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 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.
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.