Customized Lab Opal Engagement Ring

Building a Custom Lab Opal Ring

Lab opal engagement ring with Alexandrite in sterling silver.

Lab opal engagement ring with color change lab Alexandrite set in sterling silver by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

When a customer contacts us with ideas about building a custom ring it’s important to listen to the customer’s wants and needs and try to put together a plan on how to complete their special ring within their budget.  In the case of this lab opal engagement ring, the customer had specific stones they were interested in using- Alexandrite and opal.  Because Alexandrite has some very unique color changing properties, it is extremely rare and expensive in larger sizes.  This could have been a problem but the customer was flexible and was not opposed to using a lab created Alexandrite stay within their budget.  When I opened the shipping box and saw the lab created Alexandrite, I knew the customer would not be disappointed.  It was a beautiful purple-blue color in the natural light and changed to a deeper blue under fluorescent lighting.  The stone was perfectly proportioned for the mounting the couple selected and looked even better once it was set in the Continuum silver.

The next step was to choose an inlay material to complement the Alexandrite. They chose for us to inlay the engagement ring mounting with lab created opal.  It is also a budget friendly option compared to genuine Australian opal and has the added benefit of being more durable and crack resistant.  We have quite a few lab opal color and pattern options available and the couple selected a very vibrant piece that looked great with the Alexandrite.  The opal fires and flashes blue, green, red, orange and gold.  The opal dances and the colors roll as you move the ring and change the angle the light enters the opal.  The combination of the color change Alexandrite and the lab opal makes for a very dynamic and stunning engagement ring.

When you complete a customized ring, especially one as important as an engagement ring,  you are always critically judging it and hoping that it meets the customer’s expectations.  Not just the quality of the craftsmanship, but overall “look” of the ring.  We were very excited about the finished product and were happy to hear from the customer that he and his fiancée were delighted with their new ring.  We will be making a matching lab opal wedding band soon!

Contact us to get started on your perfect ring idea!

John Hileman

(623) 518-6588


Caring for Your Sterling Silver Inlay Jewelry

Turquoise wedding ring and engagement ring set in sterling silver.

Turquoise wedding ring set shown with white sapphire and turquoise engagement ring in Continuum sterling silver.

Unlike gold or platinum jewelry, your sterling silver jewelry needs some special care to stay as beautiful as the day you brought it home.  However, keeping your sterling silver jewelry looking good does not have to be a chore.  Silver jewelry can tarnish under the right conditions.  Your sterling silver jewelry is 92.5% pure silver with copper or other metals added to make the silver more durable.  The copper in the sterling silver alloy reacts with moisture and sulfur in the air to oxidize or tarnish the surface of the jewelry. Your silver jewelry will tarnish faster in areas of high humidity and air pollution.  Other agents such as hairspray, lotion, perfume, deodorant and other chemicals can accelerate the tarnishing process as well.  Some people’s body chemistry can also contribute to rapid tarnishing.

One of the easiest solutions to prevent your silver jewelry from tarnishing is to wipe your rings or other jewelry with a jewelry polishing cloth.  The best polishing cloths have two layers  or sheets.  One sheet is treated with chemicals that clean and whiten the silver.  The second layer is a soft cloth that is great for rubbing and buffing the piece of jewelry to maintain its luster.  If you use your polishing cloth on a regular basis you should be able to prevent tarnish from ever forming on your jewelry.  As an added precaution, some people find that storing their silver jewelry in an airtight plastic bag keeps tarnish at bay.  This may be a great solution for customers who do not wear a particular piece of jewelry very often and storing it in a plastic bag may not only prevent it from tarnishing but also protect it from being scratched by other jewelry in your collection.

If you discover that your inlaid sterling silver jewelry has stubborn tarnish build up that just won’t wipe away, there are several things you should not attempt.  Do not dip your sterling silver jewelry in a tarnish removing liquid or rub a tarnish removing cream on your jewelry if it has inlay, enamel  or other sensitive gemstones on it.  The tarnish remover could damage the stones or the epoxy used to secure the inlay in place.  The same is true for an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.  While ultrasonic cleaners are great to remove “gunk” buildup around your gemstones, the powerful high-frequency sound waves can damage the epoxy holding the inlay in place, damage enameling and harm some gems.  No inlay jewelry should ever be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner and you should always consult a jeweler to see which gemstones are safe for ultrasonic cleaning.  The best way to remove stubborn tarnish is to take you silver jewelry to a jeweler and they will use a polishing compound with a buffing wheel will to make short work of the tarnish.

