Opal Care

Opal Care: There seems to be much confusion about the proper way to care for and clean opals and opal jewelry.

To read about opal care please scroll past our product selection to the bottom of this page. If you have any questions on caring for your opal jewelry I would be happy to assist you anytime. You can contact me via the live chat or by email at peter@opalmine.com

Opal Care
Crystal opal from Coober Pedy


Here’s a simple guide that will let you preserve your beautiful opals and keep them looking their best. Opal jewelry like this needs to be cared for.

Buy quality stones from a knowledgeable dealer or jeweler, preferably someone who is a cutter. Now, this may sound like strange “care” advice, but the stone you purchase is as important as the care you give it. Here’s why.

Many jewelers don’t know one opal from another, and cannot offer you the right opal care advice. If you know what you’ve got…you can know how to look after it.

Can I put my opals in water? If its Australian opal, yes, there is no problem in doing this, but if the stone is from Africa or from areas that are damp, the opal will soak up the water and lose color as stated above.

It is possible to restore the color by drying out the stone but it’s not worth the risk. If you take a look at the blog below you will see that many people have bought hydrophane opals that are not from the desert areas of Australia and these opals have lost their color. (See comments at the bottom of this page in answer to a customer who had this problem)

How do oily substances affect an opal? If you mean wearing it under the car when you change the oil or pack the wheel bearings, …the oil won’t soak into the stone or hurt it in any way,…but the grime and the possibility of scratching it would be the biggest problem. However, oily hand and face creams will not hurt the stone, except that it may build up around a ring and make it look unsightly.

What should I do to avoid damaging an opal? Don’t wear it doing the gardening, because the sand or soil may take the polish off the stone, or, if you get too energetic, you could smash the stone against a rock,…and opals don’t like being treated that way. (Neither would you nor I)..

And of course, there is the chance that the gold or silver claws will be damaged, and you could lose the stone altogether. Take it off if you are doing any sort of work that could bring the stone in contact with hard surfaces. A flick of the wrist in the wrong direction could chip it.

What do I do if my stone loses its polish or becomes scratched? Now, this is why we suggest that you buy from people who cut the stone. For example, if you get a stone from the opalmine.com site, and you damage your stone, in most cases, it can be re-polished very cheaply. If you have stones already that need re-polishing, contact us for instructions.

How do I store my opals for long periods of time? Generally, it’s safe to store them away, as long as the area is not overheated. It’s not a bad idea to put them in a sealed plastic bag with a little water in case of drying out. Don’t store them for long periods of time under hot lights, as this could crack the stones if the heat builds up and is magnified in a showcase.

Some common sense opal care advice.

Opal Care
Boulder opal pendant

This advice comes from my wife Renate’s personal experience. She was sporting a beautiful blue boulder opal ring, about 4 carats in size, mounted in nice 18k gold, surrounded with diamonds. Worth around $2000.

On the way back from the snowfields one year, she went into the ladies room at a fuel station, and after washing her hands with soap and water, she wiped them on a paper towel, and at the same time, pulled off her ring and threw it into the wastepaper basket…and didn’t even notice it till we got home, about 1000 km’s up the track.

This problem is more pronounced for people who have rather straight fingers with little or no enlarged knuckle. You just have to have a little extra hand cream on, and it will slip right off. ..so just be conscious of it.
Caring for Jewelry with diamond accents.

If you have accompanying diamonds with your opal jewelry, in the case of rings particularly, the diamonds become very dull after a while, even if you’ve given the ring a clean. The main reason for this is that many people only clean the front of the ring and not the back.

So…just poor some pure wash-up detergent into the back of your ring, and scrub it from the inside with a soft toothbrush in hot water. The diamonds will sparkle again, and it will not hurt the opal as long as you don’t do it all the time.

Opal Care
Opal pendant/earrings set

Check your jewelry. Inspect your jewelry regularly for claw damage. You can do this yourself if you have a magnifying glass. There’s not a mystery to it.

If you can see that the claw is loose and the stone moves a little, it’s good to get something done about it. If you hold the item up close to your ear and rattle it, if the stone is very loose you can hear it.

If you want to be sure about it, talk to your jeweler.

Cleaning. Any paste or fluid designed to polish brass will also polish gold or silver. Just use a soft rag, apply the paste, and polish it off.

After that, pour on a few drops of household detergent, give it a scrub with a fine toothbrush and wash it off under hot water. This will bring the gold back to what it was like when you purchased the jewelry.

Also, on the subject of opal insurance…If you think your opals are insured under your household policy, make sure you have a good talk with your broker or agent. Ask the following questions.


Securing and Insuring your Opals.

Opal Care
Matching opal gents cufflinks

House security: A good addition to every home is a deadlock. Usually, they cost around $50 per door, but the money is well spent if you install them on all external entries. An experienced thief can pick these locks too, but it is not likely as there are too many other locks that are a snack to open.

If you have a room in the house where you put your valuables, put a deadlock on the internal door as well. Your insurance company will give you a smile of approval for this initiative, and probably a healthy discount too, that can go toward the cost of the locks….See your broker for negotiations along this line.

Giving a little forethought to your purchase and by applying the suggestions in this opal care section we are confident that you will get many years of service from your jewelry. If you need any advice in this regard, please don’t hesitate to leave a message on this blog.

Example of assistance given to a customer who bought an African opal which turned brown:


The opal is probably from Ethiopia and many of them lose color when immersed in water because of their porosity. The first thing I would do is go back to the jeweler you purchased it from and complain and either ask for your money back or at least half so that you can buy an opal from Australia that you won’t have problems with. The jeweler should have disclosed this to you at the point of sale.

If you want to try to stay with your opal because of sentimental reasons or if you cannot get a refund, I can offer you some suggestions. I am happy to give you this free service.

Try putting your ring on the mantlepiece in full sunlight or under a warm desk light for a few hours and allow the stone to completely dry out. This could take a longer period of time but when the water has evaporated the color should come back. Just remember not to put it in water in future.

If you like, take a look at this comprehensive article we have written about opal rings

I hope this explanation has helped. If you like let me know how you go. Pleased to help further if possible.


239 Responses

  1. Hello, I have a question, I got a couple of little opals and we put them on some gold earrings, but with the passing of the days they lost their color and became opaque and yellow. I was recommended to put them in the water, but now they are transparent. Is there anything I can do to bring their color back?

    1. Ángela, probablemente hayas comprado ópalos africanos que pierden color cuando se ponen en agua porque son muy porosos. intente ponerlos a la luz solar directa en el alféizar de la ventana y séquelos. el color debería volver. Déjame saber si funciona. pedro
      Angela, you have probably bought African opals which lose color when put into water because they are very porous. try putting them in direct sunlight on the windowsill and dry them out. the color should return. let me know if it works. peter

  2. Hola tengo un opalo de fuego y su color se ha ido, se concentro en medio, lo llevaba Todos los dias conmigo, me puedon decir como recobrar su color, como adjunto imagenes del antes y del despues ?

    1. Envíe dos imágenes claras de su piedra a través del formulario de contacto en este sitio y trataré de ayudarlo con el problema. Peter

    2. Raquel Es probablemente un ópalo africano no australiano. Estos ópalos pierden color si están en contacto con la humedad. intenta dejarlo al sol por un tiempo. Peter

  3. Hi! I have had a similar experience to many who have written on your page, except for one exception, about which I can find no information. So, my husband got me a ring with an Ethiopian fire opal. After a trip to Shanghai, where it was very humid and with strong air pollution, it lost its greens and blues. When I got home, I decided to clean it using a cotton pad and I used a toothpick to push the cotton into some of the hard to reach areas. As I was doing this, some sort of a coating came off on the cotton – it was greyish brown – and the stone then became totally translucent. I have contacted the seller and she was shocked and confused by this, as she says opals are never coated. Some of the color is now coming back, but the stone remains totally translucent. Any ideas about what this coating could have been and if it can be restored?

    1. Thanks for your response. The opal was advertised as an Ethiopian Fire Opal and it wasn’t dark. It was milky white/green with orange, red, and violet fire. It Sounds as though you think that having it recoated is probably not worth it, is that right?

  4. hola,me pudiera ayudar que clase de ópalo es y sus cuidados por favor…lo compré en un pawn shop y me llamó la atención este anillo algo viejo de oro 18 kilates…gracias!

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for the wonderful article.. I purchased opal stone in India and made it into a ring 5 months back from a very reputed jewelry shop. Initially, the opal stone was semi-transparent and the fire was clearly visible from all angles.. However, after 5 months, the stone became fully transparent (almost like a glass) and the fire is only slightly visibly that too only when it is very bright and in an angle only.. Can you please tell me why this happened.. The shop is very famous and hence I don’t think they would have cheated with fake stone.. But I’m not sure though..

