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 I really struggled to find stones to fit, and I really have no idea what I originally made those bezels for.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