Caring for your opal:
I design my jewellery to be worn. I don’t skimp on metal weights and I am always coming up with novel ways to protect the opal. My ‘Earthset’ designs, for example, are a game changer for protecting the opal in jewellery. I create a fortified housing around the stone making it difficult to damage through everyday wear and tear. If, however, you prefer daintier designs with thinner metal and settings that display the opal above the metal, then common sense dictates you must be more careful not to knock or bump the opal in these designs. Opal has roughly the same hardness of glass. Hardness, however, is not the only factor affecting durability. Shape and thickness of the stone contribute to durability as well. These are all things I consider carefully with my opal cutting and gem selection for designs.
I have been working with opal and the general public for many years now and have learned that people tend to suffer from the misconception that jewellery is some magical totem that cannot be harmed. This is not true. Though precious metals vary in hardness, gold, silver and platinum are all soft and malleable. If you knock the metal, it can dent or scratch, and if you knock the setting around the stone, the stone can come loose. This, my friends, is not a manufacturing fault, it is simply what happens sometimes through the course of enjoying your treasures. However, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of this happening.
EARTHY’S JEWELLERY CARE TIPS!
When taking your ring on and off, it is imperative that you do not push and pull from the stone or stone settings. The metal around the stone needs to be thin enough to be folded over the stone in order to create the setting and is therefore the thinnest part of the ring. Constant pressure on this area can cause the stone to loosen over time. This is another advantage of my ‘Earthset’ design. The opal is encased between two parts of thicker metal making risk of the setting loosening extremely low.
Next, take your jewellery off before doing certain types of activities such as moving furniture, gardening, rock climbing, pumping iron at the gym, taking long hot baths, washing dishes (not just because of the warm water, but all the stainless steel sharp things)... You get the point. You don't need to be paranoid or scared of wearing your jewellery, but if you are mindful, your jewels will last generations. I wear my jewellery daily, follow my own rules, and thankfully have yet to break or scratch an opal. (I came very close once when the car belt buckle flung around scoring a direct hit on my $10k boulder opal. Scary! But thankfully it was fine 😮💨).
Other than direct damage, please understand, jewellery ages with wear. The patina on oxidised pieces smoothens and polished pieces pick up scratches. It’s normal, and it’s beautiful! These amazing creations are to be worn, so get out there and enjoy them responsibly.
I stand behind my work 1000%, and I make my jewellery to very high standards. If on the odd chance there is some kind of fault with the make of your jewellery, I will be more than happy to repair the piece myself or organise such on your behalf. For general repairs, damaged jewelry or broken opals, however, I will not be able to do the repair. There are jewellery repair businesses that are much better equipped and prepared to take on these sorts of situations. (Please see list below with places you can contact).
Note: Please do not message me claiming ‘my ring broke all by itself!’ or some other hogwash. I know every piece intimately and will know exactly what happened, so please approach truthfully, thank you.
Ring size changes:
Ring resizing is considered on a case-by-case basis. Some designs are simply too complex to undergo ‘cut & weld’ size changes, but there are options. Please do not just assume that I will be able to do this for you though. As with repairs, there are jewellery businesses much better equipped to do work like this.
I can highly recommend contacting Mark Sellens at Carizzma Designs in Toowoomba (QLD) for all your repair and resize needs.
Phone: 0414 870 015
Custom order process and expectations:
Commissioning your own piece of personalised custom jewellery is an awesome experience and can be very fun and fulfilling. However, my business is not a run-of-the-mill jewellery manufacturing line. For starters, my work is highly stylised and art-oriented. I work best when given freedom to go in a direction I’m feeling at the time according to the stone I’m working with and the vibe I get for the brief. Sometimes through the process, I will ask for guidance if I’m at a crossroads, or small personalised details you might like to add, but in the end the best work is done when I’m given artistic license. From my experience, being micro-managed never works out well for anyone. This doesn’t mean, however, that you’re just getting a lucky dip on your custom piece. I won't start until I have a clear idea and direction of what you’re feeling. Once the design is completed, I will show it to you before casting and you will have the opportunity to hear all about it. Please note, however, the design I submit to you at this stage is most definitely not an occasion to make arbitrary changes. A lot of work goes into the designs and, while changes may sometimes be entertained, it's not a given right for the process.
Timeframes are also a relatively transient thing with my work process. I am excellent about meeting deadlines, but I may be taking time to mull over certain aspects of the brief, so please keep this in mind and trust the process when working with me.
Regarding cost and payment, once we have had our initial consultation and have decided on a budget for your jewellery commission, I require a 20% deposit on the estimated total price. Should you or I decide to terminate the commission, the deposit will be refunded minus cost of time spent already. Once your jewellery is completed, the final price is presented (usually never more than 10% either side of the estimate). Once you pay the remainder, you may pick up or I can ship out your jewellery!
If you are interested in commissioning a piece with me please fill out my ‘custom enquiries’ form and I will get back to you as soon as possible.