After years of working with top grade Australian opal in our jewelry, we have decided to expand our options to include lab created opal rings and jewelry. In recent years top quality natural Australian opal has become harder to obtain and the price has steadily increased to reflect its rarity. We realize that not everyone has the budget for Australian opal jewelry in 14 karat gold so we have decided to offer laboratory created opal as an affordable alternative in our silver and stainless steel rings and wedding ring sets. The lab created opal we are using in our lab opal rings is available in a variety of colors and rivals the fire and vibrant colors of natural opal. Laboratory grown opal has essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as natural opal with the exception of water content. Natural opal is composed of 5 to 15% water and man-made or synthetic opal contains no water. Instead the water is replaced with resin which increases the lab created opal’s strength and durability.
We hope that you will be as pleased with the look of this laboratory created opal as we are. We will be adding more rings with the new lab created opal color choices as soon as possible. Until then, here are a couple of examples of lab opal colors or you can visit our Flickr photo page for more photos. Keep in mind that any of our ring designs can be inlaid with the new lab created opal in the color of your choice.
We just finished this beautiful chrysoprase inlay ring with white sapphires set in sterling silver. Three pieces of apple green chrysoprase are inlaid in each side of this ring with 3 pave` set white sapphires in the center. The sparkling white sapphires total .09cts. and are in a triangle cluster. The ring is 5.6mm wide at the top and 3.2mm wide at the bottom (shank). The handmade chrysoprase ring in the photo is a size 7 1/4. All other sizes will be special orders and will take about 3 to 4 weeks to complete. You may customize this ring by substituting other inlay materials or other gemstones in place of the white sapphires. Additional charges will apply if your choices are an upgrade. This ring style is a popular choice for those looking for a unique and unusual wedding ring.
Chrysoprase is a rare form of chalcedony or quartz. Chrysoprase ranges from light to dark green but is most sought after in its striking apple green color. Chrysoprase is rare due to the fact that it is cryptocrystalline, meaning that instead of being formed by large six sided crystals, the size of the crystals are extremely small and cannot be seen as distinct particles under normal magnification. Chrysoprase has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Moh’s scale and is in the same stone family as agate, carnelian, and onyx. The best known sources of chrysoprase are Queensland Australia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Arizona, California, and Brazil.
A few weeks ago we purchased some fossilized red horn coral from a local gem dealer. He had acquired a nice quantity of the coral and thought it would be perfect for our inlay jewelry. We had never heard of red horn coral, but the nice range of red to pink colors and the dealer’s assurance that it would take a nice polish persuaded us to give it a try. Here is our first piece of jewelry utilizing the fossilized red horn coral. The coral we inlaid in this silver ring is a nice red-orange color with great depth. Fossilized horn coral is fairly hard and does indeed take a great polish. Check out the ring! http://www.shop.hilemansilverjewelry.com/Red-horn-fossil-coral-inlay-sterling-silver-ring-W106ssRedHornCoralOnyx.htm
Red fossilized horn coral and black onyx inlay ring in sterling silver
This red horn coral is from Utah and is about 390 million years old. A great inland sea once covered Utah and much of the western United States. As the earth evolved, the inland sea receded and sediments covered the coral reefs. Over time the structure of the ancient horn coral was fossilized and replaced by agate. The fossilized red horn coral is also known as rugosa coral. I will spare you the details but if you would like to read a more detailed description of horn coral go to http://www.palaeos.org/Rugosa.
Red fossilized horn coral rough
Here is a photo of some of the fossilized red horn coral rough we purchased. It is an interesting stone to cut and work with. It requires some thought and patience in cutting to maximize the yield and retain the beautiful pattern, but I think the resulting piece is worth it. Look for more red horn coral jewelry coming soon!
Man’s sterling silver handmade ring with black diamonds, dinosaur bone inlay and black onyx inlay.
We just completed this striking new man’s dinosaur bone ring design featuring black diamonds, dinosaur bone and black onyx set in sterling silver. This handsome bone ring has 3 round black diamonds weighing .30 carats channel set to one side of the ring, leaving a long section of the ring for inlay. The black diamonds look great with the inlaid black onyx and dinosaur bone. The ring is inlaid with 6 pieces of striking red celled dinosaur bone with black matrix. Four sections of black onyx divide up the red dinosaur bone and bring out the black matrix in the gem bone. This handcrafted dinosaur bone inlay ring is 8mm wide and tapers to 4.3mm at the bottom. It is hand signed “MMH” by Mark McBride Hileman and stamped sterling silver. The ring pictured is a size 10 1/4 but is available in other sizes by special order. This design may also be customized by changing the inlay stones or switching the black diamonds to white sapphires, white diamonds or blue sapphires. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for special orders on this ring. Gem dinosaur bone like this is becoming more difficult to find so start your collection today!