    1. The same thing happened to me. I bought an opal from a very well known jewelry factory, with a considerable amount of money, some thousands USD. In the begining it had fire in it and it was white milky, but now is transparent and browny.
      Can you help me and tell what to do?

    2. I have the same problem. Not knowing about caring for Ethiopian opals, I put it in gem cleaning solution and now very sparkly but lost the milky look. How can I get the look back as it looks more like CITRine now?


  6. Thank you for having such an informative site. My mother purchased this opal triplet for me when she was visiting Australia. It was a brooch she gotfrom a pawn shop, which we had made into a ring. Since it has become a ring, it is cloudy. They had to remove the stone from the setting to make the ring, and it has lost its brilliance. What can I do to refresh it? Any help or ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Lisa

  7. Hi All,

    This is a welo opal. Seems to be dead. Was looked after well, and still. Lost its fire. Can it be restored somehow?

    1. Hello, I am having the same issue. My opal ring from my mother is cloudy. Suggestions on how to control this would be highly appreciated! Thanks!

    2. I have a lovely triplet opal from my grandmother which is completely cloudy as well. I found by accident that putting it in water restores the colours. Any help would be super appreciated.

  8. I found your website by accident and wondering if you can help me. I have inherited opal jewellery from my mother-in-law and would like any advise on how to clean them. I have attached images of them, as you can see the opal on the ring is cloudy. I would appreciate any information that would help improve the look of these. Thank you in advance.

  9. I have inherited opal jewllery from my mother-in-law and would like any advise on how to clean them. I have attached images of them, as you can see the opal on the ring is cloudy. I would appreciate any advice that would improve the appearance of them. Thanks in advance.

  10. I was given a nice opal with emerald ring in silver for my anniversary. I have been trying to keep it out of water and detergent since I have heard how delicate opals are. I unconsciously washed my hands this morning and looked down to see my stone had gone yellow and most of the color was gone! I do believe it was labeled an Ethiopian opal. I notice most of the color has returned-perhaps it is a bit more “milky” than before. Is there a way to gently dry it out and get all the brilliance back? Should I keep it out of water completely? How does this work? Does the opal literally soak up water? Thanks for the information!

    1. I’m so sorry, been trying to send the photo a couple of times but I just keep on getting an error message. Let me try again…. It still doesn’t work. I emailed you the photo, can check it please? Thank you

  11. Hi! My boyfriend gave me this opal ring for my birthday because it’s my birthstone and it also happens to be my favorite. What kind of opal is this? Can you tell if it’s synthetic or not? The ring is a bit big for me and I want to have it resized but I’m scared it might damage the opal. What’s the best way to care for opals? Can you share some cleaning tips as well so it can last long? This is my very first opal and I’m hoping to have it with me for many years so I can pass it on to my future daughter. Thanks!

  12. Hello: I recently acquired a vintage gold ring with an opal. I would like to have the ring resized a couple sizes larger, and have the stone polished. The stone cannot be removed from the bezel setting – can the ring be resized without damage to the opal? Also, what type opal is in the ring? Thank you for any information and advice!

    1. Hi there! I live in the USA. I am hoping the opal is Australian. It is a vintage ring, so not sure. Can the ring be mailed to you for the work? I need ring sized up to 6.5 and the opal polished. Thanks!

  13. Hi, I have just had a ring made out of a piece of opal and when the artist who was making the ring set the opal in she cracked it, its a very small crack and you wouldnt noticed it, I’m disappointed but I can live with the crack as I don’t want to have the opal cut down and made into another ring, but I was wondering if there was something I could put over the crack to seal it, to protect it from water getting in? The piece of opal has a lot of sentimental value to me as it was a gift from a family member who was also gifted it 53 years ago so I’m reluctant to send it anywhere.

  14. hola mande a montar dos opalos en un dije cuando me los entregaron todos bien pero a los 6 dias se puso transparente y sin los colores que tenia parece un vidrio le pregunte al vendedor y me dijo que posiblemente cuando lo montaron lo calentaron demaciado y lo dañaron y la verdad no sabia que eso podria pasarle si me puede ayudar o aconsejar se lo agradeceria mucho saludos

  15. I inherited this ring from my grandmother who passed away in 1997. My grandpa was a colonel in the army and they lived all over the world so I’m not certain where it came from but my parents said they loved Australia and vacationed there often so I’m thinking that’s a possibility. I know she had the setting custom made for the opal. The opal is extremely cloudy and las lost almost all its luster. Can you tell what kind of opal it is? There is a backing on the stone that is black and is loose from the stone but is secured by the setting. I have noticed these other comments the backs of the ring don’t have this. Do you know what it is? What is the best way for me to restore the original luster of the opal?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

  16. Hi i’m from indonesia and i very love about black opal. But it’s very diffrent here..i’d like to know what kind exactly i have a black opal..i have rough black opal and in indonesia we need to treatment before the color came up..and its hard ..we need almost 4 mont to get a colors not like in australian opals. Here we need to heating,drying,put on rain water, and many more juat to bring out the colors..i need help here how i can get the color with a right treatment…please help me send me an email rezass813@gmail.com thank u best regard reza from indonesia..i can’t upload my picture ..please is somebody read this please give me an answer on my fb just tipe pratama tour .

    1. Lee, they look like solid opals but the bottom right looks like a boulder opal which is a type of black opal. the one on the left is probably the same. the opal at the top is a crystal opal. please go here to check the definitions:http://opalmine.com/opal-picture-guide/ hope that helps. best wishes Lee, Peter

  17. My opal has completely turned yellow. I have tried to do what I usually do to clean it…mild soap and and a soft toothbrush. I did not work. A woman shared with me to let it sit in warm olive oil and water to bring the color back and to no avail, it did no t work. What can I do?

    1. Connie, i would say that you have an Ethiopian opal not Australian. These opals are very beautiful but you have to keep them out of water because they are porous. The first thing to do is wash it in household dish-wash detergent to get the oil off of it, then rinse it in water. Then you will need to leave it somewhere in the sun to dry it out but dont allow it to get too hot. Once the water has evaporated the color should come back. If it doesn’t, please report the matter on this forum and i would suggest that you return it to the merchant you got it from and ask for a refund. Hope that helps Connie, Peter

  18. Peter – I got this ring in Idaho 20 years ago. I was told it is a fire opal from Idaho, but when I visited Puerto Vallarta, they said it was rare to see a fire opal any more. I am trying to find the best way to clean it as it has a small diamond as well. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    1. TRACEI, many apologies for not getting back to you about your ring till now. for some reason i did not get notification about your blog message. Its a bit hard to see what sort of opal it is because the picture of the stone itself is not large enough so if you know how, please crop out most of the surrounding picture and just leave the ring. i should be able to tell by that. peter

  19. hi Peter. what a very useful page. hoping u have got some great advise for restoring a friends ethiopian opal ring which has lost some of its colour. it has developed some opaque blotches on some of the 5 stones. she did forget to take it off while washing up and i advised her to set it aside to dry but it only brought back some of the fires,leaving the opaque blotches. is there anything else i could do to try and restore the opals as the blotches take away the beauty of the rest of the stones. as u can see in the pic, its the 3 stones on the left hand side including the middle 1 that r the 1’s with blotches. the 2 on the right r not affected at all as u can see from the stunning colour play.
    oh and can i offer my assistance with Karon’s ring, dated March 13th 2015,which u suggested might be mother of pearl. it is in fact rainbow moonstone. this is 1 of my other favorite gemstones and i can identify it easily from the pictures.
    anyway i hope u can help and many things for the info i have gathered so far. Diane

    1. Diane regarding opal clarification. thanks for comments about rainbow moonstone. In regard to the Ethiopian opal. Yes unfortunately this type of opal is called hydrophane and looses color in water. i think if you put it in the sun for a while and let it dry out the color should come back. but its better to stick with Australian opal that doesn’t have this problem. Unfortunately jewelers do not inform people about this. Probably because they dont know themselves.

  20. Lastly, here’s from another angle where the stone is quite white, which I think some is natural, but I know some of it is due to wear and scuffs. As you can see, it’s a pretty decent size rock, I just think it must either be poor quality stone or very poorly cared for. If it’s something beyond the scope of what I can do at home, could you give me a quote for polishing it and cleaning it? Thanks!

    1. re: opal ring. Karin just get some silver polish from the hardware store and that will bring up the metal. just polish it with a cotton rag when the polish dries. to polish the stone you will need some tin or cerium oxide and you will have to get that from a lapidary supplies shop. let me know where you live and i will try to recommend someone. Peter

    2. yr ring is rainbow moonstone and a beauty too. i have a lot of rainbow moonstone and its a stunning gemstone. this is 1 of themin 1 of my rings xxx

      1. I wondered if it might be mother of pearl, but I didn’t know if it came that thick. I live in Louisville, Kentucky. Anything to help polish it or make it look better would be awesome. Thanks!

