The birthstone of October, opal is a fascinating and attractive stone that has been capturing the hearts of many people for centuries. Even the Romans considered opals as the most powerful and precious of gems because they have the other gems’ colors in one.
If you are lucky enough to own an opal stone or jewelry, it only makes perfect sense that you would do everything possible to maintain its beauty for a long time. Learning how to care for opal is the first step to preserving and protecting this investment.
How to Clean Opal
Solid opals must be cleaned gently using a mixture of warm water and mild detergent and a soft cloth or toothbrush. Avoid using cleaners, chemicals, and bleach. You can use mild detergent and a damp soft cloth to wipe triplets and doublets, but you should never immerse or soak them at all.
Don’t let anyone use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean your opal because the intense vibrations might result in the cracking of a solid opal while a triplet or doublet may suffer from water penetration.
If your opal becomes scratched or loses its shine, you can bring the stone back to the opal cutter. Scuff marks and small scratches can make an opal look dull and lose its shiny polish after several years of wear. Professional polishing can do wonders in breathing new life to a scratched or dull opal. They can also check for any claw damage and safeguard the security of the stone’s setting.
How to Store Opal
To keep your precious opal jewelry protected when being stored for a long period, see to it that you wrap each gem individually in a padded cloth bag then dampen the cloth for protection before storing it.
You can also keep opals safe and secure for extended periods by wrapping them in cotton wool with several drops of water before placing them inside a plastic bag. Microscopic molecules will soak into the opal and once exposed to settings with extremely low humidity, these will be enough to provide the necessary ambient moisture.
How to Charge Opal
Opals are among the more delicate ones in the world of gemstones so additional care is required when charging them. Avoid leaving out your opal under the sun for a long time because the stone can crack, craze, or fade.
You can also charge your opal using the traditional method of Native Americans wherein you rub the stone between the palms of your hands. Just make sure that you are not too rough when doing so.
You can even program your opal to guide you in a certain way by looking for a quiet spot, holding the stone in your hands, and focusing your mind on your desire and the stone.
How to Cleanse Opal
Opals can be cleansed under running water, like tap or fresh spring water. However, avoid cleansing them using saltwater because the chemicals may cause your stone to break down.
You can give your opal stone a quick smudge in incense or sage smoke and leave it under the moonlight for a good cleansing. Just don’t forget that sudden temperature changes may damage these stones.
How to Display Opals
The majority of opals exude water energy, which is why these stones are often found displayed in the northern portion of a house. You can keep your opals there to improve life and career paths.
As expected, fire opals give off more fire energy, and these can be displayed in the southern part of a home or room. Placing these gemstones there will boost energy, action, and passion.
If you belong to the creative industry, you can also place an opal on your desk or even in your pocket to help encourage the flow of innovative ideas.
Opal stones must never be subjected to an ultrasonic cleaning or harsh cleansers of any kind. You shouldn’t expose them to acids, oils, or abrasive chemicals either. Instead, you should use a piece of silk or facial tissue to softly rub these stones.
Clean your opals gently using water at room temperature and mild detergent and a soft cloth or toothbrush. Rinse it after cleaning to get rid of any residue. Since opals are extremely porous, you should never soak them, and a triplet or doublet must never be immersed at all.
Tips When Wearing Opal
Since opals are neither tough nor hard stones, you need to treat them with extra care when wearing them. Here are some tips to remember:
- Be extra careful if you will step out from extremely cold temperatures to a heated area and vice versa, such as when taking it straight from your home’s cozy temperatures to a scorching summer day or frigid night.
- Opals can crack if they are exposed to extreme changes in temperature. Opals are made of water and sand, and most opals have about 2% to 10% water content and they can crack once they dry out.
- If you cannot avoid taking your opal stones from one extreme temperature to another, make sure that the pieces are kept under your clothes as much as possible to reduce the change.
- Avoid extended exposure to heat and don’t allow the jewelry to come into contact with very cold or very hot water.
- Remove your opal jewelry if you will be using lotion or soap in the spot where the jewelry is located. Letting your opal get exposed to lotion or soap can lead to a buildup on the stone that can dull its shine, leaving you with no choice but to clean it more often than necessary.
- Always apply your hairsprays, colognes, and perfumes first before you wear your opal jewelry. These stones can react rather poorly to alcohols and acids.
- Never do any outdoor or household chores like cleaning while wearing opals.
- Remove any opal jewelry before you play sports, take a bath, or work in your garden.
- Avoid scraping or knocking the stone and protect it from blows and scratches. Take note that exposed corners are prone to chipping.
- Have your opal jewelry and its setting inspected and checked regularly. Professional polishing can help restore an opal that has been scratched or has become dull.