FAQ: Where can I find an opal engagement ring? Are opals suitable for engagement rings? Where can I find opal wedding rings?
Australian opals, also known as “The Queen of Gems” are one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. Opals display all the colours of the rainbow in an amazing moving diffracted colour pattern known as the play of colour.
This makes opals very unique and opal engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular amongst people looking for a different and original engagement ring a little different to the standard diamond engagement ring. Opals, unlike diamonds, are genuinely rare – as fast as opals are mined, they are sold. Diamonds are in fact very common, yet prices are kept high by vast stockpiling and strict supply control by monopolistic forces.
Unlike diamonds however (which are incredibly hard), opals are a relatively soft gemstone. Opals rank at about 5 or 6 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, whereas diamonds rank at 10. To put this into perspective, opals are about the same hardness as glass. This is the most important thing to be aware of when considering an opal for an engagement ring. It is possible by mistreating an opal or treating it roughly, to damage or break the stone. This does not mean opals will break at the drop of a hat, it just means you need to treat them carefully to ensure you enjoy your opal for a lifetime!
When our customers tell us they are looking for an opal engagement ring, we always ensure they are aware of this factor before they start their search. There are a number of ways you can ensure the maximum security and durability of your opal, and you should consult the advice of experts before going ahead and buying an opal ring.
Opals Down Under has made hundreds of customised opal rings, and we’ve got engagement rings down to a fine art. Here are our tips to help you get the best out of your opal ring:
Tips for buying an opal engagement ring
- Pick a rub-over (bezel) setting. This is pretty much a “must” for opal engagement rings, as rub-over settings provide much better protection and security for your opal. A thin bezel of gold follows and covers the edge of the stone, protecting damage from impact, and ensuring the stone stays securely in place. Claw settings are much less secure, provide little protection, and can wear down over time – especially in rings.
- Boulder opal is harder wearing. Due to its very hard natural ironstone backing, Queensland boulder opal is more robust and has an advantage over other types of opal. For an opal engagement ring, boulder opal is ideal. Black opals, crystal opals, and white opals are also suitable, but do not have the same hard-wearing quality as boulder opals. Due to their unusual ‘free’ shape, boulder opals also lend themselves to more creativity in design.
- Select a stone with a low cabochon (i.e. dome on top). Opals with a high cabochon are more exposed and vulnerable to impact damage, so if your stone has a flat or low cabochon top, it’s less likely to be damaged.
In summary, opals can make a beautiful lasting engagement ring if you make the right choice and treat the opal with respect. We have made many opal engagement rings for our clients over the years – simply email us your ideas and we’ll promptly draw up some designs for you.
The cost of your opal ring depends on the type of stone and setting you choose, as well as the size of your finger. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to talk about having an opal engagement ring custom designed, we’d be more than happy to help. In the meantime, feel free to learn more about opals, or check out our current stock of opal rings.