I started the stone setting marathon with the two annular brooches because setting opals is always a bit scary so I thought I’d get it over with, plus these are a difficult shape to hold still whilst you work.


The oddly shaped blue opal was the scary one because its a doublet and they’re easier to chip, the round ones with lots of fire in them weren’t so bad because they’re triplets so the opal has a layer of crystal over it for protection.

Opal is a very soft gem, hence the anxiety. Although the modern mind associates opal with Australia it has been mined in eastern europe since ancient times. There are a few medeival pieces that have badly degraded opals still in them, but I think it’s a fair bet that some of the the empty sockets in surviving pieces might once have held opals. Since they’re silica based they can dry out and decay, so if a piece was buried an opal might not survive as well as many other gems. This one is for John, and opal is one of his favourites

The smaller brooch for me ended up with garnets and amethysts. I’m choosing to think of this combination as “classy” rather than “predictable”. I really struggled to find stones to fit, and I really have no idea what I originally made those bezels for. I would have preferred citrine, but all my citrines were either too big of too small.

My poor phone camera really struggled with the shiny on these, so I’ll try and get Gareth to take a better picture when he does the crown photos. But, John’s does look nice with the silk brocade he’ll be wearing it with


Although I am going to have to make a hole for the pin, that brocade is as tough as boots, I’ve been struggling to sew it

~ by opusanglicanum on July 29, 2015.

10 Responses to “opals”

  1. Opals Anglicanum! They both look good – I like the purple and red one best, I think, because they are more my sort of colours.

  2. The opals are lovely, and it’s a gorgeous, fiery effect when the sunlight falls on them.

    • they are lovely opals. I decided to use them up because I bought them when JOhn thought he’d lost one of his opal cufflinks. then it turned up, and since he no longer goes to masons he doesn’t wear the links anymore anyway, so I thought I’d use them on something else for him. they were a bit too expensive to just sit in a box

  3. The opals are lovely against that brocade, but I do think the amethysts and garnets are lovely – and the amethyst should protect you against getting drunk!

    • I’m not much of a drinker at the best of times. less so right now since my favourite cider seems to have run out until apple harvest. what I really want is a toadstone

      • Ever tried Gwatkin Cider’s Yarlington Mill?

      • they come to the yorkshire show and harrogate flower show, so I’ve treid some of thiers. they had strawberry cider at the yorkshire show, which I treid simply to piss my mother off cos she gets ranty about fruit ciders. It was deliciously like pop, could have drunk pints.

        my usual is orchards of husthwaite, which is made from a village orchard just outside helmsley, and thye use all the profits for community projects. so I’m basically drinking for charity, hic…

  4. Gorgeous! My favourite are the opals (particularly the ones with the fire in), but both broaches are exquisite.

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