Inlay Jewelry has been made for centuries. From native American Indians using Turquoise in beads and tribal settings to ancient south American civilizations from Mayans to Aztecs and European designer in Italy in 18th centenary making inlay into tortoise shells.
Opal-inlay jewelry is inlaid with blocked-out crystal opal. The back of the setting is blackened so that the opal, when set in the jewelry piece, is enhanced and appears brighter.
Today opal inlay is complex and time consuming to make and inlay
First the ideal opal rough has to be sourced.
Crystal Opal rough is ideal for this and most comes from opal fields of south Australia, Cooper Pedy, with smaller amount from Lighting Ridge.
And this is not as easy as one would think, as the opal needs to be clean and have no inclusions, cracks or potch lines. Opal miners sell rough in parcel lots and inlay cutter will lose over 50% of a parcel due to inclusion and cutting away the crystal opal to inlay
The opal cutter will first clean the crystal opal. Opalized shells are ideal for this as many are thin and have bright colours
Once he has cleaned the crystal slice he has to mark where he will saw the crystal to fit his design
So lot opal will be cut away to make this design
Today most opal inlay into silver is made in Asia due to labour costs as it is very labour intensive.
Gold rings are made in Australia to a set design so a snot to waste so much opal
Curved or wavy patterns are very hard to shape.
Intarsia Opal Pendants is also a form of opal inlay.
Inlay Opal pendants can be in silver or set into ironstone from Queensland opal fields
Matching Opal Inlay earrings can be found in Inlay opal earrings as it is easy to match similar colours and shape designs.
Inlay opal rings can also be set in ironstone or shin cracker potch or direct into silver.
Opal inlay is popular in gold and silver, as
well as in ironstone pendants. Solid natural crystal opal from Lightning Ridge
is set in natural potch. The potch has a hand-drilled hole to fit the opal, and
the back is blackened to enhance the colour
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