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Opal inlays?

Opals Down Under News

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Opal inlays?

Thu 21 Feb, 2013

If you've been researching opal rings, then no doubt you would have come across a very stylish, sleek-looking type of ring - the Inlay Ring.

They look amazing, we cannot dispute this, however, we would like to point out that lately in the workshop, it seems that they are the only items we've been having to repair.

Not from our own stock, mind you.

It seems that fans of these rings have not done enough research in opal inlay, and the downsides to using these as an everyday ring.

Opal Inlay Rings, to break it down, are rings with small cut-aways or channels in the band, that then have slices of light opal glued in and polished over, so that not only does the light opal now look like Black Opal or Boulder Opal, but it also flows with the curve of the ring. 

Great concept ... in theory.

However, due to the thickness of the slices of opal only being roughly 1mm to 1.5mm thick, and that they're only glued into the band (admittedly using jeweller's glue which would be similar to the same glue used by dentists) these rings should not be worn frequently.

Any hard knocking on the thin opal can and will eventually crack it.  Wearing frequently in water will eventually lead to delamination.  To put it bluntly, you have to take great care and consideration with these rings.

Which means, these rings are NOT suitable for engagement rings or wedding bands.

Unless you want to keep spending money on repairing your opal inlay ring, that is.

There are altenatives, such as solid opal being set inlay-style, but using the rub-over/bezel technique, where a lip of gold is 'folded' over the stone to keep it safely contained in the ring, nice and protected.

So if you're after the inlay look for an everyday ring, that's some food for thought for you.