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Caring for Your Opal Gemstones and Opal Jewelry

Opal Gemstones and Opal Jewelry
Opal Gemstones and Opal Jewlery:
With Proper Care, They Will Provide
Years of Enjoyment
 Opal has a reputation for being a "delicate" stone, yet it is more durable than you might think. Let's take a deeper look at the opal and some tips for caring for your beautiful gemstone.

A Reliable Source Of Opal Gemstones and Opal Jewelry
Many of the opal stones that are sold on the open market are of inferior quality. Some retailers try to keep the prices of their opal jewelry down by using low-grade, lackluster, fire-less, white opal. Since the gemstones are the most expensive component of your jewelry, you have to know and trust your source, otherwise you may "get what you pay for"! 1st Class Gems always insists on only the finest grade opals and has many satisfied customers who appreciate the added value.

Opals: Soft And Brittle Or Hard As Steel?
While many people think the opal is a "soft" stone, more often the opal has a tendency to be "brittle". The Australians refer to it as "cracky" for obvious reasons. Opals really do not like being knocked around, abused or whacked. Opals can be especially vulnerable at spots such as where the prongs hold the stone to a ring or pendant.

The hardness of opal varies, but is generally around 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, which surprisingly enough, is about the same hardness as stainless steel.

Caring For Your Opals
Besides avoiding impact, you need to respect the natural moisture level of your opals. Since the stone may dry out over time, there are some easy things you can do to prevent that. After you clean it, you can use a tiny amount of mineral oil on it to help with dryness. Also, while it is being worn, you can slightly rub the palm of your hand over it. There will be enough natural oil in your skin to recoat and protect the opal.

Things to avoid while caring for your precious opal jewelry include: ammonia, airtight (dry) storage, extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, washing dishes (because of the potential for impact and abrasive detergents), heat, chemicals, and jewelry cleaners that use soap, steam, boiling, or ultrasonic cleaning methods. These may cause or contribute to cracking, scratching, or discoloration of your opal.

The best way to clean your opal jewelry is with a specially formulated jewelry cloth. In place of this, just a dampened soft cloth will do. (Beware! Even some paper towels are rough enough to cause micro-scratches that will diminish the lustre of your stone over time!) To remove stubborn deposits or build-ups, try using water with a little vinegar added. While water will not harm a solid opal, it may cause problems separating layers in "doublet" and "triplet" stones if the stone is submersed and water is allowed to penetrate between layers.

Be sure to store your stone in a place of average to moderate humidity. You can actually store them in a plastic bag along with a damp cloth to maintain the moisture.

Insure Your Opal Gemstones And All Your Jewelry
Also, check with your insurance agent to verify that your opals and all of your jewelry are covered against theft, loss, or damage. It is best to take a picture of your jewelry and store it along with a copy of a certified appraisal in a separate location.

Opals Make Great Gifts
Opals represent; purity, innocence, virginity, faith, hope, light, friendship, integrity, moon, starts, clouds, rain, future, variety, exciting! They are; distinctive, impressive, unique, unusual, mysterious, and intriguing.

Just a little common sense in caring for your opal will give you many years of enjoyable wear.

Take a look at 1st Class Gems' beautiful opal ladies rings!

Read more about understanding gemstone quality, caring for your jewelry, birthstones, and the interpretive meaning of each gemstone.


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