Creating an opal intarsia is just like creating any other intarsia except you are using a more expensive material, sometimes worth hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. The fear of ruining such expensive material can make even the bravest lapidary reluctant to tackle an opal intarsia project. However, using a piece of synthetic or lab-created opal or opal simulant only costs about $12 and, because the color is dispersed throughout the synthetic opal material, you needn???t worry about grinding to expose the color line or, even worse, grinding through the color line. Which would you be more comfortable learning and experimenting with? We teach several intarsia workshops each year and our beginning students usually successfully complete this beginning opal intarsia project within a day and a half. After mastering these intarsia techniques, you???ll be brave enough to create an intarsia masterpiece using some of that precious opal you have stashed away.
To make a bezel setting and bail for your intarsia, see ???Silver Pendant Setting??? from the July 2002 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.