Hello, my name is Paddy, I’m new to this group, and to jewelry making in general. I am starting a paid internship with a local jeweler in 2 weeks. I’m to bring my first project. Which is setting a Black Opal in an 18k gold ring. I know this sounds daunting and overly ambitious as a first job. However, a while back I was mugged, thrown to the ground and my diamond engagement ring and a heavy 18 k gold necklace my husband bought for our (18th anniversary was stolen…but I’m ok!) I don’t own a lot of jewelry. In fact aside, from my wedding ring, which I told him I couldn’t get off (sort of true, I was wearing ring tighteners) he got two of my 3 most valuable pieces. Thank goodness they were insured. So, I have the unusual opportunity to replace my diamond (which I never really loved…it was a bit showy and I’m a mountain girl) with something I’ve always admired from afar but never though was accessible to me. So now I have this beautiful 16mmx14mmx6mm black Opal selected. I happen to have recently received a 14k gold gorgeous chrysoprase (it looks like imperial Jadeite set in 1960. As a gift of celebration from my whole family for conquering kidney cancer, followed by 16 months of long term Covid (due to an suppressed immune system) It’s a 20mmx15mm stone set in a wide 8mm bezel above the wide ring. It’s fabulous. I plan to set the Opal similarly. I’ve read that in 18k gold (sheet? Wire?) that for opals a minimum of 24 g/0.5mm gold sheet should be used. I chose 18g/1mm, as the chrysoprase ring band and bezel measures at exactly that-1mm (checked with my calipers) since they are close in hardness to Opal I feel this is a good starting point. And it seems to have protected this chrysoprase since it was made in 1960! Information, I feel quite confident in, as the vintage dealer is honest and quite knowledgeable. Of course, it may not have been worn a lot, I have been wearing it daily for a couple of months. To my questions…online at a finding shop I am looking at 18k solid gold plate material. It sells 1mm/18g in widths of 70mm/2.5”. I figured a length of 15 mm would be more than enough to make the size 7.5 ring (my finger is 6.5 but I have a touch of arthritis in my knuckles and so am going larger and will wear a ring tightener) and bezel. The piece of 18k yellow gold 1mm/18g in 15mm length and 70 mm wide weighs 16.317 g and is $1023.89 at Pasternak findings. I’m not sure whether to buy dead soft, half hard or hard. I know it has to malleable enough to shape the piece work around the stone, I’m leaning toward half hard because it’s in the middle? I’d call the jeweler who I’m going to start working with except he’s recovering from a recent serious illness and is only just out of the hospital. So, I want to independently research and find as much as possible myself. I’d like to arrive fir our first sessions somewhat knowledgeable and prepared. I’ve also read about pounding the edge to thin it to better hold in the stone and using a wider vs smaller chase tool to spread out the force and not risk cracking the stone once setting it. I understand not to leave any burrs inside the bezel to avoid cracking the stone, and if it has a rounded bottom to make sure it’s set on top of an under bezel with a girdle to avoid undue pressure on the Opal. Can anyone advise me? Thank you kindly. Any and all advice welcome! Thank you! PaddyP
dead soft for all of it. as you form it, the metal will start to work harden and you want the bezel to be soft so you don’t have to tap your tool any harder than you need to in order to set the stone…opals are delicate. Good luck at your new job!
Thank you Camille! I was just sifting through what I need to order this afternoon! How timely. I appreciate your taking the time. Dead soft it is! Thanks Paddy