Caring for my Opal
Taking care of your opal is easy. All it takes is a little bit of common sense and some knowledge about opals.
Before deciding how to best care for your opal, you need to be aware of the type of opal you have;
Doublets – Doublet opals consist of two layers, a thin slice of opal, and a black backing. The slice of opal is cemented to the backing to enhance the colour.
Triplets – Similar to doublets, triplets also include a third transparent layer on the top (quartz or glass) to protect the opal and give it a rounder shape.
Solid Opal – Natural solid opal which has only been cut and polished.
Caring for your Opal
Solid Opals – Opal is a soft stone, approximately the same hardness as glass (around 6.5 on Moh’s hardness scale), so it is essential to treat your opal carefully 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. Most precious opals contain about 5-6% water. As a result, opal may crack if subjected to arid conditions or rapid temperature changes. Try to avoid very high temperatures or low humidity extremes, such as boiling water or zero humidity bank vaults.
Doublets & Triplets – Caring for doublets or triplets is a little different from caring for solid opals. Always remove your opal jewellery if there is a chance it will be scratched or broken (i.e., working in the garden, moving furniture, etc.) Because doublets and triplets consist of multiple layers glued together, prolonged exposure to water will eventually cause lifting between the layers and water infiltration. A doublet or triplet will take on a ‘foggy’ or grey 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 a mild detergent in warm water and a soft toothbrush or cloth. Avoid bleach, chemicals, and cleaners. Doublets & triplets may be wiped with a soft damp 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 that has become dull or scratched, and we can also check for claw damage and ensure the setting's security.
If you need to store your opal away for some time, place it in a padded cloth bag for protection and store it away. For more extended 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 (as opal is impervious). Still, it will prevent water from coming out of the stone if exposed to shallow humidity environments (for example, zero humidity storage safes).
We hope this guide has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our customer service centre at https://wallacebishop.com.au/contact