Caring for Your Opals

Caring for your opals begins with education.

When you purchase an opal, make sure to be informed of they type of opal you are buying; a doublet, triplet or solid opal. Doublet and triplet opals are both made up of separate parts. A doublet opal will have a layer of opal cemented to a backing in order to enhance the color of the opal. Triplets are similar to doublets but have an extra layer of glass or quartz on top to protect and add shape to the opal. Because these types of opals are made of layers, they should never be soaked, especially in hot water. Soaking doublet and triplet opals can weaken the cement bond and cause lifting between layers. When water comes between the layers, it can cause the opal to look foggy or grey. 



For solid opals, water is not an issue. In fact, opals contain 5% to 6% water, making it possible for them to dry out and crack. Solid opals should avoid high temperatures and low humidity extremes to prevent cracking of the opal. If you'll be storing your opal for a long time, storing it away in a sealed plastic bag with a damp paper towel can help prevent the opal from loosing its water content, thus keeping it from cracking. 
Your opals should never be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleanser. The intense vibrations can cause cracking in solid opals and water infiltration in doublet and triplet opals. Instead, use warm water with a mild detergent and a soft toothbrush to scrub solid opals and the same solution with a soft cloth to wipe doublet and triplet opals. Do not submerge or soak your doublet and triplet opals. Rubbing your opal with olive oil or baby oil will not extend the life of the stone, it will just leave you with an oily opal. While oily substances will have little effect on your opal, oil build up can effect the overall appearance of your jewelry . Always be sure to get your prongs and setting checked to ensure your opal is safe and secure. 

Romero's is always happy to check, clean and educate for free.