How to Care for Opals

How to Care for Opals. Opals have always been a mysterious and beautiful gemstone. It is one of the softest gemstones used in jewelry, so extra precautions must be taken to keep opal jewelry in pristine condition. Generally, an opal is not a stone that would be worn everyday, but kept for special occasions. Read on to learn how to care for opals.

Take care not to hit the opal or rub the opal against a solid surface. Opals can easily scratch, chip or crack.

Monitor the temperature to which the opal is exposed. Do not expose the opal to drastic temperature changes. The opal will crack or shatter before it can adjust to the temperature fluctuation.

Know your opal. Doublets contain thin slices of opal, glued to a black backing. Triplets are doublets with a layer of quartz or glass placed over the thin slice of opal. Doublets and triplets can not be soaked in water. Water immersion can break down the glue bond holding the layers together.

Putting opals in safe deposit boxes are one of the worst places to keep an opal. Bank vaults have low humidity, so the room would draw the moisture out of the opal, resulting in cracks.

Storing opals for an extending period takes a little extra care. Put the opal in a padded cloth and store it in a safe place. As a safety precaution, place the opal in a Ziplock plastic bag, wrapped in a pillow of cotton wool. Place a few drops of water on the cotton to keep the humidity at a safe level.