Can I put opals in water?

For solid opal, yes it can be wet or soaked in water without any problem.
This is not advised if the stone is a doublet or triplet as the water may affect the cement or adhesive bonding the opal layer to the crystal cap or backing layer.
How do I clean opal?
Solid opal can be cleaned with a soft detergent in warm water using a soft cloth or brush. Once cleaned the opal should be rinsed in clean water to remove any residue.
Doublets and triplets can be wiped with a damp soft cloth but should not be soaked.
What about oils?
It is not recommended to store opal in oil or glycerin - though oil will generally not soak into the stone. Oily face and hand creams should not cause a problem except that they may build up in or on the jewellery and look unsightly. This is easily cleaned off with a soft brush and warm water.
Can I wear my opal when washing the dishes and gardening?
Prolonged exposure to harsh detergents and other chemicals can damage or "dry out" the stone, as precious opal normally contains around 6 - 10% of water. Be particularly careful about exposing opals and sterling silver to chlorine or chlorine bleach which will affect it.
Hard particles like sand and soil are abrasive and ultimately will scratch the surface of the finely polished stone and any gold or silver with it. An accidental hit or knock could crack the stone or damage the metal claws holding it into the setting.
Please treat all jewellery with respect and take it off before engaging in any of these activities.
What do I do if my stone loses its shine or becomes scratched?
You should take your opal to a reputable jeweler who knows about opal. If the stone needs re-polishing, this can generally be done for a very reasonable price. He can also check for claw damage and make sure that the setting is still sound.
What about doublets and triplets?
Both are layered opals which do need a little more care than a solid stone. Doublets consist of a slice of precious opal which has been cemented to base of common opal potch or more commonly ironstone. Triplets are similar except that they also have a clear crystal cap cemented to the top of the precious opal slice in order to protect and enhance it.
While both can be cleaned with lukewarm water and mild detergent it is not a good idea to wash or immerse them in water as this may affect the cement bonding them together. For the same reason it is not recommended to use an ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning jewellery containing doublets or triplets.
How do I store my opals?
Generally storing your opals wrapped in a soft cloth is all that you will ever need to do.
If you keep your opals in a de-humidified atmosphere such as a safety deposit box or bank vault for long periods some people advise putting them in a sealed plastic bag with a little water or damp sponge to protect them from sudden temperature and humidity changes, however this is not really necessary.
Caring for Settings
Setting Material Use well-diluted soapy water Clean with soft brush Use clean water Wipe/dry with soft cloth
18K Gold yes yes yes yes
14K Gold yes yes yes yes
Sterling Silver Clean with Silver Polishing Cloth

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