Discover Beginner Kits >

10 Tips For Setting Boulder Opals

Boulder opals are such amazing, natural stones that make any design a unique, one-off and high-value piece. They do however come in all shapes and sizes which can sometimes be a challenge to set.

With a new collection of Australian Boulder Opals at least twice a year here at Kernowcraft, we thought some information on setting these freeform stones would be helpful.

Luckily, we have a talented bunch here at Kernowcraft who have set many opals after not being able to resist stones from our previous collections! Find beautiful examples below, followed by our 10 tips on setting boulder opals. 

10 Tips For Setting Boulder Opals

1. First and foremost, it is important to remember to take your time when creating the setting. Attention to detail and spending time on ensuring the bezel is an accurate fit to the stone is vital in creating a neat setting.

2. When creating the bezel shape from your bezel strip, try to ensure that the join for soldering is on a straight edge of the stone and not a corner.

3. Make sure the join of the bezel strip is flush together otherwise it will not solder. When cutting the bezel strip we recommend cutting 1mm extra so that you can file the edges straight, allowing for a more flush join.

4. Before soldering the bezel shape to the metal sheet base, make sure it sits flat against the sheet with no gaps. If there are gaps, use wet and dry sanding sheets on a flat surface to file down the bezel shape in the appropriate areas.

5. Check the shape you have created for your stone one more time before soldering. Sometimes they can change slightly with the handling.

6. We recommend using a syringe solder paste to solder your bezel, it is great for intricate jobs, it helps with accuracy and it creates less excess to file down. If you are using solder paste when soldering the bezel strip to the base, put the solder all the way around the inside of the solder join - not the outside.

7. When you have soldered the bezel to the metal sheet base, cut the metal as close as you can for less filing.

8. If you are setting a long, thin stone or a stone with an un-even back put some Devcon 5 minute epoxy glue in the setting first. The wet epoxy will act as a filler, going into the gaps between the stone and the bottom of the bezel setting. This will help to get rid of any weak points, minimising the chance of cracks or breaks.

9. When setting the stone into your bezel start with the tightest/sharpest corners first and partially ease it over to avoid bunching/ crinkling, before pushing it over fully. Ease the setting around the stone slowly and gradually to ensure the edge of the bezel is set evenly.

10. Finally, take your time with the pusher or bezel rocker that you are using to push the bezel over the stone, slipping and scratching the stone at this stage can be very, VERY frustrating!

This stunning opal ring was made by Jenny who is a member of our sales team. Jenny makes and sells all of her own jewellery under her brand Sea Surf Rocks.

This gorgeous opal ring was made by Hayley, our buyer at Kernowcraft. Hayley makes and sells her own jewellery under her own name and sells at shows and online.

Check Out These Tutorials For Inspiration

All of these tutorials can be used with your favourite freeform stone

Watch Basia Create A Pendant With One Of Our Boulder Opals

More pages in this category

If you have any further questions, feel free to call our friendly team who will be more than happy to give you some advice through Facebook, Twitter, Email or simply calling us on 01872 573888 8.30am-4.30pm.

Alternatively, for more information and how to's on all areas of jewellery making visit our other Gemstone Setting Advice pages.