Many people would agree that opal is magnificent and unique gem. Also, many people believe that opal is a very delicate stone. But they are only partly right. The fact that Queen Victoria’s opal collection is still as beautiful as it used to be, proves that with proper care this gemstone can retain original look for an indefinite period of time. This 60 million years old stone known for its beauty is also called the Queen of the gems. Opals are mainly mined in southern Australia, yet they can be found in some parts of South America and Europe. More than 90% of all opals at the world market come from the mines in Australia. All owners of this "living" stone must be aware of the fact that opals can dry if not treated with proper care. Avoid exposure to heat and chemicals as they can alter the appearance or crack the stone.
Known as the rainbow stone, opal is in constant need for touching. Natural oils in human skin help opal to maintain its lustrousness and moisture. Although opal is a mixture of water and silica, you should avoid water, especially water with detergent since soap and other chemicals can quickly dry out the opal. Good idea is to keep your opal jewelry out of swimming pools, steam rooms, beaches, saunas, hot tubs or bathtubs. It is highly recommended to take off your opal ring while working around the house or in the garden, because opals are soft and can be easily damaged. Opal has similar structure to that of the glass, so it is vulnerable to chipping and scratching. Sudden changes in temperature can also cause some damage to your opal. Don’t forget that little particles in the makeup act as abrasive material that can harm the shine of your gem, leaving it dull and unflattering to the eye. If you wear opal jewelry, don't use perfumes, deodorants or hairspray. Never store them with other pieces of jewelry, but in separate cases, packed in little bags made from soft fabric. This way they will keep their luster and shine for a long time.
When it comes to cleaning, the best way is to use a special jewelry cleaning and polishing cloth. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners because tiny vibrations may cause cracking. Use only soft cloth and soft brush. However, if you own a solid opal, immerse it from time to time in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of mild detergent and brush it gently. Of course, in a case you have a doublet or triplet, never use water or any other liquid for cleaning, as it can cause the adhesive between the stone layers to deteriorate. However, if some accident occurs and your opal gets scratched, don't hesitate to have it polished by a professional jeweler. He will help your damaged gem become luster and shiny again.
Don’t forget, this mysterious and impressive gemstone can look fresh for a long time if you treat it properly and with respect.
You may like: