Caring For Your Opal

Black Fire Opal Ring, Lightning Ridge

CARING FOR YOUR OPAL

  • Wear it often it likes to breathe. Touch it often. It likes contact with the skin. the natural oils in your skin keeps the opal “moist” and lustrous. (Contrary to popular belief, true Australian opal is not porous and will not absorb contamination in perspiration or other bodily moisture.)
  • Do not wash dishes, clothes or other items with it on. Opals contain water. The harsh detergents in dish or laundry soaps can “dry” out the stone.
  • Do not wear opals in any type of hot tub, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, sauna, steam room, bath tub or shower. Exposure to prelong submersion in any water with or without detergents or chemicals will destroy opals.
  • Do not garden with it on. continuous contact with the soil can abrade the surface of your stone.
  • Do not clean your opal jewelry with ultrasonic device. Use plain water and a good, nonabrasive had or facial soap.
  • Do Not store your opal in oil or glycerin.

Solid Opal – Opal is a soft stone, approximately the same hardness as glass (around 6.5 on Moh’s hardness scale), so it is important to treat your opal carefully in order to avoid damaging it. Remove your opal jewellery if there is a chance it will be scratched or broken (i.e. working in the garden, moving furniture, etc.)

Many people believe solid opals can be damaged by water – however, this only applies to doublets and triplets.
Solid opals are fine in water. In fact, most precious opals contain about 5-6% water. As a result, opal may crack if subjected to very dry conditions or rapid changes in temperature. Try to avoid very high temperatures or low humidity extremes, such as boiling water or low humidity bank vaults.

Doublets & Triplets – Caring for doublets or triplets is a little different to caring for solid opals. Because doublets and triplets consist of multiple layers, prolonged exposure to water will cause lifting between the layers and the infiltration of water. A doublet or triplet will take on a ‘foggy’ appearance if this happens. This does not mean your opal will be ruined if you wear it in the shower once, or are caught in the rain. It takes prolonged exposure to cause water damage to a doublet or triplet.

CLEANING YOUR OPAL

Solid opal should be cleaned gently with mild detergent in warm water and a soft toothbrush or cloth. Avoid bleach, chemicals and cleaners. Doublets & triplets may be wiped with a damp soft cloth and mild detergent, but should not be soaked or immersed.

Never allow anyone to clean your opal in an ultrasonic cleaner, as the intense vibrations may cause cracking in a solid opal, and water penetration in a doublet or triplet.

If your stone loses shine or is scratched, bring it back to a trustworthy jeweller who is experienced in opal. Professional polishing can bring new life to an opal which has become dull or scratched, and we can also check for claw damage and ensure the security of the setting.

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