These measures will help your silver inlay jewelry stay looking great and tarnish free but the most important step is preventing damage to the inlay while wearing your jewelry.  Earrings and pendants are rarely damaged from everyday wear but rings can easily be nicked, scratched or dented from the objects your hands come into contact with on a daily basis. Silver is the softest of all the precious metals so some care must be taken to prolong the life of your favorite silver ring.  Some activities will be detrimental to both the inlay and the metal in your sterling silver ring.  Remove your ring before gardening, yard work, swimming, rock climbing, weight lifting or any activity that could jeopardize your ring or  possibly injure your finger if your ring gets caught or crushed.  A little common sense will go a long way toward keeping your silver inlay ring damage free.  The above suggestions will keep your jewelry looking good longer as well as extend the life of your jewelry.  Eventually, your inlaid stones and the silver will lose their luster and it will be time to send the ring or jewelry back to the maker to be refinished.

Shop our top quality silver inlay jewelry at and read about our tarnish resistant Continuum silver option.



Yes, We Can Make Your Ring in Gold!

Many customers stumble on to our silver jewelry website and don’t realize that we also make gold jewelry.  All of the sterling silver jewelry you see on our Hileman Silver Jewelry website, including our popular dinosaur bone rings and turquoise engagement rings, can be ordered in 14 karat white or yellow gold.  We also work in stainless steel, platinum and rose gold.  Sterling silver is the softest of all the precious metals so we recommend that you upgrade to 14k gold for added durability if your budget allows.  Gold will hold up better for daily wear and will provide a more secure setting for your gemstones.  If your budget doesn’t allow for gold, you should consider upgrading from standard sterling silver to Continuum silver for some added durability and tarnish resistance.  Because gold prices fluctuate and larger ring sizes require more gold, we don’t have prices for 14k gold upgrades shown on our silver jewelry website.  Contact us with your ring size and we will give you a price to upgrade to white or yellow gold, rose gold or platinum.

Here are some examples of our ring designs in upgraded metals.  This turquoise engagement ring is one of our most popular engagement rings in sterling silver but is even more stunning in 14 karat gold.

Turquoise engagement ring with Forever One Moissanite.

Turquoise engagement ring with .70 carat Moissanite set in 14 karat yellow gold by Hileman Silver Jewelry.


Here is a great example of turquoise inlaid in 14 karat rose gold.  This was a special order ring and the first ring we have made with turquoise and rose gold together.  What do you think?

Turquoise wedding ring in 14k rose gold.

Rose gold turquoise wedding band by Hileman Silver Jewelry. Yes, we work in rose gold as well as white and yellow gold!

Contact us with your ring size or sizes for a price quote to upgrade your favorite jewelry design to 14k gold or platinum.  All of our ring designs are made to order in your specific ring size so please allow us 4 to 6 weeks to make your new ring.  Call us with questions at (623) 518-6588.

Shop our websites below!

New Man’s Black Onyx and Lab Opal Ring Added to Our Men’s Ring Line

Bold black onyx and lab opal ring in sterling silver by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

Bold black onyx and lab opal ring in sterling silver by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

We just added this handsome new man’s lab opal ring to our men’s ring line.  The ring features four pieces of black onyx and a center piece of lab created opal precisely inlaid in sterling silver.  The lab opal fires blues and greens with flashes of orange from some angles.  This ring design is fairly wide, measuring about 10mm wide at the top with a slight taper toward the bottom.  The ring has a nice weight and is designed to allow the silver to be refinished many times if needed.  The metal is sterling silver but the ring can be custom made in white or yellow gold, 316L stainless steel or platinum for an additional charge.  Because all of our rings are made to order in your specific ring size, you also have the option to make changes to the inlay stones used, the inlay pattern or the metal used.  We have other opal color choices available for the lab opal center stone or other stone choices if lab opal is not for you.  Your new ring will take 4 to 6 weeks to create so please plan ahead if you have a specific date for delivery.  This bold ring is now available at so head over and take a closer look at this stunning new design.

Thank you!

John Hileman

Hileman Silver Jewelry

New Turquoise Wedding Ring Set Options

Turquoise and moissanite wedding and engagement ring set.

