How To Care For Opals

Opal is a unique hydrated October birthstone gem. It is predominantly found in Australia. Like Pearl jewelry, opal makes beautiful heirlooms that can be passed down generations. It is essential to clean your opal regularly and adequately. To better understand how to care for your opals, you need to understand the different types.

  • Solid Opal- It is a natural opal that has been cut and polished.
  • Doublets- Like its name, it has a double layer of a thin slice and a black backing to enhance the color.
  • Triplets- It will have the two layers of a doublet opal and a third transparent layer on the top made of glass or quartz that gives a rounder shape and protects the other layers.

How To Care For Your Opal

Solid Opals

Opal requires proper care since they are soft with a hardness of around 6.5 on the Mohs Scale. Protect your opal from scratches by removing the jewelry when doing work that may scratch them. The solid opal contains about 5-6% water and may crack in dry conditions. Lastly, avoid high temperatures and low humidity.

Doublets and Triplets

Unlike solid opals, doublets and triplets will be destroyed by water. Due to its layers, continued exposure to water will ruin the glue holding them together. It will cause lifting of the layers, foggy appearance, and water infiltration.

Opal Cleaning Step-By-Step

  1. Prepare warm soapy water using lukewarm water and mild detergent.
  2. Wipe your solid opals with a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water.
  3. For doublets and triplets, wipe with a soft dry cloth and do not immerse them.
  4. Brush the opals with a soft toothbrush or a cloth to maintain the finish. You could use a little toothpaste to brush your opal back to its brilliance.

How To Keep The Opals Looking New

Things To avoid

Never clean your opal using ultrasonic cleaner since the vibrations will crack a solid opal and lead to water penetration in triplet and doublet opals. When cleaning, avoid using harsh chemicals like caustic. Moreover, take your opals off when handling chemicals since they may discolor or deform your jewelry.

Proper Storage of Opals

When storing opals, store them in a padded cloth bag for temporary storage. For long-term storage, place the opal in cotton with a few drops of water and into a sealed plastic bag for safety. The water ensures the opals remain hydrated without soaking.

Visiting a Professional 

Professional cleaning and repair will ensure that your opals maintain their shine and integrity. Visit a professional once a year. 

At Scott & Co. Fine Jewelers, we have professionals who are experts at taking care of gemstones such as opals and pearls. Visit us yearly for cleaning, inspection, and repair. For more inquiries about opals, contact us.