Tips for caring for your opal jewelry
There is no question that Australian opals are the most beautiful and valuable type of opal in the world. They can be worn for a lifetime without losing their luster or color. However, to ensure that your Australian Opal jewelry stays clean and looks its best, it is important to follow some simple care instructions. In this blog post, I will discuss how to care for Australian opals and why they are superior to other types of opals. I will also provide tips on how to clean them and keep your precious opals in pristine condition for years to come!
How to clean Opals
Solid Australian opals and solid opal jewellery need only be cleaned with warm soapy water, or hot water as long as no hotter than your hot tap water. You can use a mild detergent or degreasing dish soap for faster cleaning. Do not use laundry soaps. I recommend running the piece under hot tap water beforehand to loosen up any buildup. Keeping a designated electric toothbrush head with a soft brush (or medium) just for this purpose helps the efficacy as well and don't forget to keep it in a marked plastic bag so that you don't accidentally brush your teeth with it, yuck!
The best way to give new life to your precious gemstone jewelry is to work your way around the crevices making sure to get in the edges between the opal and the bezel settings. you can run the bristles up through the backside openings of the faceted stones and any diamond accents to get that gunk out too. This deep cleaning shouldn't need to be done too often. If you see buildup then it's time, but a regular quick light cleaning with a damp cloth or soapy bath can be great to brighten up your beloved piece and let it shine its best.
Do not use a hair dryer to dry, just let it dry naturally. Although extreme temperatures are generally more tolerated by solid Australian opals, sudden changes are still ill-advised.
I always include a jewelry polishing cloth with my rings, you can use this if you start to see any light scuffing or fingerprints on the gold, and it's safe to run it over the stones as well. Do not use any type of abrasive cleaner, as this can damage the surface of the opal.
Opal doublet and triplet stones, as well as Ethiopian Opals should be cleaned only with a soft cloth and without the use of water.
Professional Polishing of opal jewelry
The easy home cleaning methods should generally suffice, but you can also clean solid opals professionally (or at home) with an ultrasonic cleaner. Just make sure to avoid contact with any harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions.
Ultrasonic cleaners should be avoided for jewelry pieces containing hydrophane opals, doublet or triplets stones, pearls, emeralds, or tanzanite. The reason is that they can be damaged by high-frequency sound waves, intense vibrations, and harsh detergents.
There is no question that Australian opals are the best choice when it comes to lifetime wear. However, there are many different types of opal and some varieties should not be used for fine jewelry or heirloom quality jewelry. Australian Opals are superior to other types of Opals such as doublet and triplet Opals and Ethiopian Opals for longevity purposes.
Storage care of opal jewelry
When you're traveling with your opal jewelry, always put it in a padded cloth bag to protect it from scratches, separating each piece with a soft rag or cloth to avoid small scratches and scuff marks. This will help keep your jewelry looking beautiful for years to come.
The best type of opal for a lifetime of wear
Angel Alchemy Jewelry only uses solid opal for heirloom quality treasures. Solid opals are superior to doublet and triplet opals for a variety of reasons. First, solid opals are more durable than other types of opals. They can be worn for a lifetime without losing their luster or color and are great for daily use, not only for special occasions. Second, solid opals are easier to care for than other types of opals. And Third, solid Australian opals have greater value than other types of opal.
Australian Opal vs. Ethiopian Welo Opal
Many people don't know this but there are many different types of opals, not just the Australian variety. One such type of opal which is popular in jewelry is Ethiopian Opal which is porous and hydrophane. This means they will absorb water if left in contact with prolonged or repetitive exposure to moisture or liquid. They are not meant to be immersed in water or worn while swimming or bathing because their porous nature can lead to permanent damage and degradation over time. If you want an heirloom-quality gift for someone special, the perfect opal piece would be something made from solid Australian opal.
