4 Ways to Care for Your Opal Treasures

October 07, 2020

Opal, Sapphire & Diamond Ring 18kt White Gold

By Chelsea Reed

October is here, and you know what that means. It’s time for gorgeous opals to take the spotlight! Opal is the birthstone for October. Its fascinating rainbow-like sheen is a thoughtful gift for loved ones this time of year. We’ll share with you some cleaning and care tips to help your opal treasures last longer. 

1. Soap and Water are Your Friends

A gorgeous vintage (1960s) 14K yellow gold bracelet set with twelve natural solid oval cabochon opals.

Did you know that opals can have up to 21% water inside? Most opals on the gem market contain one to six percent water. If your opal gets dirty or needs spruced up, wash it with a soft cloth and a mild solution of soap and water. Never insert them in an electronic jewelry cleaner. Opals are sensitive to temperature changes, so ensure that the water is room temperature when you wash them. 

2. Opals Don’t Like the Kitchen

When an opal is exposed to high heat, the water molecules evaporate and the stone forms cracks called ‘crazes.’ Though an opal contains water, you don’t want to submerge it in water, either. The glue that fastens the opal jewelry could dissolve away. Kitchens are a source of both no-nos, so it’s best to set your opal jewelry aside when you’re busy in the kitchen.

3. They Don’t Like Household Chores, Either

If an opal could have an occupation, it would probably be a princess. It certainly wouldn’t be a maid. Chemical cleaners can attack its structure, so don’t wear opals while you’re cleaning. They also dislike household dust. If you do see dirt or dust on your opal, resist the temptation to rub it off. Clean them with a cloth and soapy water instead. Opals are softer than household dust on the Moz hardness scale! They can rate from 5 to 6.5. Their delicate surfaces scratch a bit easier than other gemstones, so it’s better to save them for special occasions. Opals love meetings and dinner nights out.  

4. Treat Them Like Pearls

If you haven’t figured it out by now, opals are rather fussy stones. But don’t despair! If you’re not sure what to do, just remember that proper opal care is similar to pearl care. Pearls are much softer on the Moz scale, 2.5 to 4.5! If you can take care of pearls, then opals are no problem for you. 

Sitting Pretty With Opal

Ancient cultures have been mesmerized by opal for thousands of years. Though delicate by nature, opals can last a long time with a little proper care. Check out Seaside Art Gallery’s gorgeous opal estate jewelry. Who knows, maybe your opal treasure will last the next thousand years! 

Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina

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