  21. I’m so happy I found this thread! I googled “polish opal,” and wound up here. I have a ring that I found in my grandmother’s house after she passed away, and I love unique things, so I snagged it without really looking it over or figuring out what it is. As I was looking more closely, I realized that it’s very, very dirty and very scuffed and cloudy. I’m pretty positive it’s opal, and it’s definitely in sterling silver. It appears to have several cracks and not quite the luminescence nor the clarity that other opals I see have. I wondered if it’s quartz, but it definitely has some of the prism-like properties of opal. So, my question is: A- Do you think it’s opal? B- If it is, is there any way to polish it or is it not worth the hassle because it’s a lower quality. I will wear it, regardless. Like I said, I just like unique things and I love that it came from my grandmother; however if there’s a way to spruce it up or take better care of it? I will post a few pictures.

  22. Hi Peter, I would like to ask your advice please regarding this opal ring. Not sure of the age but it does appear to be antique. The surface of the opal is very dull. Is there a way I could safely polish this myself? I live in the middle East ahf it’s quite hard to get hold of products here!

    Alternatively, would there be a safe way to courier this ring and some other opal jewellery to you for refurbishment? I have an antique opal bracelet which also requires some replacement opals and polishing.

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Rhiannon, regarding the opal ring pictured. Its suspicious to me that its dull because the claws are quite long and usually settings like this dont allow the opal to come in contact with rough surfaces. It could be that it was never polished properly in the first place and it could be a modern ring with a synthetic opal. But it certainly looks natural. If you want to save a lot of expense i could send you a little pack of Cerium oxide and you could rub it yourself by hand and it should come up bright again. no charge for that. In regard to the bracelet, please submit a picture of that too so that i can tell if it will be easy or not to replace the stones. I want to give you the most economical way of sorting out the problem. Our goal at opalmine is to help first and sales are second. its better for everyone in the long run. How interesting that you live in the middle east. I am totally fascinated with this part of the world. where do you live? best wishes Rhiannon, Peter

      1. Thanks so much Peter for the reply and very kind offer of sending the cerium oxide. I’d like to take you up on that please but really would like to pay you for the cost as I’m sure postage won’t be so cheap! Perhaps you could let me know your email address and I will send you my postal address. I’m in the UAE in Dubai, I moved there from the UK and so far am finding it a great place to live. Although everything is so new and quite futuristic looking, sometimes it doesn’t seem like a real place!

        Your comments regarding the ring are interesting. It’s stamped as 18ct and platinum so I assume the opal is real but it is very dull. Hopefully the cerium oxide will do the trick.

        I have attached a photo of the bracelet I mentioned, it’s been passed down to me by my grandmother from her grandmother so it is an old piece and one of the opals has a flat surface whilst the others are domed, one is quite dull and one is loose and has sunk into in the setting. It may be best just to leave it as it is but any advice you could offer would be appreciated.

        Thanks again,


  23. I have a pair of black opal earrings when I wore them the other day there was a white area on the stone. Do you know what may have caused this? Thanks in advance for your help

    1. Kay i would say that your opal is a triplet stones which means that it has a crystal cover over the opal. sometimes moisture gets behind this cap and you will see a pale effect over the opal. Try to get a clear picture of the opal from the top and side if possible and post it on this forum. Try to cut out as much of the background as possible and reduce the size of the pic to around 150 kb before posting. i will take a look at it and advise you further. best wishes Kay, peter

    1. Heather, well it certainly looks like a solid opal crystal from the coober pedy opal fields in Australia but there is really no way of telling from a photograph. it could be synthetic opal because the new synthetics are looking more like the real thing. But it certainly looks like a nice ring. peter

  24. Hi Peter,
    I would love your opinion on this ring I just inherited from my nan. I believe it to be an Ethiopian Opal as she travelled there many times and i believe around the time of my birth (when she bought the ring).
    I think it’s water damaged, she wasn’t great at looking after her jewellery! Is there anything you can recommend to increase its lustre?
    Also I want to get it resized, only down by one size, but I’m worried about the risk of cracking, is this increased by the water damage?
    I was thinking I might try to get a jeweller to take the whole stone and setting removed from the band and a new slightly smaller band added to negate the risk, would love your knowledgable opinion!

    Kind Regards,


    1. Hi Opal! Hey what a great name you have!! But i dont think this is an African opal. actually as far as i know African opals have really only been on the market in the last ten years or so and up until recently were not used in jewelry because of the cracking problem. but in recent times they have found mines that dont seem to crack as much but they lose their color in water and have to be dried out to get it back. Your opal looks very much like a lightning ridge dark opal from Australia to me, unless there is something i dont know about African opals which could well be the case. It looks to me that all it needs is a good cut and polish which i could do easily without removing the stone from its setting but of course i am in Australia.. but i can show you how to do it yourself. As far as sizing is concerned. if it has to go UP in size it can be done without removing the stone. A good jeweler can size it down too by burying the ring in cold sand or the like. Just trying to save you some money. let me know if you want further help. best wishes Opal, peter PS. sorry for delay in answering. we are doing some work on the site at present and has effected the working of the site.

  25. I have an earring which has an opal triplet. The coating over the opal layer is cracked – and getting worse . . . is there any way to repair this? Two jewelers have told me to use superglue as a top-layer/sealant, but I am hesitant to do so . . .

    1. Brigitte for opal triplets its not worth the time and effort to try to fix them. Probably better to just get them replaced. Please give me the size of the stones and the approximate color and I will give you a price. If the opals are claw set, its not difficult to replace them yourself or get a handyman to help you. I can show you how to do it. However if they are bezel set its more difficult. Just give me a bit more information. Pleased to help if i can. Peter

  26. regarding opal inquiry. i believe i have answered this already but dont see it here. please contact me again if necessary. peter

  27. I just received this opal as an engagement ring last week. I was just hoping for some more information on the type of opal and if it requires any special care.

    1. sorry for the delay. in regard to your opal. its a crystal opal. a beautiful stone. not sure of its origin. if its from Australia, no problems in putting it in water but if from Africa, keep it out of water as it will lose its color. color usually comes back when dried but just to be sure. Peter

  28. Hi Peter! I’m hoping you can help me identify the stone in a ring I just inherited! My uncle claims it’s an opal…but I don’t agree. The ring is set in silver and is roughly 100 years old. I will be taking it to a jeweler soon, along with other antique rings, but the mystery of the stone is driving me crazy in the meantime!
    Thank you for any assistance!

    1. Hi Marcy. well its not Australian opal that’s for sure but there are some opals from south american which are different colors but with no play of color. Green stones are usually crysoprase or peridot but its a different green. maybe a type of Jade. that’s about the best i can say.

  29. Someone commented on how they liked my opal ring today. I never knew what it was called before, so i started to research it and came across your website. I was wondering if you can tell me if it looks like a real opal or synthetic. I vaguely remember the person who gave it to me say it was his grandmothers. Any info at all that you could give me would be appreciated. Thanks in advance

    1. Sara, sorry about the delay in commenting on your opal ring. it certainly looks like a solid crystal opal from the Coober Pedy opal mines in South Australia and if its an old ring it certainly would be real but if more modern, some synthetic opals look like the real thing. hope that helps, peter

  30. Hi this is my engagement ring it started off a lovely colour but now has gone very yellow and dull I was just conferring if there is any way I can get it looking a better colour again

      1. Sophie its still not good enough. i suggest you continue to let the opal dry out but not in the direct sun in case it cracks. if the color doesnt come back, i suggest you ask for a replacement stone or a refund. But better get my advice before accepting another stone. you need to get an australian opal. preferably a boulder opal

  31. My boyfriend got me this ring at Christmas and it’s gone from the colour on the right to the one on the left in a month. I take it off when I do any washing/cleaning. Is there anything I can do to get the colour back?

    1. Megan, it looks like you have an African opal, not Australian. These opals are hydrophane which means that when you put them in water, the color can either change or disappear. If you completely dry the ring out the color should return. Maybe put it in the sun for a while but dont overheat it. if the color does not return to original, you should take the ring back to the supplier and complain. Then you should get them to replace the stone with an Australian opal. just contact me peter AT opalmine dot com for assistance with this. Happy to give you this free service but Please go to https://plus.google.com/102995504959810313699/about?hl=en and give us some comments and a rating. it just helps us to keep giving this service. thanks Megan, Peter

  32. i have a triplate opal ring that belonged to my mother. It is about 30 years old and has lost its lustre. A jeweller has given me aquote to polish it and I am wondering if this is the best way to renew the ring. Thank you.

