Caring for opals is not a mind-numbing drill as preserving pearls. With pearls, it’s always a skate on thin ice. But with opals, it’s significantly lesser trouble. However, that doesn’t excuse an owner from doing the right things. Even opals can lose its scintillation if cleaned improperly or preserved in unsuitable environments. If you own a few opal jewelry, then you must know the specific routines that keep these little gems shining for life. Let’s take a look at the ideal care routine for opals and opal jewelry.
A Monthly Bath
Opal needs cleaning every now and then, depending on how frequently or rarely you wear them, your opal studded ornaments need to be cleaned. Cleaning opals is not a difficult job. Nor is it any different from how you clean the rest of your gems. Soak them in a warm soapy dip for 10 minutes or more before giving them a soft brush. Be gentle and use a soft-bristled brush only. Try not to clean your opal jewelry with your other baubles to avoid scratching. Ovals have spready surfaces that are susceptible to scratches. So be careful not to chafe it when cleaning. Once cleaned, hold them under running tap water for rinsing. Wipe them dry using a clean soft cloth, and you are good to go.
What to Avoid
Opals are best cleaned at home using these simple techniques. Opals are not exactly comfortable so to speak with ultrasonic cleaning techniques. They are also easily reactive to chemical cleansers. So unless you know everything about the cleaning process, avoid sending them over for a professional cleaning. Understand that opals are a lot more delicate than diamonds, and in most cases, they do not require thorough cleaning for a shine-up.
Try not to wear your opal jewelry when doing something that involves chemicals or dirt. So, if it’s time for gardening, it’s also time to take off your opal baubles. If it’s a ring or bangle, take it off when doing dishes. Opals are not the best gems to sustain harsh environments.
Busting the Myths
Australian opals are quite tough. There is a myth that oil can affect Australian opals adversely. There is no known evidence of that. Opals can safely come in contact with oil without losing its reflectivity or iridescence. Solid opals are impervious, and can thereby be soaked in water without worrying. However, it is only Matrix opals that are porous, and thereby not the best thing to soak in water.