setting the crushed opal, in whatever epoxy type you use, you can polish the exposed surface.
If for no other reason than that rough edges bond better with epoxy than very finely polished ones, I would only polish the final surfaces.
The rest of you media choices I have no experience with so can offer no advice.

As others have said, don’t polish the opals if they are going to be embedded in some kind of resin. Polish them along with the resin product after it is cured. Do some research on resins. Some cure harder than others and polish easier. Look at Resin Obsession and Alumilite for various types of resin and how to polish them. There will be other sites to look at too, just look for them…Rob

I appreciate everyone’s replies. Sounds like do some more research on resins / epoxies and don’t bother polishing opal before it’s inlayed… and I’d probably be better off using crushed / synthetic opal instead of the real deal.

I should note that I mistyped above; it’s a synthetic diamond dust, not crushed diamond. It probably still won’t be easy on the tools, but would probably be better than crushed diamond.

Hi Kim , I do quite a few opal inlay rings with Australian opal , I have used various methods but best I have found so far is to glue the opal into the channel with starbond black mixed with tin oxide . Making sure the opal is below the outer edge and then us a UV resin over the top , yes remove the sand etc but you dont need to polish them as the resin coat will make them look polished . Here are some of Mine