    1. anne i would need to see a picture of the opal before making a comment but i would guess that the crystal cap has some moisture under it and all the polishing in the world wont help. but i need to see it. Peter

  33. I store my opal ring in a safe, in a tiny ziploc bag which also contains a damp piece of cotton. Over many many months, some discoloration typically occurs to the edges of the cotton. Perhaps this is mold growth?

    I have just removed the old cotton, and replaced it with a new swab imbued with isopropyl rubbing alcohol (to discourage mold) and filtered water.

    Will the rubbing alcohol harm the opal, sealed as it is in the tiny ziploc? The stone is mounted open-back, and is a solid opal, small, greenish, and quite fiery, surrounded by seed pearls, and possibly of Victorian origin.

    Many thanks for maintaining this web site, and for your time considering my question!

    1. Pleased to comment on your opal Ivy. Actually it would be a good idea to post a picture of it here so that i can be more accurate in my advice. but generally speaking, if its a crystal opal its not a bad idea to keep it in water. Actually, putting it in a small jar of water would be even safer, with maybe a dash of metho (wood alcohol) to keep it nice and fresh. but this is only necessary if its crystal or dark opal from some fields. boulder opal and most black opal would be fine. I say this because you said it was an old stone. if it were a recent purchase i would advise you to keep it right away from water because some crystal opal coming out of Ethiopia loses color in water because it is hydrophane. it is said that it comes back after drying but i am uneasy about that. Just a request Ivy. if you would like to please go to https://plus.google.com/102995504959810313699/about?hl=en and follow us with a star rating and some comments if you like. this just helps us in the google search and enables ongoing service to the international community. but please send a pic for further checking. best wishes Ivy, Peter

      1. Thank you for your reply, Peter. This is definitely not an Ethiopian opal (I have seen them), so it sounds like it’ll be OK in the ziploc, unless there is a problem with isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl alcohol is there to kill mold. If possible, I’d rather not go out and buy an entire bottle of wood alcohol just to kill mold for a tiny ring. –>Unless there is a problem with isopropyl alcohol and opals.<–

        I'll try to upload a photo, but that might take a while!

        1. ivy i have never used isopropal for this purpose. its only used for electronic parts as far as i know and is a very powerful fluid. metho is cheap. maybe a couple of dollars a bottle and safe. but if its working for you just keep doing it.

    1. Mary the opals look real. i cannot tell the diamonds of course but i would say they would be real. i think you got a great bargain! Just pour some washing up detergent on it and give it a good scrub with an old tooth brush on the top and inside the ring and it will brighten up the diamonds. congratulations! peter

      PS. by the way Mary let me know if you would like to make some comments about our service online. just email me peter AT opalmine dot com

  34. I bought an opal ring off ebay and was told it was natural opals and diamonds. They were from an estate sale. However I received the ring today and the opals look so colorful I feel it’s too pretty to be in my price range to be natural. Whats your thoughts? Natural or fake? If real, what type of opal do you think it is? and lastly, the diamonds look like they need a good cleaning but its extremely hard to get to them from the mounting. Any suggestions? THANK YOU!

  35. Thank you Peter! I have found a small amount of the powder on Ebay so ‘ve ordered that. Can I use a cotton bud or just cotton fabric?

    1. thats great Sarah! you can try cotton buds but it needs to be a rough rag so that you allow the paste to cut a little. but just experiment.

  36. I have recently purchased a vintage 9ct gold & silver Opal dress/cocktail ring from an antique shop. It was cloudy and dirty when I purchased it, but just through washing my hands the opal is sparkly and silver less tarnished. It is a solid opal, but I can feel there are hairline scratches on the surface of the opal – is there any way to remove these. I spoke to a jewellery store, but because this is an antique dress ring, the stones have been cemented in place, so his machine wouldn’t be safe to use (knock the stones out the settings). Any advice on cleaning and removing the scratches would be really appreciated – I just love this ring! (The opal is 1cm x 8mm)

    1. Sarah, regarding your opal ring. Yes, there is a way of taking out the scratches but you will have to find a lapidary (stone cutting supply) shop in your area. just go online and search for ‘lapidary supplies’ or ‘rock hound supplies’ and see if you have one close by. or you can mail order from a larger supplier online. you need to get some cerium oxide powder. the problem will be that you only need a little. make a paste out of it and just rub it on your opal using a cotton cloth. Better still, maybe there is a rock hound club in your area. Those guys are usually very helpful. Thats the best i can suggest. oh..if you want to do us a favor, please follow and rate opalmine by clicking here
      Or paste this into your browser:


    1. Black opal but if this is part of the parcel you just sent, it suggests to me that its more likely to be from Nevada in the USA because the quality of this opal is really beautiful and if it were from lightning ridge in Australia, could be worth many thousands of dollars but i detect that it has been kept in water because it is still rough opal but has a shine to it. there are many beautiful black opals in the american mines but usually they are not suitable for jewelry because of the cracking problem. Hence they are kept as specimens, in water. this is only my opinion and without checking carefully i could be wrong. but that’s the impression i get. Sorry… i just noticed that you said they had been kept in oil. well its the same principle. to stop them from cracking. oil wont hurt them.

    2. Sorry, I just want to make sure I understood correctly……. You mentioned that you would be emailing me, and that from your email you would like better zoomed in pictures of the Opals that I have requested more info from…,..Is that Correct?

  37. Hi Peter,
    I am hoping you can give some information such as value, Opal type, and care for quite a few Rough Opals, Some loose and set polished opals as well? I hope I haven’t ruined my opals, as they have been stored ib a container of other rocks soaked with Baby Oil! Please if you can ….. Which I would greatly appreciate your expertise

    1. Taffy regarding your rough opal. its really difficult to see what you have. you need better quality macro pictures to check. i will send you an email and you can get some better shots to email to me. just cut down any excess background and reduce them in size to around 100kb each. Peter … addition… no need to email or send extra shots. the later ones you sent allowed me to comment.

  38. Last year, I inherited several Opal rings after my mother passed. One in particular I know was my great grandmother, the problem is that the stone has a cloudy appearance, is there anything I can do for this ring to get the cloudy appearance gone?

    1. Jessica. regarding the opal with a cloudy appearance. it sounds like you have an opal triplet and the cloudiness is because the cap may have some moisture behind it because it has probably been used for a long time in wash-up or other water based activities. usually its ok but if done to excess it can cause this problem. not to say that this is so because i haven’t seen the ring, but this is my guess. If you like, you can post a picture on this forum. just make sure the size of the pic is cut down to email size. perhaps 100 to 500 kb . this will give me a better idea. Peter

  39. I apologize for the large pictures. I thought I got them down to size but obviously it didn’t turn out right. Also, is it okay to wash my hands with this ring on?

    1. No problem Corine. opal ring pictures are fine. Also, ok to wash your hands with it on but keep in mind that you need to avoid knocking it against anything hard such as plates, or ceramic sinks. just be a bit careful of it and dont wear it working because you can crack it. hope that helps. you have a lovely ring. best wishes, peter

  40. The jeweler thought it may be around the time of 1950s. Inside the ring is says 1925 so it should be sterling silver.

      1. Oh you are right! It does say 925. Hard to read such tiny print. If you had to guess a fair value for it in US what would you say?

        1. corine, i would say that this opal ring in silver would sell for around $300 if the sapphires are genuine. no way of telling.

  41. I bought this ring today from an antique store. Opal surrounded by dark sapphires. What type of opal is it and what type of care would be best for it?

    1. Corine, your opal looks like an opaque white solid opal from the Coober Pedy fields. its a nice contrast between the white stone and the dark sapphires. peter

  42. Hi there,
    I have an Ethiopian opal ring which has changed colour to a dark yellow permanently. Do you have any idea how or why this happend? Thank you

    1. yes, this is called hydrophane opal and it loses color when put in water but it should come back. try putting it under a warm light and keep an eye on it. Better to only buy Australian opal. but post a picture of it here and i will help as much as i can. peter

    2. The same thing happened to my Ethiopian opal. But I put it in water and it went back to the milky color and the flashes of green and red returned. So now I am confused. Water actually made mine better. So did it discolor due to drying out?

      1. Carolyn. regarding your Ethiopian opal. All i know is that they are called hydrophane opals which means i believe that they are quite porous. putting them in water is supposed to make the color disappear so i dont understand why the opposite seems to be happening with yours. I really only know Australian opals which dont have that problem. The closest thing we have here is Andamooka matrix opal which is porous and is carbon treated to make it look like black opal. But its not popular and hardly ever seen on the market.

