Opal jewellery settings need to be protective and surround the stones on all sides. Extra protection is essential for all opal jewellery because most Australian opal is about the same hardness as glass. You should treat an Australian opal the same way that you would a crystal.
The shape and size of the opal will be the main factor in determining which of the two main jewellery settings will be the best setting option for your opal jewellery. In most cases, opal jewellery will require a four or six prong (claw) or a rub-over bezel setting. Read below to learn more about claw settings and rub-over bezel settings.
A claw setting is when an opal is attached to its setting by a series of tiny metal prongs.
How many prongs used in an opal jewellery setting depends on the size and shape of the stone. The most common number of prongs used in jewellery settings is six, because they keep the opal secure and protected without the prongs sticking out too much. Sometimes, three or four prongs will be fine if said prongs are thick enough, but be careful. The less prongs used, the thicker they'll be, which may cause snagging.
With pointy ended gemstones like diamonds, a claw setting might protrude enough to snag on clothing or furniture. Since opals are flat bottomed, they sit lower in a claw setting than usual. Claw settings are ideal for showing off an opal and allowing it to shine from all angles. This type of setting also eases a jeweller's ability to loosen the prongs and remove the opal for any necessary polishing.
A rub-over bezel setting is a halo of white or yellow gold that is wrapped and then rubbed around the edges of an opal, keeping it firmly in place and protected from chipping.
A rub-over bezel setting is typically in a higher price range than other jewellery settings because more gold is used. But it is worth the cost because if the opal has been bezel set properly, then there is almost no chance that it will ever fall out of it's setting.
The opal is wrapped in gold and the halo of gems are individually bezel set around it. Not only does this look incredible but it adds an extra layer of protection around the opal.
Yes! The opal is set in four or six prongs and the halo of gems are individually bezel set around it.
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