This project was done for the daughter of a good friend, and it was such a pleasure. The white teardrop opal is one I have had for years, cut by a gem dealer friend in Brazil. This opal is solid, meaning that it is not a slice, nor a slice with a glued on base (sold in either doublet slices or triplets, to build up thickness), but just all opal with some nice red fire inside.
It needed a wide band, so I cut one out of sterling and shaped it on the mandrel
Then, I measured the opal and traced a sterling backing (which had to be pierced with a cut-out to let the light through) and cut out a bezel (a thin strip of silver) to set and hold the stone. This type of setting is called a bezel setting, designed for a stone that is smooth on the top and flat (usually) on the bottom. Most opals are cabochons, although we occasionally see opals that have polished facets.
Here is the ring now that I’ve pierced the backplate and soldered all of the pieces together. A tight fit is essential to keeping the opal seated, and a higher bezel was chosen to keep the stone safe and sound, free from chips or damage. The ring shank is then filed so that it will go off and on smoothly and wear comfortably. Then all of the solder joints will be filed down and polished.
After the initial polish and setting, the opal ring is ready for a final polish and any setting adjustments. A lovely ring for a lovely girl!