    1. Sasha, regarding your opal ring, please give me a few more details. If it just needs a clean you can use ordinary dish washing detergent but if it has lost its shine or has scratches, it needs a cut and polish and this has to be done by experiences opal cutters. Let me know where you live and i might be able to recommend someone if this is the case. hope this helps. best wishes, Peter

  43. thats great news Shauna. African opals are very beautiful but they can lose their color but as far as i know it comes back after they dry out. better to keep them out of water.

  44. I put my opal ring in a cleaner to clean the diamonds. I forgot about it and found it several days later. The opal has turned a clear yellow color. I feel sick, that I ruined my opal ring that I bought on our alaskan curise at a shop. I probably paid to much, but I’ve always wanted one. Is there anything I can do to bring back the fire. Thanks!

    1. Shauna, sorry for the late reply. i would say you have an Ethiopian opal not Australian and when you put them in water the color disappears because they are porous stones. i would try putting it in sunlight for a while. not too hot but the water should evaporate and the color should come back. i hope this helps. in future, make sure your opals are Australian. its very disappointing when this happens. If the color doesn’t come back let me know and i will do my best to help. Peter

      1. The fire has returned the ring. Thanks for your help. Are these type of opals lesser quality, I don’t know much about them.
        Thanks, Shauna

  45. Lorna, the two on the left look like solids. the one on the right looks like a triplet unless you got an outstanding bargain. if its solid its worth many thousands of dollars but i cant see because the pics are not clear enough and its in a setting. to check you have to look at the stone from the side and to do that you have to take it out of the setting. peter

  46. Hi Peter, i’m uploading 3 files. One is the opal necklace with a black background, the colour there is how it looked before I had it made into a pendant, although because it’s transparent now it only has these colour from the black behind. The other two pictures are taken from two different angles so you can see the colour. In the first it’s pretty much a transparent brown colour, and in the second when it catches the light the green flecks become visible.Sorry these pics aren’t very clear, are these ok to check?

  47. Hi Peter, please can you advise: I bought a loose opal stone, small size, i’m 99% sure it was solid, I checked it from every angle. It was a black colour when I bought it, with vivid greens and blues inside. I had in set into a gold setting (mount setting with open back), but when I went to collect it the stone had gone totally transparent. It still had the colours inside when it catches the light, but I can see through it now. Do you know what’s caused this, or if there’s anything I can do?

    1. Loma regarding your opal. if you would like me to take a look please post some good quality pictures here but crop them so that they dont have a lot of space around them and reduce the size to around 500 pixels. i will take a look and let you know what i think. best wishes, peter

  48. I have a large 2×1 cm opal ring that has broken, cracked along the top 3rd, can I have it reshaped so I can have it reset ??

    1. Nichola, regarding your damaged opal: Pleased to advise you about this problem. i can do pretty well anything with opals but will need to see pictures first to give you the right advice. I will send you a contact email and we can talk about it direct. in the meantime, please post a picture on this forum so i can take a look. Keep the pixel size down to around 1000. if you are not good at editing graphics, let me know. peter

  49. Hi Peter,

    The information here is so useful, thank you so much for this site.
    I’ve recently put a small deposit on a boulder opal ring at a well-known opal musem/store in Sydney, but only since then I’ve been told opals are soft styles that can be tricky to care for. The ring I’m buying is a brilliant blue colour but the underside is the colour of normal some and has a crack running along it.
    The crack doesn’t show through to the front of the ring and I asked about it in the store and they said that our would be fine and is very solid.
    So now I’m a bit concerned. It’s a beautiful ring but will be the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought, so I won’t be happy if it falls apart! I’ll be leaving Australia soon after I collect the ring too, so I’m unlikely to take it back of anything happens.
    Do you think this is cause for concern?

    1. Lauren regarding your boulder opal ring. if you would like you can post a picture of it here for a start. i will send you an email and do what i can to help. no problems.

  50. Rick, regarding rough opal, pleased to make some comments. Boulder opal can be polished of course but its a bit tricky and it depends on the quality of the boulder. First, better let me see what you have. it would be good to be able to post a picture on this forum but we dont have that facility yet,. will look into it. in the meantime if you want to send me some pics please go to the front page of this site http://www.opalmine.com and click on the red email contact below the interview on the right hand side of the page. would be happy to give you some details. best wishes Nick, Peter

  51. Hi Peter,
    We are really interested in rough opals – love the way the whole rock seems to come alive with a little flash of fire. any recommendations for keeping a rough opal bright? Unless it’s wet, it seems a little dull, I guess coz mainly boulder rock. So, can boulder/rough opal be varnished with resin or the like? Thanks Peter.

  52. Hi. I bought a clear opal with ‘celled broadflash’. Looking at it closely later, I found lines running inside the opal that stayed the same from all angles. It looks like faint crazing, but the seller says they are structural lines that define the cell pattern. what to say or do? thank you very much in advance.

    1. Hi Nick. Regarding your opal, best idea is to send me some close up pics of the stone using either shaded natural light or fluorescent inside lights. if its a see through stone, take it on a black background but control the contrast by putting some white paper around the stone and adjusting the cameras light unless you have a camera that will do it auto. be sure to cut the size of the picture down to around 1000 pixels in a graphics program and send it to me. use the email you will see in red underneath the interview on the front page of http://www.opalmine.com I will be happy make some observations without obligation. best wishes, Peter

  53. Hello, good day. I’m from Mexico and yesterday I bought a Mexican Opal Ring. Unfortunately I hit it against wood while moving my hand somewhat quickly… I think I can see a little scratch on the surface, I am new in this field of gems, plus I don’t use ring regularly so is it possible that wood can do this to opal? Thank you!

    1. Karen regarding your opal ring and pendant. The sea water wont hurt your opal unless it is a triplet although unlikely. Triplets have a crystal can cemented to the stone which can come loose in a lot of hot soapy water. unlikely in the ocean except of course that if your jewelry is claw set, the water can make rings slippery and you could lose the whole thing. or you could break the chain on your opal pendant and the same could happen. So its probably better not to wear them swimming for this reason. hope that helps Karen, Peter

  54. I’m making a set of floating opal necklaces, and I’ve looked around, and just to be sure before I set to, I’ve got some questions I believe you could help me with, if you’d be so kind. Since I’m wanting to achieve a “slow fall” look when the pregnant is turned, I know I need oil, not water. Everything I’ve read says I can’t use glycerine oil and that week be just fine. I also checked into what was used in the original floating opal pendants and those sites and articles all say glycerine oil was used. Is this still the recommended oil? I had a lovely, vintage pendant, and I did not know it was in my case when I went into work one day. I went out to my car… and it had exploded!!! My front seat was sparkly and that’s how I found out what had happened! Thank you for your time!!

    1. Amber,regarding you opal necklace, as far as i know glycerine was always used for this purpose. its soluble in water if you ever need to wash the opals. best wishes, peter

  55. Hi Peter, I have 3 tiny jars of boulder opal rough, from Woodstock, Queensland, Australia. I’ve had these for several years, waiting to decide how to use them. I just opened one of the jars to realize they have been soaking in oil of some sort. I guess I assumed they were in water…. What should I do with them now??? How do I clean the oil off of them? I’m heartbroken and afraid they’re totally ruined. Thank you for your assistance.

    1. Martina, regarding your opals, its probably just glycerin. it will probably dissolve in water http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/chemistry-terms/glycerin-info.htm anyway try it and maybe use some washing up detergent. if you like take a picture of them using a macro camera. phone camera should be OK but please cut the image back to around 1000 pixels before sending. email me from the contact on the front page of opalmine.com. i will try to help you.

  56. Peter,
    Just letting you know that the opals came out overnight looking good as new. I used a “green” version of Denatured Alcohol, with less methanol (I was chicken), as our local HW store did not have Methylated Spirits. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kindness and expertise! and happy Easter or Passover or spring, as the case may be!

  57. no problems Judith. let us know how you went. Incidentally if it doesn’t loosen the epoxy, it will be some other sort of glue like perhaps super glue in which case you might need thinners. the same stuff used by the ladies to clean fingernail polish. Peter

  58. Dear Peter, Thank you so much for the quick reply! I hope you dont mind a followup just to make sure I get this right, My opals are solids. Not being familiar with methylated spirits, I looked it up in Wikipedia and found it is also called Denatured Alcohol and that the alcohol is often mixed with
    Peter, Thanks so much for the quick reply!! A followup Q, if you would be so kind, to make sure I get this right. I looked up methylated spirits on Wikipedia and learned it is also called Denatured Alcohol, which is ethyl alcohol mixed with various different chemicals, methyl being one. They list a number of other possible additives including isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and denatonium. My question is, do I need a specific type of this stuff and/or do I need to be sure to avoid any of these additives? I am a little nervous about dunking my opals in a chemical brew and would like to make sure to have the right brew! Again, thanks so much.

