I received this opal from a woman who had cut it years ago. Her customer was aware it had a small chip on the corner and she was leery of setting it. I wasn’t sure if it had been kept hydrated or if it was more brittle that usual. She also wanted a light weight pendant mounting that hid the damage to keep from having to re-cut it and the subsequent weight loss. This was my initial design info for the free form opal pendant:
These are the parts I received: a loose chipped opal and a 14KY bail along with the instructions. I was billing on a straight hourly basis plus parts, so I wanted to make the most efficient use of my time. I also wanted a light frame to show the greatest amount of opal possible. I feel it’s silly for someone to pay me to manufacture bar stock or bezel from grain when a manufacturer who does it for a living does it better and cheaper, so I used ready made stock.
I decided the least expensive and safest way to set it was to make a frame that it dropped into. The frame would have to be heavy enough to not flex when the bezel was tightened to lessen the chance of chipping the already damaged opal. This would greatly increase the price. If a light frame was constructed to allow the opal to drop in tightly holding it and than laser over additional wire, it would he much cheaper, making all parties happy.
The opal is laid out and traced tightly around the edge. This gave me a template to build the frame to. A light 1 mm rope chain was laid over the drawing to estimate how much bar stock was needed. Afterwards I cut and annealed a piece of 1×1 14KY bar stock to the chains treasured length. The bar stock was easy to bend around the profile tracing with pliers. You can also get a very accurate profile by laying your flat piece on a scanner or copier. Then do the same steps.