We often get asked how to properly care for your opal to ensure longevity and minimise the chance of damage. There is a common perception about Australian Opals that they should not be exposed to water as they can change in colour or lose their patterns / brightness. This is very untrue. Australian Opals do not change their appearance after exposure to heat / climate / humidity / water. They are however susceptible to cracking if knocked hard enough. If wearing your opal set in a ring you should always be careful that it is not knocked during physical activities. If undertaking some form of sport or manual labour, please take off your ring so that it is not damaged!
Can you wear your opal ring whilst washing up the dishes? An Australian Opal will not be damaged when exposed to light chemicals such as dishwashing detergent or hand soap. You should not however expose your opal to hasher chemicals such as bleach or ammonia. That being said, we cannot give advice on the other parts of the ring (ie complimenting diamonds or other gemstones or the gold / platinum / silver that it is set in). There is actually nothing that you really need to do for your Australia opal to ensure its safe keeping and long life. An Australian Opal may need to have a re-polish by your local jeweller every few years if worn daily as minor surface scratches or blemishes can occur on the surface after time which can usually be polished out.
If your opal ring is an Opal Doublet or Opal Triplet then it is not advised to expose it to any sorts of chemicals (including hand soap and washing detergent) or water. This is because doublets and triplets contain glue that can be softened when exposed to water or chemicals; it may result in your doublet/triplet falling apart.
Can you wear your Opal earrings in the shower? Be careful as a large majority of opal earrings are made with doublets or triplets. These should not be exposed to water or soap. If your opal earrings are solid (ie Australian crystal opals), then they are fine to wear in the shower and have exposure to water and soaps. We cannot give advice on any complimenting gemstones in the earrings however.
Ethiopian Opals are susceptible to changing when exposed to different climates / humidity / heat / water. It is not uncommon for people to be very disappointed when their beautiful Ethiopian Princess ring loses its pattern and colour and changes to a dull brown colour. Do not worry however as they can change back to their original look after time. If you do have an Ethiopian Opal that has lost its colour or pattern, we recommend trying to soak it in water, change the climate, put it in the sun, or in the shade. Try different climates and exposures to different lights or water and it could bring the colour back. If you do own an Ethiopian Opal; we do not recommend exposing it to water, excessive heat or any type of chemicals (including hand soap and washing detergent). Be extra careful with your Ethiopian Opal with exposure to water / heat / humidity and it will last a lifetime.