Caring for your Opals
Solid Opals – Opal is a soft stone, approximately the same hardness as glass, 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. doing household chores)
Many people believe solid opals can be damaged by water – however, this only applies to doublets and triplets. Solid opals are fine in 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.
Doublets & Triplets – Caring for doublets or triplets is a little different to caring for solid opals. Because doublets and triplets consist of multiple layers glued together, prolonged exposure to water will eventually cause lifting between the layers and the infiltration of water. A doublet or triplet will take on a ‘foggy’ or grey appearance if this happens. It takes prolonged exposure to cause water damage to a doublet or triplet.
Opal jewellery requires no greater care than other jewellery mounted with stones such as Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, Tanzanite or Turquoise.
You should never wear any jewellery in rough conditions such as to the beach or during activities where it may get knocked by metal or hard objects (e.g. washing up).
In these conditions, stones get dislodged from their settings, gold gets scratched and stones get chipped (even diamonds) and Opal should be treated the same as all other stones – with respect.
Opal requires no special treatment or care. As with other stones, grime from wear can be wiped off with a damp tissue or cloth.
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 never 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 its shine or becomes scratched, bring it back to an opal cutter. After years of wear, small scratches and scuff marks cause an opal to lose its shiny polish and become dull looking. Professional polishing can bring new life to an opal which has become dull or scratched, and also check for claw damage and ensure the security of the setting.
If you need to store your opal away for a period of time, simply place it in a padded cloth bag for protection and store it away. For longer storage periods, place your opal in cotton wool with a few drops of water, then into a sealed plastic bag just to be safe. The water is not intended to soak into the stone but will prevent water coming out of the stone if it is exposed to very low humidity environments (for example, zero humidity storage safes).