Opal Jewellery Care Guide
So you have your Opal jewellery, but how can you maintain that stunning fiery opalescence that attracted you to the stone?
Opal is comprised of silica and water and when it’s mined it can contain as much as 20% water, which will continue to evaporate throughout the existence of the opal. To counter this it’s recommended that solid opals be dipped in pure water (without soaps, salt or other additives) often, to keep it from dehydrating. If it does dry out too much then a network of fine lines (craze) develops across it’s surface and the stone may crack.
- Opal is a soft stone and can be easily scratched.
- Due to it’s water content, opals can break when subjected to extreme or sudden temperature changes.
- Clean using just pure water.
- Avoid jewellery cleaners or ultrasonic cheaners, which are likely to destroy your opal.
- Remove Opal jewellery when using chemicals (inc. house cleaning products), gardening or at the beach (sand can scratch them).
- Wait for all creams, hair sprays or deodorants to dry before putting on your opal jewellery (last on-first off when dressing). If they do come in contact wipe clean with a soft cloth.
- Water will not damage a solid opal but may damage a doublet or triplet which is glued together in layers.
Storing Opal Jewellery
- When not in use store your Opal jewellery in a separate pouch or box to keep it safe from other stones or metal that could scratch it.
- Don’t store in a plastic bag, as opals need to breathe. Instead, try wrapping them in soft cloth or leather to protect them and also allow the air to circulate around them.
- Don’t store your Opal jewellery away too long as changes to temperature and moisture levels can cause wear and even damage over time.
Annual Opal Care
It’s recommended expensive stones receive an annual clean and check that their settings are not broken or damaged, risking an expensive stone becoming loose and falling out. The frequency is relative to how much wear a piece of jewellery gets and how delicate the item is.
A yearly check of fine jewellery is usually recommended.
Long Term Care
Opals set in rings and used often may benefit from repolishing every few years to return their smoothness and lustre.
Settings for Opals
Its a fact that we love shiny sparkly gemstones, but not all gems are created with equal hardness and durability. That’s why some require a touch of special care to maintain their wearability long term. Its also true that some gems do not do well as everyday jewellery. There is a get around for these sometimes- for example Amber is a soft gemstone that can chip easily at around 2.5 hardness on the MOHS scale (MOHS- scale of mineral hardness). So Amber worn every day would be better in an earring, especially a stud, where getting bashed around is reduced to a minimum, rather than something like a bracelet or a ring, that would get knocked far more frequently.
There is another ‘get-around’ that can help too… the setting that holds the stone. Some settings provide far more protection than others, and this can make a big difference in wear and tear too. Opal Care
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