Andrew Grima Opal Diamond Yellow Gold Ring, 1991
Grima via 1stdibs offers this fabulous ring designed by Andrew Grima in 1991. The Australian opal, described as a “harlequin”, is viewed as a very important stone, and it is indeed a stunning gem. The 14.46 carat opal is framed by 36 brilliant-cut diamonds set in platinum on top of a wall of heavily engraved yellow gold which surrounds and protects that marvellous gem.
The surface of the opal is substantially lower than the top of the corrugated gold wall, giving it a kind of “shade” that emphasises the blue (a receding colour anyway) and invokes thoughts of the still surface of water in a pond surrounded and shaded by trees and reflecting dappled light. Fanciful, I know, but it’s such an unusual and compelling structural treatment, that the mind seems determined to explore the visual possibilities.
One thing – is this a true harlequin opal? A harlequin pattern is extremely rare and prized. Looking at the photo, it seems to me to be a very beautiful black opal, with a lot of green and blue, and some red fire – which makes it especially valuable. I can’t see the defined forms that would make it a harlequin though. However, I am not an opal expert, so I will now close my remarks on this beautiful stone with a paragraph from Opal Auctions (below the image).
Signed GRIMA, London hallmarks for 1991
Harlequin Opal Definition
A true Harlequin pattern is a repeating pattern of contracting diamonds or elongated squares
The word Harlequin was a French word used in the 16th century to describe the comedian in an opera play commedia dell’arte and this character wore an outfit with irregular shapes in bight colours .
This pattern has been unique to black opals from Lightning Ridge and red fire is by far the most rare. Black Opal with a body tone of N1 with this pattern can be worth around $5,000 to $30,000 per carat on the opal fields.
(from Opal Auctions)