    1. Judith, yes it seems that Denatured Alcohol is the same as Methylated Spirits. it wont hurt your solid opals. some i have soaked in it for years and it doesnt effect them. but it dissolves epoxy. just get the ordinary stuff they sell in hardware stores. I think vinegar also dissolves epoxy. you could try that first if you like. peter

  59. Peter, thank you for being such an “opal mine” of help for so many people. I have a Q for you too. Is there a safe way to remove opals from earring settings they were glued into with two part epoxy? I did one lopsided… 🙁 They have been set about 4 months, and I dont mind destroying the setting to get the opals back.They are Cooper Pedys. Thank you for any advice you can give!

    1. Hi Judith! regarding removing your opals from a setting cemented in with epoxy resin. First, if the opals are triplets you have to be very careful but if they are solids, its easy. you probably know the difference but in case you dont, opal triplets will be dark and if you are able to see the back of the opal, it will be either black or a grey color. If solid opals from coober pedy, they will be either a milky color or a crystal more see through look. At any rate you use the same procedure for both stones. just soak them overnight in motholated spirits. You might have to leave them there longer to dislodge the epoxy. but with the triplets, keep checking them because the caps of the triplets are often also cemented on with a type of epoxy and the method can lift the cap on the triplets. hope this helps, peter

  60. I purchased two opal doublet pieces at the Idaho rock & gem show. Immersed in water they show excellent fire but not much when they dry out. Is there anything I can do to show the fire when dry? Thanks

    1. Dan, maybe the opal doublets have not been polished properly. opal color will show up in water if unpolished but when they dry out the color will be subdued. if you like take some good pics of them and send them direct to my email address which is shown in red at the top right hand side of the opalmine front page. http://www.opalmine.com But make sure the pics are clear and reduce their size to around 1000 pixels. Pleased to help if i can. best wishes Dan. Peter

  61. So I just received a vintage opal ring and was told not to wear it in the shower because they are sensitive. After googling everyone said that wasn’t true. But I carelessly forgot. And now my white opal is more blue. I don’t think it’s an doublet or triplet because there are no layers when I look at it from the side. Help?

    1. Amy you might have bought an African opal. when you put them in water they lose their color or change. hopefully the color will come back. or maybe you have an opal triplet and the cap has allowed steam behind it. go to http://www.opalmine.com and let me know what type of opal you think you have. peter

  62. Hi Paul I have 5 opals bought in 2 Coober Pedy, (1 semi black and one crystal) and 3 black ones from Lightning Ridge. I am torn between rub over setting and claw setting my head tells me the rub over setting as it is more secure but my heart wants the claw setting. I fancy the claw setting because I want to show off the host rock and see they are the real deal whereas it’s hard to show that with a rub over setting. They will all be rings. They will be worn daily. I’ve ben wearing a tiny black opal in a 3 claw setting for the last 8 months no bother and daily at that. I bought the black opal loose in Cairns night market and got it set when I got back to the UK But the reality is that I have also been wearing 6 other opal rings that may or may not be the real things for years and they all now marked or scratched in some way, decisions decisions any advice would be great
    Ps I don’t need reminding that I may look barmy wearing umpteen rings on every finger 🙂

    1. Jack! great to hear that you are an opal addict and wearing opal rings is sure the best way to promote them. i think you should start by sending me some good pics of the rings you already have and the unset stones you have bought. that way i can help you make a decision. Yes, bezel settings are more secure but like you say without being able to see the sides of the stone, they could very well be doublets or triplets and if you are a bit sensible, not wearing your rings roughly in the garden or wherever you have a chance of catching them on something, claws are fine. Particularly if they are helped with a little jewelers cement in the setting process. try to get some good macro shots but please reduce the size of the pics to around 1000 pixels or it gets too heavy for email sending. Pleased to offer my suggestions. no obligations. I will send you an email to make direct contact. best wishes, Peter

  63. Hi, am hoping you can answer a question for me. Some years ago I bought some opals that were said to be black opals. The tv salesman shone a flashlight on them &, not knowing anything about gemstones, I thought it was cool that they went from black to a brilliant blue. NOW I see that opals’ colors don’t normally need a flashlight!! Is there anything I can do with them? Can’t I grind or polish off the top layer somehow so that they display their fire? Lesson 1: watch out with tv gem salesmen!

    1. Sally, i will do my best to help. first i need to get a good close up picture of the opals so that i can make some comments. i will send you a separate email. just answer it to make connection and take some shots of the stones. just cut the size of the shots down to around 1000 pixels. please dont send large images with lots of blank area. you might have to learn how to edit them in a graphics program if you dont know already. Peter

  64. Hi, I have a concern about my solid opal and diamond gold ring. I lost it about a week ago and of course found it in the bottom of the drier. It had gone through the washing machine and the drier. My clothes were far from dry, so I’m not sure exactly how hot it got in there, but I have a feeling my ring is pretty damaged. Thankfully, it is not visibly damaged whatsoever. Is it damaged on the inside or dried out? And is there any way to restore it?

  65. Hi,
    I have a about 2crt opal (semi black) with 12 diamonds around it ,it is beautiful colours from red blue. Light green yellow now the back of the opal had not been polish I don’t know the reason why.
    I have been told over the 31 years that I should have it done.It cost me $3000 to have it made up in gold,I was on vacation in Cairns last year I had it on and I was walking pass a opal store,the man in the store me looking at the jewellery ask if he could have a look at my ring.
    He told me if he had the ring he would put a price of $35.000 he said it was a beautiful opal.
    Now I am asking if I should have the back of the opal polished after all these years.
    Thank you

    1. margaret, please send me a picture of the opal ring to peterATopalmine.com but reduce the size to around 500 kb. peter

      1. Wow, opal sure doesnt like that treatment but if none of the diamonds have come out and there are no chips on the opal, it seems it survived without a problem. If its a solid opal there should be no problems. If it hasnt lost its color i wouldnt be concerned. you just gave it a good clean up.. but let me know if you can see any visible signs of damage. peter

  66. Oh, and what I meant by “do you think this will work” is: is it okay to put the opals in salt water for a couple minutes of snorkeling to clean the healing piercing? Thanks! Kat

    1. As mentioned in the other answer. Salt water is fine with opals. In fact nothing much effects opals unless they are triplets and constant dredging in washup water can dislodge the crystal protective cap after years of mishandling.

      1. Thank you so much for the answer and your time. I just wanted to be sure I had it right, as there is some conflicting info on the Internet regarding different gemstones and how to clean them, esp. opal. Thanks!

  67. I just got my nose pierced with purple opals in titanium. They told me to snorkel in distilled water with a little salt (4 tsp. salt to 1 gal. water) 2 times a day to keep the piercings clean. I have no idea what kind of opals these are, they are small! Do you think this will work? Even though I had it done at a high end shop, I don’t think they know too much about gemstones, just a little…and the opals are admittedly Brand New to their stock of piercing jewelry. (Which is different from jewelry for already healed piercings, because you don’t have to keep washing the piercing with special aftercare instructions for healing.) Thanks, Kat

    1. Kat, salt water will not hurt the opals if they are natural and non synthetic stones. I dont know about synthetics because i dont sell them and i cannot tell what you have without seeing them so if you have a good digital camera that can take macro shots, send me a picture. for instructions you can go to http://opalmine.com/services/opal-photography/ and leave some comments at the bottom of the page if you need help. email the pictures to peterATopalmine.com (replace the AT with @) but make sure you have trimmed the pictures back to around 300 kb. Peter

  68. I bought my wife a white opal ring. Having got it home and on very close inspection in different angles we noted what we thought was a crack. We returned to the jeweller who initially said it was probably an inclusion but then said it was perhaps a crack. The ring was sent to their supplier who has said that the ring is being soaked in some kind of oil and the crack/inclusion is disappearing. We are due to get it back in the next few days. What is the difference between a crack (I take to be catastrophic) and an inclusion (that only matters if it detracts from the beauty of he ring)? Should I just refuse to accept the ring and try to get my money back?

    1. Dave, the difference is that a crack is what it means. The stone is cracked. Sometimes it can be secured and fixed so wait till you get it back and take a close look with a magnifying glass. if its still cracked just ask for your money back. An inclusion is if there is some natural mark remaining from the actual stone itself and this can be acceptable as long as it is in the right context. natural inclusions in boulder or black opal are most acceptable and in fact can be a proof that its a natural stone. However if the stone is presented as a clean faced stone with no natural inclusions, and a objectionable mark develops it could be copi in black opal but its more likely to be a crack because inclusions dont just appear. they are there from the start. anyway send me a clear picture of no more than around 300 kb to peterATopalmine.com (replace the A with @) and i will take a look. Pleased to help if i can. best wishes Dave, Peter

      PS. Not wanting to discourage the sale from your supplier, just tell him that if the stone needs replacement, i can help him at a dealers price.