How to care for hydrophane opals Known as Welo opal or Ethiopian opal. If you have a hydrophane opal, then it's important to keep in mind that these stones are porous and should not be immersed in water or worn while swimming or bathing. If the stone is exposed to prolonged or repetitive exposure, water penetration will cause the stone to become cloudy and dull, or even crack! if the water content contains dish soap or skin oils it will quicken discoloration.
With Ethiopian Welo opals you will want to avoid long-term high temperatures, proximity to hot lights, hand sanitizer, rapid changes of extreme temperature, or rapid wet to dry conditions. A good idea for preserving these types of opals over a period of time would be to store them in low humidity environments to avoid extreme temperature changes, or high to low humidity extremes. Solid Australian Opal will not have these issues.
Zero humidity storage safes or zero humidity bank vaults for longer storage periods can protect against all of these challenges and protect your opals from sudden temperature changes and infiltration of water thus protecting them from developing an irreversible cloudy appearance and reduced play of color.
I do not recommend making fine jewellery for heirloom use with these stones, as it will be difficult to maintain. This type of jewelry should provide years of wear without intensive special care against water damage. Opal pendants and rings may be a better choice than rings for this type of opal, as long as they are removed before swimming and showering.
Australian Opal vs. doublet and triplet opals
Doublet opals are a type of man-made stone that is made by sandwiching a thin layer of opal between one or two pieces of glass with a black backing. Opal triplets have an additional third transparent layer on the top of the thin slice of opal. They are often sold as Australian Opal, which they do contain but the sellers often tend not to elaborate on the fact that they are doublets or triplets nor does their pricing reflect the fact, and consumers often assume it's all the same. It is best to go with a jeweler who clearly states that they work with solid opals.
The main reason opal doublet and opal triplet jewelry pieces aren't as popular today is their lack of durability. Opal doublets and triplet opal tend to separate from their backing which can make them take on a cloudy or grey appearance. They also tend to break more easily if you were to say, accidentally drop your opal ring on the floor or bang it on any other hard surfaces such as countertops dishes, etc. If you want an heirloom-quality gift for someone special then give them something made from solid Australian opal instead!
Can you wear an opal ring every day?
Absolutely! Solid Australian opals require no special care and can get wet and accompany you in everyday life. Other types of opal jewelry should be removed before washing hands or applying lotion, etc.
How long will an opal ring Last?
Lifetimes! Solid Australian Opals, when properly cared for can last a lifetime without any issues. Remove your ring for things like gardening or say rock climbing, but it can get wet without worry.
Is opal good for a wedding band?
Although is a softer stone, solid Australian opal is a great choice for an engagement ring or wedding band because it requires no special care. It can withstand everyday wear, and it won't fade or lose its sheen over time. There is no match for the unique beauty and fire of each opal, making it a beautiful representation of your unique love. Other types of opal are not advised.
How to clean Opals?
It depends entirely on the kind of opal you are cleaning. Please refer to the post accordingly.
How do you keep opals from drying out?
While there is no concern with solid Australian Opals, it is advisable with other types to simply store in a cloth bag with a few drops of water if you're living in a particularly dry climate.
What stones go with opal?
Australian opals pair aesthetically well with other gemstones of a similar vibrational frequency, which varies from opal to opal. Some great examples are emerald, sapphire, tourmaline, paraiba tourmaline, spinel, and Peruvian opal.
The right heirloom-quality stones will amplify and expand the healing properties of the opal while ensuring a lifetime of wear.
How can you tell if opal is real?
Most natural opals will show a bit of irregularity in the distribution of color, while some will not. Doublet or triplet opal stones will be perfectly flat because they are made from a thin layer of opal sandwiched and glued together with glass. However, many types of opal require a flatter top to hide the natural matrix on the back or sides of the stone.
look for at least a slight dome in the stones. Angel Alchemy jewelry uses all-natural solid Australian opals. Natural opals are more likely to have brown or grey tinges called potch in parts of the stone however high end jewelry artists will generally cut out these parts or not use them.