Opals don’t require too much attention. Unlike faceted gemstones which will lose their brilliance if not kept quite clean, opals will maintain their brilliance for many, many years without attention. There are however a few tips and tricks which will keep your opal in perfect shape!
Before you can care for your opal, it is best to know what type of opal you have.
- Natural Solid Opal – A natural solid opal refers to black, boulder and white opals. They are referred to as solid because they are in the same state they were when they were mined, apart from being cut into shape and polished.
- Doublets – Doublet opals consist of two layers glued together – a thin slice of opal and a black backing. The slice of opal is cemented to the backing in order to enhance the colour.
- Triplets – Similar to doublets, triplets also include a third transparent layer on the top, often made out of quartz, plastic or glass.
Natural solid Opal
Natural solid opals are impervious to water, and so there is no concern with getting your opal jeweller wet. Many people believe that an opal should be immersed in water, but this does not relate to natural solid Australian opals.
Doublet and Triplet Opal
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. Once the water has damaged the glue layer, it will start to look cloudy. The occasional splash of rain or water will not cause this to happen – it will take prolonged exposure to cause water damage to a doublet or triplet. We do recommend removing your doublet or triplet before showering or washing the dishes, as hot water will accelerate this process.
As with most of our jewellery, we recommend taking your opal jewellery off before you visit the gym, or do high intensity workouts. The use of weights can apply pressure to the backs of rings causing them to go out of shape, which may put stress on the opal and over time will cause unnecessary wear and tear on the alloy or settings.
We also recommend you minimise exposure to sand, and dirt while at the beach or gardening, as this may scratch the opal.
We advise storing your opal pieces in a jewellery box with separate compartments for each item, or in a soft pouch / roll. It is important to make sure each article doesn’t rub against another because your diamond jewellery may scratch your opals, as well as causing scratches to the gold or platinum.
Maintenance and general care
When you take your opal pieces on or off, we recommend doing so over a carpeted floor or similar soft covering, to avoid accidental breakage from dropping on a hard floor.
Opals set into rings may build up light surface scratches over time, which may dull the appearance of the play of colour. Opals can be easily repolished, and often don’t even need to be removed from the setting. Pendants and earrings sustain less wear over time, and so will likely never need to be repolished. If you would like your opal repolished please get in touch.
We encourage our clients to have their jewels checked on a regular basis to make sure all is secure and to identify any unusual wear and tear.
Although opals don’t require a lot of cleaning to show their beauty, if your opal piece has diamonds in it as well, you may wish to clean your jewels at home. Please follow our instructions on cleaning your diamond jewellery here, making sure to avoid any large temperature fluctuations with the water. Luke warm water is ideal. It is not recommended to immerse opals in an ultrasonic cleaner.