Inlay opal jewelry has an amazing effect because of the way the opal is set. The opal has been bonded in the piece of jewelry by a dark adhesive paste. Ususally having black oxide mixed in the the bond. The opal has been cut to the shape of the setting and placed into the setting with the bonding agent. Once the bonding agent is hard the opal and the metal is ground flat and then polished to give a great effect of a smooth set piece of jewelry.
Opal inlay jewelry has been made for many years and has given opal shops another way to sell the opal with a great look that is similar to black opal. The opal chips would otherwise be used in a chip bottle for specimens.
Lightning Ridge opal is a great supplier of opal inlay jewelry and can produce the opal that is needed for this type of jewelry. The most common type of opal used is crystal opal because it needs to be clear so the black background from the setting will darken the opal.
Coober Pedy opal has also been a great type to be made into inlay jewelry because of it consistent body tone. White opal is not good for inlay because the white in the opal does not let the dark color through the gemstone.
Inlay jewlery can be made into all different types of jewelry like opal bracelets, pendants, and the most popular type is the opal inlay ring.
One of the original people in Lightning Ridge to make inlay jewellery was Sally Hall, who had a fantastic business making and manufacturing the jewelry herself.
There are a lot of people around the world today who make inlay jewelry and it has now become an industry standard.