One of the most alluring gemstones, opals are known for their unique milky appearance and vibrant flashes of color, however, they come with a disclaimer in regards to their proper care.
Opals are unlike any other gemstone because they are referred to as a “living stone”, containing up to 20% water trapped inside its silica structure. Keeping an opal from drying out is imperative to a long lasting life; always store opals out of the direct sun and in a slightly humid environment.
“So if my opal needs water, I don’t need to take it off to shower or wash my hands, right?” Wrong! Since opals absorb their surroundings, they can become damaged by soaps, lotions, cleaners and sanitizers. A good rule of thumb is if a sponge could soak it up, your opal could, too.
Opals are also sensitive to extreme hot and cold temperatures; yet another reason to take off during hiking, showering, gardening, working out or laying in the sun. If you enjoy cooking, please note that liquids such as juices and oils can permanently stain your stone and leave a yellow-ish hue.
Want to clean your opal? Use a damp soft cloth, or a bit of warm water for tougher soiled stones - no soaps!
So how do I wear opals? The answer is ‘very carefully’, as these little stones are a living piece of art. Extra caution should be used for rings as any jewelry worn on your hands is more prone to damages.