  69. Peter,

    I knew it was a triplet since the ad indicated that. My question was whether wearing the hat in the sun would present any problems to the triplet. Any thoughts on that? The hat in question costs $190.00.

    1. sorry for misunderstanding your request. No problems with heat with opal triplets unless you cook them in an oven or something. their main enemy is constantly putting them in hot detergent water but i doubt that will be a problem with a hat. Peter

  70. Peter,

    It may be the same type of triplet available on the Akubra Coober Pedy although the Akubra style I am considering is a different model.

    1. Robert you can tell what it is by what you paid for it. without looking at the back, this could be an opal triplet or a black opal. If you paid maybe $100 or so for the hat, it would have to be an opal triplet. A black opal with red like this would probably be worth around $1000. that’s the best way of knowing what it is without taking it out of the setting or if the back is exposed, turning it around. hope that helps you Robert, Peter

  71. I am considering purchasing a hat with an opal triplet mounted on the hat band.
    Will wearing the hat in the sun present any problems?

    1. Robert, what sort of opal is it? send me a picture of the ad if you can and i will try to help, peter

  72. Hi Peter!
    I read through the posts and found a similar question about polishing a stone in a setting but the attached link for more information didn’t work :-(.
    I have a ring from the 50’s with a grey high-domed opal in a bezel setting. The opal has beautiful colors in red, green, yellow and orange, overlaid by specks of blue hues. It is altogether in good condition, no crack, no chips but it has lots of small scratches concentrated mainly on the top of the dome. Is there a way to polish the stone maybe without removing it from the setting? And if no, could a possible removing damage the ring/stone?
    Thank you so much for your reply.

    1. Lisa: as long as you sand the top of the stone where most if not all of the scratches will be concentrated it should be ok. is the stone claw or bezel set. if its claw, its not difficult to take the stone out and cement it onto a stick with white carpenters glue. then you can get at it better. but if not just sand and polish the top and it should be ok. did you read the article on doing it by hand? here it is: http://opalmine.com/opal-repairs-without-machinery/ let me know if you need further help after you have read this article. Best wishes Lisa

      1. Hello Peter!
        Thanks for the article! I read it and found it very useful. My stone is set in a bezel-setting, taking it out would go way over my abilities. I will try to polish the stone on my own and hope it will improve its appearance a bit.
        Thanks again!

        1. Oh, i forgot…
          Can i start with the 1200 grit? I guess every grit coarser than that would only add scratches instead of removing them…?

          1. sure Lisa, start from very fine if you like. also rub the paper on an old bottle first to take the edge off it and experiment first. if it has deep scratches you have to have a sharper paper but if not just smooth it out a bit first.

  73. Hello,
    My mother fell and the prongs gouged out two areas of her opal . Can the opal be trimmed down and reshaped or is it a lost cause?

    Thanks so much.

    1. Kathy, if possible please email me a picture of the damage. you will need a macro camera and you will need to reduce the size of the image to around 300 kb. the picture needs to be clear. email it to peterATopalmine.com just replace the AT with @ . this is for security. best wishes Kathy

  74. Can a doublet or triplet opal that has been damaged by water be dried out. I have had mine for several years and it has gone cloudy.

    1. Heather is the stone in a setting? sorry for not answering till now. i did not get a reminder of your question. peter

  75. Hello – I am considering buying a 1920s opal and diamond ring at auction, but the auctioneer has told me (when I asked) that the opal has crazing. Should I avoid it? I can email you some pictures if that would help. Many thanks!

    1. Catherine, it would be OK if you got it for the price of the jewelry itself. If the opal is crazed it means its cracked and would probably be worthless. It means the stone comes from an untrustworthy field maybe Africa or Nevada or Europe or some known cracky fields. If you like send me the url where its featured or a picture by email and I will advise you. You can easily get another stone cut to fit but you have to work out the costs first. Pleased to help if i can. no obligation to buy anything. Advice is free. best wishes Catherine.

  76. Zoe, i imagine that you have got a piece of hydrophane opal which tends to lose its color in water but some lose their color without water. We have opal similar in Australia from the coastal areas and while its very beautiful, it cannot be used without risk as the color can disappear. i would suggest getting back to the supplier in eBay and asking for a refund because sellers have to make sure they dont cheat anyone or eBay gets upset with them. first of all, go to the contacts area here http://opalmine.com/contact-us/ and i will make some suggestions by email. Maybe you could take a close up shot of your opal and send it to me by email but please make sure that you reduce the size of the image to around 100 to 200 kb. I will help as much as possible without obligation. Best wishes Zoe, Peter

  77. Hi,

    I recently purchased a pair of opal earrings. They are Ethiopian opals and they were put into a sterling regular post setting. They are about 2 months old now and I noticed today that there is a pretty significant chunk in th back of the setting that seems like it has chipped completely off. It looks as though its being held on by only the setting, but I am afraid to remove it and confirm, if that is the case.

    It was purchased from a shop that is originally in Florida and I am in Maryland so it’s not really possible for me to go to them for a repair. Is there anything I can do? Is it possible to repair aiding chunk of opal? Are Ethiopian opals known for brittleness? I just don’t know how it could’ve cracked because they obviously haven’t been harshly treated since they’re in my ears and I haven’t taken any blows to the head!

    The only other thing I can guess is that if they were chipped when I got them and I didn’t notice, or that the setting was put on way too tight.

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Jessica, not wanting to denegrate the ethipean stone but i have tried many times to cut them and they have all eventually cracked. i would say that the fracture was there from the beginning or at least sometime after it was cut, polished and set. The people you bought them from should stand by them. this is not your fault. can you see if they have a website and send them a polite message asking them to replace the stones with australian opal. our policy is to give a lifetime guarantee and maybe there are others who look after their customers well. in the meantime, you could repair it yourself using quick dry epoxy resin. just contact me on skype peter_brusaschi and i will talk you through it. actually if the crack is in the background of the stone, it may not be obvious anyway and you might be able to live with it. but if it contineues to crack the stone will be ruined, so its a good idea to try to get them to support you. anyway, i will help in whatever way i can, without obligation. leave your email address here first before skyping and i will email you: http://opalmine.com/contact-us/

  78. Hey there! I bought an opal, australian opal I believe.
    it was beautifully blue and green, very bright and very powerful
    and then I looked into to opal care via google and it told me to soak it in water ( so I did )
    and first it lost ALL colour, went brown and then it healed and became light blue/ white.
    then one day I went in the ocean, it lost its color and once again.. it changed colours to green.

    Now it’s permanently brown.
    and I don’t know what to do to help it heal.
    Do I put it in water again and then let it dry inside a box with no light?

    1. Natalia, best idea is to send me a good close up picture of your opal for a start. i will take a look at it and give you my opinion, no problems. I will send you an email so you can reply direct. best wishes, Peter

    1. brad, not sure what you mean by this, but anyway like i said. send me a picture and let me know if you need help with photography. just make sure you do it with a black velvet background if possible, or black cardboard or material if not velvet and also make sure that you dont allow too much light. put some strips of white paper around the base of the ring away from it so that the black area will sourround the ring. i will clean up the image for you for free. no obligation. pleased to help if i can

  79. We purchased a nice opal ring locally. The ring and the three opals in it seemed fine when we got it. After less than a year cracks began forming on 2 of the opals. At the store they say that it basically would have to be cause by carelessness and my wife does not do anything that could damage it. The opals are very thin and we wondered if it was possible that because of the design that it was at high risk for cracking. I do not know what type it is but the color is intense blue with some green, probably a black opal. Thanks.

    1. Brad, if possible, send me a picture of the ring. you can post it on this forum. i will do what i can to help you. Sounds to me like the jeweler is trying to fob you off. thats no way to run a business. you will need to use a digital macro camera. maybe even your phone camera will do if you have one. keep in touch.

