Opal Jewellery Settings

An opal jewellery setting needs to be protective and surround the stones on all sides. Extra protection for opal jewellery because most Australian opal is about the same hardness as glass. So treat the opal the same way that you would crystal.

The shape and size of the opal will be the main factor in determining which will be the best setting option for your opal jewellery. In most cases, opal jewellery will gesture a four or six prong (claw) setting or a rub-over bezel setting. Read below to learn more about claw settings and rub-over bezel settings.

What is a claw setting?

  • A claw setting is when an opal is attached to its setting by a series of tiny metal prongs. 

How many prongs will set the opal?

  • This depends on the size and shape of the opal.
  • The most common number of prongs is six, because the prongs don’t stick out too much, but the opal is still secure and protected.
  • Three or four prongs is fine if the prongs are thick enough, but be careful - the less prongs used, the thicker they’ll be which may cause snagging.

Why use a claw setting for opal jewellery?

  • With pointy ended gems like diamonds, a claw setting might protrude enough to snag on clothing or furniture. Since opals are flat bottomed, they sit lower in the claw setting.
  • Claw settings show off the opal and allows it to shine from all angles.
  • Claw settings easily allow for a jeweller to loosen the prongs and remove the opal for polishing (if necessary).

Claw Set Yellow Gold Australian Opal Ring with 4 Prongs
Claw Set Yellow Gold Australian Opal Ring with 6 Prongs
Claw Set White Gold Australian Opal Earrings with 4 Prongs
Claw Set Yellow Gold Australian Opal Pendant with Six Prongs

What is a rub-over bezel setting?

  • 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.

Is it more expensive?

  • A rub-over bezel setting is typically in a higher price range than a claw setting because more gold is used. But it is worth the cost because if the opal has been set properly, there is almost no chance that it will ever fall out of it’s setting.
Rub-Over Bezel Set Yellow Gold Australian Opal Ring
Rub-Over Bezel Set White Gold Australian Opal Ring
Rub-Over Bezel Set Yellow Gold Australian Opal Pendant

How is a bezel wrapped halo ring made?

  • 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.
Rub-Over Bezel Set White Gold Australian Opal Ring with Diamond Halo

Can an opal have a claw setting and a gemstone halo?

  • Yes! The opal is set in four or six prongs and the halo of gems are individually bezel set around it.
Claw Set White Gold Australian Opal Ring with Diamond Halo