Advice on Opal Engagement Rings

Opal Engagement rings have had a surge in popularity in recent years. Whether it is down to a reaction against diamonds,  celebrating your partner’s Australian heritage, or just wanting something unique, people are choosing to use Australian Opal in engagement settings.  

Here at ODU, in the past 18 months we have seen orders for custom engagement rings double, if not triple, which is fantastic news.

So for those looking to use Australian Opal in a setting that will have your future fiance screaming out, ‘YES!’, we’ve compiled some tips to get you prepared before you take the leap and have something made.

1. Do your research! 
What type of opal does your partner love? Everyone’s opinion and taste in opal differs. If in doubt though, look at what colours they wear. Brighter colours, particularly in shades of blue or green, look at Boulder Opal.  Intense dark colours? Black Opal is the go. Paler hues? Go Crystal Opal.  Simple, traditionalist? White Opal is your choice.

2. Ring size.
This is very important! If this is to be a surprise, then we will need you to call upon your detective skills.  If your partner already wears rings, particularly if they wear one on their right hand ring finger, then we can use this as a basis for size (if the person is right-handed, then their left hand ring finger will be roughly a size smaller, and vice versa if the person is left-handed).  We also have a ring size chart in PDF format available on any of the ring pages to download.  Simply print it off (do not change the scale of the image), and use that as a gauge for size.  

3. Preference in metals.
Firstly, we must stress, while Sterling Silver looks fantastic, and quite inexpensive, it is a softer metal and we generally don’t recommend this for Engagement Rings.  If your partner is a lover of whiter metals, then look at White Gold.
Traditionalist? Yellow Gold is fantastic.  Somewhat left of field? Then maybe Rose Gold.
Stones that generally suit White Gold would be your blue/green types in Black, Boulder or Crystal Opal.  Stones with some warmer hues would suit Yellow Gold perfectly.  Rose Gold is a strange one, and only really works with White Opal.

4. Ring style.
While we like to encourage a unique setting for these rings, your partner’s tastes may be more along the line of traditionalist, so we do need to take that into context when recommending designs. The main concern we have with settings, is keeping the stone safe. While a simple claw-set ring looks lovely, unless it is protected with a ‘halo’ (usually with diamonds), it’s going to leave the stone vulnerable, and possible for knocking.  Try to have a more protective setting such as a bezel (rub-over) or half-bezel style.

5. Wedding band.
How is the ring going to fit with the wedding band?  This is something that can be overlooked quite often, with the focus always on the Engagement Ring, and the wedding band becoming an after-thought.  With the more unusual settings, you will most likely need to have a customised wedding band crafted, so that it locks into the Engagement Ring.  We try to avoid having rings set high (so that simpler wedding bands can slot in underneath).  That said, we have created them in the past.

Do note that some settings that you may see using diamonds may not be completely possible with opal (given that diamonds are much harder and can be used in tension settings (giving the appearance of the stone ‘floating’ in between the metal bands)). 
Also keep in mind, that we do try to help with working with your budget, but a custom-made setting in Gold generally will start from AU$900 (not including the stone), and head upwards from there, pending on the intricacy of the setting, accent stones used etc.

Need ideas? Head to our Engagement Rings page for some inspiration. Or contact us at [email protected].