After she was abducted by aliens Doris always loved opals.
This Santa Barbara Jeweler always felt that opals were like alien gemstones from another planet. Their fire from within is captivating and miraculous looking. Even if you haven't been abducted by aliens you've dug opals right?
How Hard and Sturdy are Opals?
This is Doris' story, told by her eventual jewelry repair wizard, Calla. Doris wanted an opal ring she could wear daily and found the glowing beauty she wanted in this inlaid opal and diamond ring.
It started out great. She wore it everyday. She hadn't been told just how fragile opal can be. By the time she found me through a friend, her ring looked like it had been abducted by bad aliens.
Doris is No Wimp and Not to be Stopped By Mere Breakage
As a gemstone opal is delicate, crackable, breakable and just easily messed up. Doris was not going to let that stop her from wearing her dream ring.
As the opal was breaking out from her ring she really wanted it fixed. As she tried to find someone to fix it, more opal bits fell out.
The Gory Details About Inlay Repair and Why You Need to Know Them
I'm sharing the basic steps about inlay repair of your jewelry. Having fixed some bad inlay repair, I feel that if you know what to expect, you're less likely to use someone who isn't able to really help you.
Five Steps: How to Find a Good Inlay Gem Repair Jeweler
1. Find a Jeweler with the right opal material. There are many choices of color and fire, don't settle for lesser quality.
2. Find a Jeweler who knows how to repair the gold inlay dividers.
3. Find a Jeweler who can cut and inlay the opal seamlessly. Ask to see examples of inlay work they have done or images of previous work done.
4. This is highly skilled work. If your Jeweler has someone who they use regularly for this type of work, you'll probably get a better job done. A lapidary (gemstone cutter) is more likely to do this well and have the depth of inlay gemstone material to choose from than your average Jeweler.
5. Understand that sometimes you just have to start over with new gold dividers and all new gem material.
Behind the Scenes with the Inlay Repair Expert
I can't be great at all things jewelry. But that doesn't mean I don't have the best darn team a jewelry girl could ask for. So when Doris called, desperate to have her ring repaired, I knew I could help her.
I Call on Sako my Lapidary Superman
I knew from past experience that Sako had the rough opal in the high quality we needed for Doris' repair.
Doris' Opal Ring Repair in Sako's Words
"I ended up cleaning up the whole channel and I added gold dividers in order to inlay the blue-green opal into her ring."
"The best way to get the most out of opal in terms of color is by placing it over a black background to enhance the color, (that sounded like something a chef would say)."
"I searched through my rough, found the match and took the opal to my saw and started to slice away. I got the opal to my machine and start sizing it down to get it to sit inside the slots I’d created. Once the opals fit, I got my epoxy and mixed it with some black material (it’s a secret) and glued them down and let them sit overnight."
This is what you get as a final product!
Doris was ecstatic and promised to be a bit more careful.
As I left she picked up her book, "Abducted and Proud!"