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Boulder Opal - ring suitable?

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 25, 2008
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Hey PS,

A quick question on the durability of boulder opal. I understand opal is opal ie. same moh scale in any form but wondering if boulder opal would be acceptable for a RHR worn daily?

I’ve seen some lovely pieces but not sure whether to buy if they would be too fragile....
calling experts! :wavey:
@jordyonbass

thanks
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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I don’t think any type of opal is really suited to an everyday ring. Everyday activities usually involve accidentally banging your ring against things be it the kitchen counter top, the edges of cupboards or drawers, even the other items in your handbag as you rummage looking for keys. Opal is only about 6.5 on Mohos, which is less than quartz so it’s more likely to lose its surface polish quickly.
Boulder opal is seams of precious opal intermixed with ironstone. Ironstone itself is a sedimentary rock so it’s a composite material.
Provided the opal piece has a thick girdle or is bezel set it will be less likely to chip but still, I think its more a special occasion ring unless you are extremely careful and conscientious.
 

jordyonbass

Brilliant_Rock
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Hi @GliderPoss :wavey:

The ironstone that Boulder Opal has is actually very hard, however as @Bron357 has mentioned the nature of boulder means it can be susceptible to breakage too (those cracks and seams in boulder are where the colour tends to be and where they cleave the stone to reveal the colourplay and patterns). As with all Opal, cracks in Boulder can indicate potential problems.

When it comes to Opal and a daily RHR, I recommend buying one that isn't of the highest value you can afford but one you still find aesthetically pleasing. Helps to alleviate some of that sick feeling if you damage it from wear and tear :saint:
 

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
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Thanks so much for your advice! Will keep a lid on the budget.... :bigsmile:
 

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
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Oooh that is lovely! I already have 2 pendants but ya know...more is more! :lol:
 
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prs

Brilliant_Rock
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Funny thing happened when DKJ started working on the CAD for this opal. We had just about got the bezel design sorted out and were working on the bale when suddenly I received a new CAD and everything had changed. I asked Amy what the heck happened and she said they just realized we were designing the setting with the opal wrong side up. On normal opals it's dome side up, but for boulder opals it's flat side up!!! :lol-2:
 
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jordyonbass

Brilliant_Rock
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Funny thing happened when DKJ started working on the CAD for this opal. We had just about got the bezel design sorted out and were working on the bale when suddenly I received a new CAD and everything had changed. I asked Amy what the heck happened and she said they just realized we were designing the setting with the opal wrong side up. On normal opals it's dome side up, but for boulder opals it's flat side up!!! :lol-2:
At least it was at the CAD stage! I've seen some major blunders, like north-south instead of east-west. Jeweller had all the details on the memo from us, just a brain fade at some point :lol:

Some solid Opals end up with a rather flat dome and a rounded back as well, especially when the colour bar is very thin as a tall dome would take away the colourplay from the edges and leave it only in the middle - AKA the dreaded 'fried egg'
The back gets fairly rounded usually to help maintain some thickness to the stone so it isn't too thin and brittle when being set.

So in the reverse, if you see a stone with a tall dome and full face of colour then you know that the rough piece had a fairly thick colour bar to work with for the cutter.
 

prs

Brilliant_Rock
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Actually DKJ have a 3D scanner so Amy is able to send a full 3D scan of every gem to her CAD team. Her CAD guy just assumed the color on our opal would be on the dome side. :eek-2: I missed it, but fortunately Amy caught it before we went too far. =)2

The only reason I brought it up was to point out to @GliderPoss that the crown of a boulder opal is flat, so I think she might be less likely to hit it on something than an opal with a rounded dome. I myself would certainly choose to bezel set any type of opal in an everyday ring just for the added protection.
 

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
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Agreed, I do have a bezeled opal ring (suspect it's a doublet) which has a flat top and it's very comfortable to wear and I haven't damaged it so far.
436865
 

prs

Brilliant_Rock
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Agreed, I do have a bezeled opal ring (suspect it's a doublet) which has a flat top and it's very comfortable to wear and I haven't damaged it so far.
newopalring.jpg
Very nice looking ring! Maybe your new one could have little red in it? Although as I'm sure you know red is the most expensive color in an opal!!

I hadn't heard Jordy's dreaded "fried egg" description before, but the reason we bezel set our boulder opal was to hide some of the brown ironstone that had been left showing around the edges. So our bezel is extra wide. Of course if @jordyonbass had a satellite office in LA's jewelry district we could have just asked him to grind it off. :)

Boulder Opal 19.34ct 1.jpg

I told DW her pendant had just been renamed THE DREADED FRIED EGG, she wasn't too thrilled. :mrgreen2:
 
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