Caring for your Opals
Solid Opal is a soft stone so please treat gently to avoid damaging it
Caring for -
Most precious opals contain about 5-6% water, therefore, an 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 storing your gems in bank vaults or safes with very low humidity.
Solid opal can be cleaned gently with a mild detergent in lukewarm water and a soft cloth. Do not use strong chemicals and cleaners.
Never place your opals in an ultrasonic cleaner, as the intense vibrations may cause cracking in a solid opal, and water penetration in a doublet or triplet.
Small scratches and scuff marks can cause an opal to lose its shiny polish and become dull looking. If this is the case with your stones a professional polisher should be contacted to bring it back to life.
To store, simply place your opal in a soft cloth bag for protection and place it in a safe place where it won’t be knocked. If you need to store your stones in a very low humidity safe or vault, first wrap your opal in cotton wool with a few drops of water, then into a sealed plastic bag just to be safe. As the opal is impervious, the water will not soak into the but it will prevent water coming out of the stone.
Exceptions to the above -
If your opal isn’t a Solid but is a Doublet or Triplet style the care is a little different.
- A Doublet is a thin layer of opal glued over a dark base to enhance its colours.
- A Triplet has a third clear layer (generally glass or clear Quartz) glued to the top to provide a rounded shape and protect the actual stone.
Because these consist of multiple layers glued together, prolonged exposure to water will eventually cause lifting between the layers and the infiltration of water causing a ‘foggy’ or grey appearance.
Forgetting and wearing it in the shower once or being caught in the rain shouldn’t do any damage but do not expose your Doublet or Triplet opals to prolonged water exposure>
To clean Doublets or Triplets, they may be wiped with a damp soft cloth and mild detergent, but should never be soaked or immersed in water.