Ornate Opal Extravaganza

Kristen Baird

Opal Extravaganza - Header

There is truly nothing on earth quite like an opal. The kaleidoscope of color! The flashes of light! The fireworks! It’s just hard to look away from this special stone, so when you have a great one it deserves to be front and center. And, oh boy, did this client have a great one!

When a repeat client came to me with an entire jewelry box full of her mother’s jewelry, I found myself in jewelry designer heaven. First, we created pieces for each of my client’s nieces, the beautiful “Nieces Pieces” commission. Once that was complete, it was time for her to pamper herself. We wanted to create something out of every single piece in that jewelry box. And we did!

A Jewelry Extravaganza

Opal Extravaganza - Materials

Inside this jewelry box, I found plenty of petite diamonds, two rainbow moonstones, plus a very special opal gemstone. The opal’s diamond setting was once part of a ring but had been converted to a pendant by adding a bail. We decided to break down the pendant into several pieces.

The rainbow moonstones would go into a pair of earrings closely based on a previous commission, Firework Finale. (Those clients are close friends, which is so much fun.) The remaining diamonds from the pendant would be used in a Veiled Horizon Gem necklace as well as a pair of clean and classic gold triple-disk earrings. The opal would be used in a special statement necklace. For those keeping track at home, that’s four pieces created from a single pendant, plus the moonstone earrings.

Even with all these great pieces in the works, I could not wait to get my hands on that opal gemstone. So many designs, so little time!

The Ornate Opal Design

Opal Extravaganza - DESIGN

Finally, it was time to turn my attention to the star of the show: the ornate opal. In the current design, the stone was very exposed and not very well protected. This is a problem because opals are a notoriously soft and breakable stone. The diamond halo also detracted a bit from the opal’s natural sparkle. It was time for a design that could do this stone justice, keep it safe, and bring out those colors.

Kicking off, we knew we wanted something within the realm of the Crater Statement Necklace, but we opted for three crater shapes rather than five. The centerpiece would hold the opal stone in a bezel, while tiny topaz stones and a few diamonds would serve as accent pieces to pull out all those colors, especially the blue shades. 

Working With Opal

Opal Extravaganza - Setting

As I mentioned before, opal is an extremely soft and brittle stone. I have personally witnessed opals fall to the floor and shatter into a hundred pieces! So, I’m not too proud to admit that I was more than a little nervous about resetting this irreplaceable gemstone. But, I had to trust in my skills as a jewelry designer and my many years of experience. 

First, I created a custom silver bezel perfectly tailored to fit this stone. After fabricating the bezel and securing it into the crescent frame, I placed the lovely accent stone settings asymmetrically around the piece. Then, it was time to set, set, set. I started with the blue topaz, moved on to the diamonds, and then…. The opal! Side note: the blue topaz really did its job of highlighting the stone’s color. Suddenly all of its internal sparkle and fire is front-and-center.

Then, after covering the floor with soft towels just in case, I very carefully placed the stone and began to smooth the metal around it until it was perfectly secure. Voila! Now the stone is much better protected in a nice strong bezel, and it really pops against the silver. This truly is a show-stopping piece!

The Reviews are In!

Take a look at all four pieces in their final glory:

Opal Extravaganza - Final

This project truly put a smile on my face, but don’t just take it from me. Check out my client’s review:

It’s here! The pieces are spectacular! What a great way to show off my Mother’s Opal in a contemporary way…. And all the stones look beautiful on the bar necklace! Thanks for sharing your talent!!

And here’s a review from the client who referred this client to me. It’s truly such an honor when people refer their friends and family to me and even more so when they are doubly happy with my work. 

“I was truly expecting GREATNESS with ‘D’s’ pieces.  I can honestly say they are NOT GREAT.  They are BEYOND GREAT and more than ANYTHING I expected. Every time you create something, we set the BAR VERY - VERY HIGH and you NOT only jump over it, you catapult over it.  WOW!!!  Both pieces are truly outstanding, but that BIG stone with all the PERFECT touches around it is just plain WOW - WOW!!!”

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