Setting Opals

Setting Opals

Setting an opal properly may mean the difference between it lasting a lifetime and it breaking when any pressure is put on it. Opal jewelry needs to protect the opal, especially the edges, which are very fragile. This is accomplished protecting the edges in a ring of gold. When this is accomplished, it takes a very high amount of force to break an opal. The ring of gold used to protect the opal is called a bezel set.

When an opal is set with prongs, which are normally used for faceted stones, each prong is like a tiny pincer. Insted of protecting the entire edge, they push down on only parts of the edge, which can weaken the stone, eventually causing it to break.

Bezel settings have a thin edge of gold that is turned toward the opal securing it in place. Jewelers also apply a small bead of epoxy. This lubricates the gold as the stone is moved, and also holds the stone in place after it dries. Prongs can be used, but only if they come out of the bezel, and hold the stone in place, without putting force on the stone.

Bezel Set Opal Earrings Prong set earrings with bezel

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