Cleaning opal set jewellery at home

What are opals?

Opals are a relatively soft gem stone. They are unusual because they contain water ( between 3 and 21%) and are a form of silica. Opals are often beautifully coloured.

In jewellery opals may be:

  • Solid, one piece of opal shaped and polished
  • A doublet, a thin slice of opal glued onto backing stone
  • A triplet, a thin slice of opal glued between a clear crystal top and a backing stone
  • A mosaic opal, small pieces of opal glued together, then shaped and polished
Solid white opal
Solid white opal

Solid opals are the least problematic for cleaning. Triplets are the most problematic. Regardless of which type of opal you have, special care should be taken when cleaning. Doublets and triplets can easily de-laminate if wet, they can not be repaired if this happens.

Mosaic opal
Mosaic opal

Opals the never gem stone:

  • Never use silver dip on opal jewellery
  • Never use an ultrasonic to clean opal jewellery
  • Never use a steam cleaner to clean opal jewellery
  • Never soak opal jewellery
  • Never use hot water to clean opal jewellery
  • Never use cleaning solutions containing alcohol, acetone or ammonia on opal jewellery

Polishing opal jewellery

Opals can be easily scratched, so caution is required when using polishes. Most soft polishing cloths are safe to use with opals. It is advisable though to avoid the opal when polishing a piece of jewellery and restrict polishing to the metal.

Cleaning opal jewellery at home

Wash opal jewellery using a mild jewellery cleaner, like LilyJewels SparkleClean and warm water. Dry- do not use heat! Polish the metal components of the jewellery with a SunShine Polishing Cloth avoiding the opal.

Store cleaned opal jewellery in sealed plastic zip-lock bags.

DO NOT wrap opal jewellery in cotton wool, tissue paper, fabric or store in fabric bags or lined jewellery cases!!!! Opals contain water, these materials will draw the water out of the gem stone. The opal may then fall apart.

If you have any doubts about cleaning your opal jewellery, I recommend you have the jewellery cleaned by a professional jeweller.