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How Do You Properly Care for Opal?

Many people are drawn to the mystical flash of color for which opal rings are so well-known. They’re deliciously complex, yet surprisingly neutral which makes them the perfect companion for many other gemstones.

Australian opal has become more popular and has increased in value over the past decade. In fact, it is one of the most popular colored gemstones today.

Striations of Love Pipe Opal and Diamond Gold Ring by NIXIN
Striations of Love Pipe Opal and Diamond Gold Ring by NIXIN

Whether you own a solid opal, doublet, or triplet, or are ready to shop for one, it’s important to learn how to take care of them so you can enjoy them for years to come. Opals are softer and more porous than other gems, but they can last a lifetime with the proper opal care and attention. 

Solid opal care guidelines

Opal is approximately the same hardness as glass, so it is important to treat it carefully to avoid damaging it. Here are a few important opal care do’s and don’ts:

Do

  • Gently clean your solid opal jewelry with mild detergent, warm water, and a soft toothbrush or cloth.
  • Remove your opal rings before applying any product; particularly those that may contain acid or alcohol (hair products, perfumes, hand sanitizers, lotions, etc.)
  • Visit an experienced opal cutter if you have an opal that has become dull or scratched. They will be able to properly polish and restore your precious gemstone.
  • Store your opal jewelry in a padded cloth bag when you aren’t wearing it. If you have individual jewelry boxes for your pieces, place it inside for added protection. For longer storage periods, place it in a cotton or wool cloth with a few drops of water and then put it into a sealed plastic bag. This will help prevent water from coming out of the stone.
  • Follow a “last on, first off” rule to keep your opal rings vibrant for years to come. Opal should be the last thing you put on before an event or occasion and the first thing you take off and store appropriately when you return home.
Images by Ian Dooley, Superkitina
Images by Ian Dooley, Superkitina

Don’t

  • Wear your opal ring if there is any chance it could get scratched, damaged or broken. (Avoid wearing opal jewelry while exercising, working in the garden, doing the dishes, bathing, moving furniture, etc.)
  • Fully immerse your doublet or triplet opal rings, earrings, or necklaces in water. This will help keep these precious gemstones healthy and vibrant.
  • Leave your opal in a place where it could be subject to very high temperatures or low humidity (e.g., boiling water or zero humidity bank vaults).
  • Use bleach, chemicals, or other harsh cleansers (including ultrasonic cleaners).

Opal doublet and triplet care guidelines

Opal care for doublets or triplets is a bit different from caring for solid opals. Opal doublets and triplets consist of multiple layers glued together. For this reason, prolonged exposure to water will eventually cause lifting between the layers allowing water to seep in. If this happens, your doublet or triplet will take on a ‘foggy’ or grey appearance and will likely result in permanent damage. Do not immerse your doublet or triplet opals in water for any significant length of time.

If you’re looking for an iconic ring or statement piece to help tell a swoon-worthy engagement story, celebrate a loved one, or simply to treat yourself, visit our shop and explore our extraordinary selection of opal rings for women.

Nicki, Founder and Designer of NIXIN Jewelry, selects one of a kind opal gemstones that deeply resonate with her and meticulously transforms them into spellbinding visuals meant for someone special. Come find the piece that’s meant for you.

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