Turquoise and moissanite engagement ring and wedding ring set.

We have recently added several new choices for turquoise wedding ring sets.  The first wedding ring set is a matching engagement and wedding ring set inlaid with blue turquoise with a moissanite center stone.  The channel set round moissanite is .68 carats and is a bright white color with fire that rivals that of a diamond at a much more affordable price.  This turquoise ring set is inlaid in sterling silver but can also be made in 14k white or yellow gold.  A new sterling silver alloy (Continuum) is also available for a small upgrade charge.  We highly recommend upgrading to Continuum sterling silver for the added durability and tarnish resistance over standard sterling silver.  We have several men’s rings that can be inlaid in turquoise to make a matching his and hers wedding ring set .  Check out this new turquoise wedding and engagement ring set at or on our Etsy shop!



Turquoise wedding ring set with white sapphires by Hileman.

Matching turquoise wedding ring set with white sapphire accents set in sterling silver by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

The second turquoise wedding ring set features plain blue turquoise accented by white sapphires.  The turquoise is the perfect turquoise blue inlaid on each side of the triangle shaped inset in the center.  Inside the inset are 3 pave` set white sapphires totaling .09 carats in her ring and .12 carats in his wedding band.  The white sapphires add just the right amount of bling to the ring and set below the level of the inlay giving the ring a low profile that makes it ideal for everyday wear.  For a little more sparkle in your wedding ring, the white sapphires can be upgraded to moissanite for a small additional charge.  Moissanite is a lab created gemstone that has more scintillation than a diamond at a much more affordable price.  This turquoise wedding ring set also looks great in 14 karat white gold.  Contact us with your ring sizes for a quote in the upgraded metal.  This great new turquoise ring set is available in our Etsy shop.  Stop by and check it out!

Wedding Season is Here!

Dinosaur bone wedding ring set with black diamonds.

Dinosaur bone wedding ring set with black diamond accents.

Wedding season is here and this is typically our busiest time of the year for making wedding rings for our customers.  If you are searching for a unique symbol of your love and commitment, our handmade inlay wedding rings are a great choice.  All of our rings are created by hand in our Arizona jewelry studio using only the finest materials and craftsmanship.  We offer a wide range of inlay stone choices including turquoise, dinosaur bone, black onyx and lab created opal and many other colorful stones with or without colorful gemstones to accent the inlay.  Take a minute to browse through our website and check out our wedding ring designs and keep in mind that any of the ring designs you see on our site can be made in sterling silver, yellow or white gold, stainless steel or platinum.  Many of our customers choose our dinosaur bone bands as their wedding rings with our turquoise wedding rings being a close second.  We have a variety of dinosaur bone colors to choose from ranging from grays to reds.  What could be more unique than a dinosaur bone wedding ring!  Our wedding ring designs are made to order in your specific ring size, inlay stone choice and metal selection so we will need 4 to 6 weeks of lead time to get your rings completed in time.  All of our rings are available in his and hers, hers and hers, and his and his wedding sets.  If by chance you don’t see exactly the ring you are looking for, contact us about making the custom wedding ring of your dreams.

Lab Created Opal Ring Information

Our laCS030 lab sapphire and moissanite lab opal 1- croppedb created opal rings are becoming a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings despite many of our customers being hesitant to choose lab created opal over natural opal.   Most people have only seen the cheap mass produced lab opal jewelry at craft fairs and on the internet and don’t like the uniform look of the opal.  Our lab opal jewelry and rings are different.  Read why here!  Head over to our lab opal jewelry website and check out our jewelry.

Getting an Accurate Ring Size for Your Inlay Ring

Gray dinosaur bone ring with white sapphires in sterling silver

Ring inlaid with gray dinosaur bone by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

You’ve found that perfect ring online and now you are ready to select your ring size.  You pause as you think back to a couple of years ago when you bought your last ring.  Was I a size 7 or 7 1/2?  I have gained a couple of pounds over the holidays…let’s just go with a size 8.  Guessing and guessing wrong is not a disaster with traditional gold and gemstone rings.  In most cases, if your ring arrives and it is too big or too small, you can take it to a local jeweler and pay to have it sized to your correct ring size.  This is not the case with inlay rings.

