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[Source] Bell caps for opals

Hi, I have hand-polished some free-form Australian opals that have
come up very nice and I would like to attach a solid gold bell cap
to top end of opal. However I have been unable to source solid gold
and sterling silver adjustable bell caps. I don’t want to use
gold-plated or silver plated as these opals are beautiful and
deserve to be treated with value and respect. If anyone can tell me
where I can purchase these type of bell caps I would really
appreciate it.

I hope you realize that the glue you use to attach the bellcap is a
"chemical bond" and that most glue over time absorbs water and at
some point it is not glue anymore, and down will fall opal. to be
lost or broken.

Richard Hart

While the ease of a glued bell cap might be enticing, might I
suggest something a little more supportive. Either drilling small
holes into the tops of the stones and using posts with or even
without the caps or some kind of frame. Even wire wrapping.

My wife has an obsidian that I cut in virtually the same manner in
1967. It is still in the very same bell cap with the very same glue.
It hasn’t been worn since 1970 when my mom passed away. I try to stay
far away from that today. Opals are far more valuable, even if you
feel like you saved a lot of money doing your own work. Don’t give
that work away by taking the “easier, softer way” at this point.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Benchjeweler

Carrie, Cut out a 5 or 6 petaled daisy with varied space( depending
on your opal) and DAP IT ! Try this on tinfoil (heavy gaged) until
you get the results you want for the different opals you are cutting.
Get back to me if you need further hints on some styles and tricks,
37 years at-it!.


Thanks for that info, I was a little worried about the 2 part epoxy
not holding long term. I was thinking of using a pinch bail but that
would involve drilling a hole on the opal and I only have a Dremel
tool, I don’t know if that is capable of doing the job, and if it is,
what size and type of drill bit to use. I am nervous of shattering or
cracking the opal (which I spent so much time on all by hand with
different grades of wet&dry sandpaper!). I had also thought of using
a top mount like a peg type bail on the bigger opals but again I
don’t know how to go about it and as I am a New Zealander I haven’t
been able to get much informed help over here! If anyone can advise
me the best way to go about it from a hobbyist point of view (I mean
with my limited access to tools) it would be much appreciated. Most
of the opals I have are freeform type shape and I would like to use a
pendant type bail.