As boutique online jewelry destinations have grown in popularity, so have unconventional engagement rings.
At its heart, this is not a bad thing.
The online market holds brick and mortar jewelers to more accountable pricing methods and encourages out-of-the-box designs. However, the methods employed by some artisans lack the practical wisdom you may find with a more conventional jeweler.
I came across a whole rung of “Opal Engagement Rings” on Etsy the other day.
They were beautiful, don’t get me wrong.
It’s just that an opal is simply not cut out for every day wear.
Opals rank between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale, and are not particularly stable. The Mohs scale ranks stones and minerals susceptibility to surface damage on a scale of 1-10: 1 being the most susceptible, 10 being the least. This is not a linear scale, so an opal is many, many times weaker than a diamond. The softness of an opal leaves it vulnerable to damage. This will weaken the visual impact of the gem, or even cause it to break. Additionally, opals are exceptionally sensitive to heat, humidity, and chemicals.
Engagement and wedding rings are meant to last. There are some important precautions to keep in mind while selecting mountings and stones.
Choosing a more exposed mounting or stones that are especially prone to damage will increase the risk of damaging or losing stones. The quantity of stones and the way they are set impact the piece not just visually, but also structurally.
It’s recommended not to wear fine jewelry while gardening, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, washing, or exercising. We also recommend having your rings checked and cleaned at least once per year. All of these decisions can have a significant impact on maintenance costs over the years.
The cost of jewelry repair has been going up, and will continue to do so. Jewelers are fewer and further between than ever. So, when you’re in the market for a “daily wearer”, don’t be shy! Talk to your jeweler and weigh out your options.
At the end of the day, we want our guests to be both excited and well-informed on their purchases.
You do you! Just don’t buy an opal engagement ring.