Rings inlaid with just about any inlay material are difficult to size without damaging the inlay.  The first issue is the epoxy that secures the pieces of inlay in the ring’s inlay channel.  The epoxy is quite hard with very little flexibility and bending the ring to make it larger or smaller puts stress on the epoxy.  This stress can cause the bond between the inlay material and the ring mounting to be compromised which could lead to one or all of the inlay pieces falling out.  This same stress can also cause the inlay pieces to crack if they break before the epoxy does.  For a jeweler to avoid stressing the inlay and epoxy, all of the bending of the metal to make the ring smaller or larger needs to be done in the bottom half of the ring where there is not any inlay.

laser welder

You really need a laser welder to size inlay rings.

Even if the jeweler is successful in bending the ring to the correct size, there is still one more critical step- joining the metal back together.  Traditional rings would just be soldered back together using a torch but inlay rings cannot tolerate that kind of heat.  The heat from the torch will ruin the epoxy and most likely scorch the inlay materials.  The only good option to rejoin the metal is a laser welder.  A laser welder produces highly localized heat so the jeweler can work safely on the bottom part of the ring and not damage the inlay.  More and more jewelers are using laser welders and some will be willing to try to size your inlay ring if you are willing to risk the possible damage.  All of this sizing drama and expense can be avoided by getting your finger sized accurately before ordering your new inlay ring.

The easiest and most accurate way to measure your finger size is to visit a local jewelry store and ask them to determine your ring size.  You may want to visit more than one jeweler just to confirm your size.  It is important to use a sizer that is approximately the same width as the ring you intend to purchase.  It is also important to use a sizer that is comfort fit if you are shopping for a comfort fit band.  You may wear a smaller size in a comfort fit band than a non-comfort fit band.  The only other acceptable and accurate method is to take a ring that currently fits (the finger your new ring will be worn on) to a jeweler and have them determine the size of the ring or you could ship the ring to be used for size reference to the jeweler that will be making your new inlay ring.  The jeweler can then measure the size of the ring with the same measuring tool that will be used to make your inlay ring.

Other methods for determining your ring size are not accurate enough for inlay rings.  Some of the big chain jewelers recommend the string test, the paper test or the secret test.  The string test involves wrapping a string around your finger and then measuring the length of the string and matching the measurement to a chart to determine your ring size.  This method is very inaccurate and doesn’t take into consideration the width of the ring or


Paper finger sizers are NOT accurate!

the size of your knuckle.  The paper test asks you to print and cut out a paper finger sizer.  You then cut a slit on one end of the paper strip and insert the other end through the slit and pull it snug around your finger.  All you have to do next is read the tiny numbers and marks on the paper to determine your ring size.  What could possibly go wrong!  The secret test is recommended if you are trying to surprise your loved one with a ring and don’t know their size.  The first challenge is going to be finding a ring that you know currently fits and fits the finger you want them to wear it on.  The next step is printing a sizing chart with circles representing different ring sizes.  Just lay the ring over the circles until you find the one that is closest to the same size.  Keep in mind that just a small error of 0.4mm could mean you are 1/2 of a size off which could mean the ring falls off or won’t even go over the knuckle.  We have experimented with these methods and found them to be highly inaccurate with errors of half a size up to a whole size.  Again, these inaccuracies are not a big deal for a traditional ring but are not acceptable for an inlay ring.

What if I do every thing right and my new inlay ring still doesn’t fit?  It’s not the end of the world.  If at all possible it is best to avoid cutting and sizing the ring to mitigate the risk of damaging any of the inlay.  If the ring is too big or spins after going over the knuckle, small sizing balls or a sizing pillow can be laser welded inside the shank (bottom) of the ring to snug it up.  This method also allows for the balls or pillow to be removed should the wearer gain weight.  If the ring is a just a little snug, it may be possible to grind some of the metal from the inside of the ring to loosen it up a little.  Getting sized by a jeweler increases the odds that any sizing error will be small and less risky to correct.  In some cases where the customer uses inaccurate methods to determine their ring size the sizing error is so far off that the ring cannot be resized and a new ring would have to be made.

About Us…

We are inlay jewelry experts. We have been creating inlay jewelry since 1974 and would love to help you with all your inlay jewelry needs.  Contact us to get started building your new inlay ring, wedding ring or engagement ring.  We specialize in dinosaur bone, turquoise, lab created opal and Australian opal inlaid in sterling silver, gold, platinum and stainless steel.

Visit or to see our creations.