The extraordinary colour and fire of this Australian black opal made this pendant a delight to work on. Commissioned as a gift, the pendant pairs brushed yellow gold with a richly coloured oval black opal. The two combine to stunning effect. The opal flashes with vivid blue and green colours, which are balanced by the rich hue of 18-carat yellow gold.
Early last year we bought the opal at the annual Inhorgenta gem fair in Munich. Shortly afterwards our client selected it for this commission and we spent the following few months working with them on the piece. After discussing initial ideas we sketched out several design options, the final design can be seen below on the right.
The pendant’s simple, elegant design consists of a tapered swirl of 18 carat yellow gold, which curves around to cup the stone in an open bezel. The open bezel makes the most of the stone by exposing more of its beautiful colour to view.
Carved by hand, the yellow gold and opal pendant is one-of-a-kind. It was shaped directly in the metal and can be seen below on our workbench as a work in progress, surrounded by a fine dusting of gold on the workbench.
The time lapse video below shows the opal pendant being set. You can see how we mount the pendant in setters’ cement on a rotating vice for full 360-degree access while setting the stone. The opal is then carefully placed into the pendant and the bezel edges are gradually pushed over the stone to hold it in place. All of our setting work is done under a microscope for accuracy and precision.