Some weeks ago I mentioned my dilemma regarding how to set a black opal that I purchased from the cutter some years ago. I am certain that I was able to purchase this opal only because the cutter was very angry with herself. She had purchased nobbies from Lightening Ridge, but did not think they were of high quality. After windowing a number of them she decided that there was no high quality material inside so she sliced the others without proper windowing first. Alas, she sliced through some of the finest black opal that she had ever imagined. After this through the middle, she was left with either cutting very small opals (probably less than a carat) or two moderately small, but poorly proportioned opals. She could not bring herself to destroy so much opal to get a small stone so she cut two opals--and sold them for a low price relative to the material quality and to what might have been! I was able to buy one of them.
It is a little over 3.5 carats (exact weight is in our records, which are elsewhere at the time). It is not large measuring approximately 12 mm by 8 mm by 5 mm high. It has a very high dome with sides that are for several mm perpendicular to the back and then curve in but at a very shallow angle. THere is a small sandpit about 2mm at its longest and about 1 mm at its maximum width (it is triangular in shape with a thin "tail". It is low on one side of the dome and probably could be concealed when set.
This opal has full color on both back and front. In fact the back (flat) side has some of the finest, brightest multicolor fire that can be found in an opal. This opal is an opaque black--highest rating on the LR miner's scale. I will not describe the way it looks any further but upload some photographs that I was recently able to obtain. (My attempts at photographing it were lousy to say the least.)
I will follow up with my thinking, and the options that I have considered in setting it a bit later. The first thought was to have it set so a pendant could be rotated to show either side. I have imagined another option--more on that later--note that it is probably impossible or at least difficult to accomplish. Any thoughts are welcome.
First the "face" with the high dome, note the sandpit on one side