A Cabochon Bezel Setting For Unusual Opal Doublets


Opal doublets and triplets make use of opal too thin to use as a solid gemstone. A thin layer of precious opal is glued to a black base, usually common opal. “EB217-G Enchanting Jundah Boulder Opal Doublet Silver & Gold Earrings” by Opals-On-Black.com is licensed under CC By 2.0
Opal doublets and triplets make use of opal too thin to use as a solid gemstone. A thin layer of precious opal is glued to a black base, usually common opal. “EB217-G Enchanting Jundah Boulder Opal Doublet Silver & Gold Earrings” by Opals-On-Black.com is licensed under CC By 2.0

Question

I’m an amateur jeweler, working mostly for the fun of it. I recently got a parcel of opal doublets. They’re nice looking pieces but some are wider at the top than at the bottom. I can’t make a bezel as I usually do with a cabochon because of the shape of the stones. Should I use prongs? Is there another method I could try? There isn’t much money involved, so I’m willing to experiment on some of these unusual opal doublets. I’m hoping to learn something new!

Thank you,

Donna

Answer

You actually can bezel set a cabochon that is larger at the top edge than at the bottom. I worked with a couple of opal doublets that had that problem earlier this year. Even though I’m a lapidarist by trade, I didn’t want to re-cut those stones. Instead, I modified a trick a jeweler friend taught me. Looked at from the side, the opal doublets were basically shaped like very short rubber stoppers, tapered at the bottom with a slightly rounded top. I built a perfectly vertical bezel around the stone while it sat, upside down, in place. This left the bezel even with the bottom of the stone. When I replaced the opal flat-side down, the bezel was then taller than the edge of the stone. I then rolled the top edge of the bezel over like you would normally do.

I hope this helps.

D.R.

An elegant bezel setting for a beautiful Mexican fire opal. “Mexican Fire Opal Scrollwork Pendant” by Jessa and Mark Anderson is licensed under CC By 2.0
An elegant bezel setting for a beautiful Mexican fire opal. “Mexican Fire Opal Scrollwork Pendant” by Jessa and Mark Anderson is licensed under CC By 2.0