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A GUIDE TO OPAL CARE

With care, opals will retain their original appearance indefinitely if properly cared for; in fact, Queen Victoria�s collection is still going strong!!

Cleaning Your Opal:
Solid opals are very simple to clean. They should be immersed in warm water with a mild detergent and cleaned with a soft toothbrush or cloth, do not use anything else, bleach, chemicals and cleaners should be avoided as should ultrasonic cleaners, they vibrant quite violently and may cause cracking.
Once cleaned the opal should simply be rinsed under running water (Don�t forget to put the plug in! Opals don�t fair to well in drains and they definitely don�t like garbage disposal units) and gently dried with a soft cloth. Doublets and triplets can be wiped with a damp soft cloth but should not be soaked as they can be damaged beyond repair (see: opals and water).

Wearing opal jewelry:
As with all jewelry, rough treatment is not recommended. Common sense should be used and care should be taken as it would with any precious stone. Take your opal off if you plan to work in the garden as sand and soil is an abrasive and can scratch the surface of your opal. General household duties are fine providing you don�t accidentally hit the stone on a hard surface that can cause damage.

If your opal loses its shine or is scratched:
If you opal does happen to become scratched or loses its shine, a reputable jeweler that works with opal can re-polish the opal, usually for a reasonable price.

Characteristics of solid opal:
Precious opal contains around 5-6 % water. Therefore opal may crack or craze if subjected to extreme conditions. Avoid very high or very low temperatures i.e. boiling water, freezers. Normal weather changes are fine. Low humidity bank vaults also should be avoided unless precautions are taken (see below, storing your opal).

Storing Opals:
Storing your opal for a period of time is quite simple. It is recommended that you wrap your opal in some cotton wool and place it in a sealed plastic bag with a few drops of water. This will give the opal a controlled environment and will prevent cracking. It is safe to keep your opal in a safety deposit box or bank vault for long periods by storing the opal in this manner. This is how we store our more expencive opals in our banks safe.

Opals and water:
Water does not harm solid opals. There are different opinions associated with solid opals. Some say it is good for the opal to be immersed it in water overnight to maintain water content. Whether you place the opal overnight in water or not, it will not harm�the opal.

Doublets and triplets are another matter. They should never be placed in water for as the glue which is usualy a 2 part epoxy resin holding the layers together may�break down�leaving behind a ruined doublet or triplet. This is where the old wives tale of "opal going white" came from. Excessive water or heat can destroy the resin sending it white.

Oils and hand creams:
It is not recommended to store opals in oil, however, general hand creams and body oils will do no harm to your opal other than maybe building up in jewelry crevices, causing a �not very nice� look.