Caring For Opal
Opal has been a valuable part of human adornment for centuries. Opals are generally famous for displaying amazing rainbow colors. It is also described as the play-of-color. Silica gets formed in many ways to produce this gem. It also has quite a unique chemical composition that demands special attention and care.
TAKE A STEP BACK
First, we should identify our opal. It's an added advantage when it comes to taking care of this gorgeous gemstone.
TYPES OF OPALS
Opals are categorized into three parts:
Solid or Natural Opal: This name is mainly used by the opal dealers to differentiate the formation process of different opal types. Technically, the name 'solid opal' has replaced by the name "natural opal" in the official opal nomenclature.
Opal Doublets: As the name suggest, this variety of opal consist of two layers. A thin layer of precious opal gemstone that gets merged to a piece of black opal or ironstone. The second layer act as a protective layer. The fastest way to identify an Opal doublet is to turn it on the side and look for a joint between the opal and the backing.
Opal Triplets: Triplets have a third transparent layer included on the top to keep the gemstone protected and give it a rounder shape.
Cleaning and Caring for your Opal
Natural Opals – Opal is a soft stone, should be cleaned gently with a mild detergent in warm water with a soft toothbrush or cloth. Moreover, avoid bleach, chemicals, and cleaners.
Most people thought that solid opals could get damaged by water. However, this gem is fine in water. Most precious opals contain about 5-6% of water. They may crack if exposed to arid conditions or rapid temperature changes.
Doublets & Triplets – Caring for doublet or triplet opals are a little different. Doublets and triplets have multiple layers glued together. Extensive exposure to water may weaken the bond of gem's layers. You can instantly identify it when you notice a 'foggy' or grey appearance. After wearing it for years, small scratches and scuff marks are quite natural. It makes the opal lose its shiny polish. You can avoid it with the regular care and cleaning of your gems.
QUICK TIPS TO CARE FOR OPAL
- Remove opal jewelry before indulging in any physical activity.
- Keep it protected from scratches and blows as exposed corners can chip.
- Restrict exposing your opals to harsh cleansers, abrasive chemicals, acids, or oils.
- Gently clean with mild detergent water and a soft toothbrush or cloth, and rinse to remove any residue.
- Opals are very porous; do not soak them.
- They must not be stored in a too dry atmosphere.
- Periodic exposure to heat maintains its beauty.
- Make sure to inspect your opals regularly.