Caring for/ Storing Solid Australian Opals

A relatively soft stone (ranking 6.5/10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale), Australian Opal has a hardness that is relative to glass, so it is important to treat your Australian Opal with care to avoid any potential damage.  

If there is a chance your opal could be in a situation where it will be scratched or fractured (for example, working out at the gym, instances where heavy lifting is occurring, gardening etc), then it is highly recommended that you remove your opal jewellery to avoid any damage.

It is a common misconception that natural Australian Opals can be damaged by being immersed in water, when in fact this is incorrect. Solid Australian Opals are non-porous, and will not absorb moisture.  The majority of precious opal will contain approximately 3-5% moisture.  However, water damage can occur to Doublet Opal and Triplet Opal as they are laminated pieces – in which immersion in water frequently will cause the glue holding the layers of the Doublet or Triplet together will begin to break down.  It is recommended to avoid exposing Solid Australian Opal to extremely high (and low) temperatures as this may cause internal fracturing or cracking.

To clean your solid Australian Opal – it should be cleaned gently with mild detergent in warm water and a soft toothbrush or cloth.  You can also use a small amount of ammonia, diluted in water, to achieve this result.  It is NOT recommended to clean your opal in an Ultrasonic cleaner, as the intense vibrations can causing cracking/fracturing.

To store your solid Australian Opal – if you ever need to store your solid Australian Opal away in a safe place or a drawer, simply place it in a padded bag (or display box) for protection.  In the case of longer periods of storage (such as in a safe or safety deposit box), seal the solid Australian Opal in a plastic lock-seal bag with a moistened cotton ball to prevent any potential drying/dehydration which can lead to internal fracturing.