How do I care for my Australian opal jewelry?
Caring for an Australian opal involves several precautions to ensure it remains beautiful and undamaged. Here are some guidelines to care for your opal:
1. **Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes**: Rapid temperature changes can cause opals to crack due to thermal stress. Be cautious about moving them from an extremely cold to a hot environment or vice versa. This is rarely an issue for smaller stones, large stones can be affected due to internal stresses.
2. **Limit Exposure to Water**: While solid Australian opals aren’t susceptible to water like Ethiopian opal, it's still a good idea to avoid prolonged exposure to water when wearing doublets or triplets. Don't wear your opal jewelry while showering, swimming, or doing dishes. Here at World Class Opal our ‘inlaid doublets’ are made with the gold and silver bezels tightly wrapped and sealed around any joins, creating an extra layer of security against ingress of moisture and chemicals etc.
3. **Keep Away from Harsh Chemicals**: Chemicals found in cleaning agents, perfumes, and cosmetics can damage opals. Always remove your opal jewelry before using such products. (This mostly applies to Ethiopian hydrophane opal as it is porous).
4. **Avoid Physical Impact**: Opals are relatively soft and can scratch, chip, or even crack upon impact. Ensure you take off your opal jewelry during rigorous activities.
5. **Storage**: Store opals separately from other jewelry to prevent them from being scratched by harder gemstones. A soft pouch or a jewelry box with separate compartments is ideal. If the environment is too dry, consider storing them with a damp piece of cotton to maintain some humidity.
6. **Clean Gently**: Use a soft, damp cloth to clean your opal. If you need to use a mild soap, ensure you rinse the soap off thoroughly. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners and jewelry cleaning chemicals.
7. **Limit Sunlight Exposure**: Prolonged exposure to strong light can cause some opals to fade or lose their play-of-color. It's a good idea to store them in a dark place when not in use. (Extremely rare in Australian opal).
8. **Take Special Care with Doublets & Triplets**: If you have opal doublets or triplets, the epoxy that holds the layers together can be compromised by prolonged exposure to acids formed by detergent or high temperatures immersion.
Ensure they don't get soaked or exposed to extreme heat.
9. **Rehydration Myths**: Some believe that opals need to be soaked periodically to prevent cracking. This is not typically necessary for Australian opals and can harm doublets or triplets.
10. **Regular Inspection**: If your opal is set in a ring or pendant, periodically check the setting to ensure it's secure. With time, settings can loosen, posing a risk of losing the opal.
By following these care tips, you can ensure that your Australian opal remains as dazzling as the day you acquired it.