    1. Tara, just clarify the question a bit more regarding lab opal. will be happy to make some comments. peter

    2. Tiara, we have had a few technical problems in the blog of opalmine.com and i am just checking on some comments made. sorry for not getting back to you sooner very best wishes Tiara, Peter

    3. Tara, we have had a few technical problems in the blog of opalmine.com and i am just checking on some comments made. Many apologies for not getting back to you earlier. please comment again if you would like. very best wishes, Peter

    1. Pamela, please ask your supplier to tell you what a lab opal is. you need to know these things before buying. i already know of course but it would be interesting to hear what they have to say. Peter

    2. sorry Pamela, just noticed this other blog. Yes, i would say the same thing applies to lab opal. just dont wear it in the garden where you could scratch it. peter

  80. When my husband purchased me an opal for my birthday he was told that I needed to put a drop of oil on it every 6months or it would crack? Do I really need to do that? Or just clean it with water? So confused,

    1. Leah, there are all sorts of ideas going around about opal and for that matter, other gemstones. The fact of the matter is that if you have a piece of Australian opal from a reliable field, you dont have to do anything with it except make sure you dont wear it roughly in the garden or somewhere where you might bang it against a wall or scratch it. If you have a cracky opal from a bad field, there’s nothing much you will be able to do about it. it will crack unless you keep it in water all the time. just post a picture of your opal on this site and i will take a look to see what type of opal you have. best wishes, Peter

  81. very helpful and quick to respond… Spoke with Peter back and forth on the web, peter was very knowledgeable about the stone and his suggestions worked great. my stone is brighter and the colors more vivid.
    Kelly B

    1. Kelly sorry for late recognition of your nice comments. Really appreciate you taking the time to let folks know about your experience with us. very best wishes, Peter

  82. Hi…Are you sure about all the info you gave? I have read elsewhere that extreme cold may crack an opal, yet you answered someone that they could put it in the freezer. Also, the ok in salt water answer…I have read only distilled water…also, the only oil for an opal is glycerin, and other oils can harm an opal….Anyway, I am not questioning you, but rather am confused. Sharon

    1. Sharon thanks for the question. its a good one and it will benefit all readers of this blog. Well, I’ve been cutting Australian opals for around 40 years. In recent years with the development of white water based glues we havnt had to use the refrigerator but for a long time we had to heat the stone up to hold it on to a dop stick using sealing wax, then put it in the freezer to shrink the wax and release the stone. I have never had an Australian opal break in this process. If an opal is of poor quality from a mine that produces stones with to high water content, it will crack without doing anything to it. Some people have put opals away in a safe for a few years and found them to be shattered. This happens particularly with opals that come from mountains or coastal areas like some parts of Australia and particularly Africa and Nevada in the USA. These opals will crack as soon as you apply just a little heat on them. I believe that some have not cracked but mostly they have to be kept in water. But Australian opals from known fields are extremely hardy. The only thing you have to keep in mind is not to wear them where they could be scratched or broken against a rock or a brick wall. Opals can shatter, and incidentally, so can diamonds, but generally speaking, no problems with hot, cold, oil, water, acid, or anything else you can throw at them. (There may be some acids that could tarnish them so don’t try that) but normal treatment is fine.

      1. Thank you so much for your thorough reply clarifying questions I have about opal care. You are an expert with your years with opals, and I am so glad to have your input.
        I would also like to ask: Is there a way to revive the fire in a large white opal that appears now dead of fire? Also, how do you polish out tiny surface scratches and bring back the surface shine? (jeweler’s rouge?) Thanks again for answers when you have time…

        1. No problems Sharon. It’s a pleasure to be of help. The end of year rush is just about over now so I have a little time to spend chatting. I should have mentioned in my previous comments that there is always an exception to the rule. There have been times when a stone has cracked in the process but this is an example of an opal from a cracky mine and at times they get mixed in with the good ones. But putting them through some rough treatment quickly separates them so that customers are not landed with the problem. In regard to your white opal that has lost its shine. It must be a ring because pendants and other jewelry usually don’t have that problem. It only happens when a ring is worn over a long period of time, perhaps in the garden etc, like I wear mine. If this is the case, it’s easy to shine it up. if you don’t have opal cutting machinery, you can fix it with some wet and dry sandpaper from the hardware store. Get grade 600 and rub out the scratches. Might be an idea to get some 1000 grit or 1200 grit as well to bring up the polish more. If you know someone who is a panel beater, they will know what I am talking about. But you will then need either some cerium oxide or tin oxide to finish the polish using a cotton cloth. (An old pillow slip or sheet would be fine) to take a look at the whole procedure, just click here. I think ive mentioned 700 or 800 grit sandpaper here. it doesnt matter that much. Do a google search to see if there is a lapidary supply shop in your area so you can buy some tin oxide or cerium oxide. you only need a very little. if you have trouble getting it, just let me know on this forum and i will post you a little in an envelope. No charge. Pleased to help.

      2. I appreciate your time and information so much! I am now wondering…Do you have a website for a business on the web whereby you receive opal jewelry by mail for repair? I have three opal rings needing attention..one of them for restoration of fire if possible, and the other two for just surface polishing. There presently is not a lapidary in our “capital” city..With your instructions, I am not sure if I want to attempt this on my own..Sharon
        (I think I wrote this reply to your former post…I meant to answer to the latest post about using the sandpaper, etc.) Thank you, Sharon

        1. Sure Sharon, we can fix all three rings here. Unfortunately by the time you pay registered mail back and forth it will cost you maybe $120 including gold or silver restoration. but we usually include some little gift with each parcel. perhaps an opal pendant to ease the pain costs a little. Keep in mind that whenever you seek to repair anything, there is always the risk that something will go wrong and we cannot guarantee that. having said that we have an almost 100% record of results over the years. Not wanting to scare you but its worth reading the letter posted by a Cindy, a Canadian customer here. Haa.. this episode was totally unique.

  83. I have a beautiful filigre antique ring with a solid opal setting. The ring opal shows a lot of wear, chipped and very milky surface that needs repolished and shined. Can you tell me how I can do this myself?

    Many thanks!

    1. Judy, i see you have asked this question before about opal repairs. somehow i must have missed it. sorry about that. anyway,. please go to http://www.opals.co/?p=2348&preview=true and read an article i have just posted on opal repair on this site. have a read first then come back to this forum if you need some more suggestions. Always pleased to help. Best wishes and hope we can get your opal looking like new again, Peter

  84. I recently purchased a solid opal ring with an antique white gold setting. The opal is rather milky and the and the “fire” does not show as clearly as it should. Can I polish it myself without having to remove the opal?

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

  85. Hi, I am trying to learn more about opals. I know about the doublets, and triplets, and I think the opal bracelet I have has doublets, as it appears to be only 2 layers. The thing that puzzles me is I can see tiny bubbles on the top, what types of caps are used on opal doublets, and how do they affect the price? I would not think a crystal cap would have tiny bubbles, do you think it is plastic? Also is there such a thing as a synthetic opal, made like nature, but lab created? If so how can I tell if mine is natural or synthetic?

    1. Martha, clear crystal caps are often cemented to opal for protection of the stone and sometimes small bubbles can develop under the cap. It can happen too with doublets when the back of the opal is cemented to either black opal potch or brown opal ironstone. I wouldnt be concerned about it unless you start to lose opal color and this may mean that the cap is lifting. Yes, there is such a thing as lab produced opal. It can either be plastic based or grown naturally in a laboritory. We dont deal in any synthetic opal. We always stick the natural opals so that our customers can be assured that they are getting the real thing. Hope that helps. Peter

    1. Alexander, you can start by going to this page in http://www.opals.co : http://www.opals.co/opal-information/solids-doublets-and-triplets/ You will notice that a clear description is given of the different ways opal is manufactured. I can tell from just looking at the opal whether its an opal triplet or a solid opal but you will need to be able to see the opal from the side and if its in a setting that hides the side, this might be difficult. if you have a macro camera, take a shot of the opal from the top and the side if possible and load it into this blog and i will see if i can identify it by the picture. hope that helps. Peter

  86. I have already read all of this. I contacted you to find out how to polish the opal or if there is anything else I can do. I need instruction on how to polish an opal. The opal in the ring is a solid opal.

    1. Sorry about that! There used to be a paragraph in this section with basic opal cutting procedures but it has been taken out in the site upgrade. We are going to install a link to this article from that section but in the meantime i will email you two articles. One that explains how you can do it by hand without machinery, the other if you want to learn it professionally. Hope that will help you. Peter

  87. I have a black opal that has turned milky looking, but when put in water it turns back to black. A jeweler polished it to see if the surface could be cleaned. She then told me that I was not real, was probably made from pieces and acrylic. Would that be the case if it changes color in water? How can I be sure it is real or a fake?

    1. Anita it sounds like you have an opal triplet which is real opal but has a crystal cap on top. If you wear this opal a lot in washing up or in the shower, the cement that holds the crystal cap can go white and eventually the cap will come off. when you put it back in water, probably the water fills in the cavity and it turns black again. The only thing you can do is either replace the opal with a new triplet, or buy a real black opal that wont go like this. if you want me to replace the opal you will have to send it to me here in Australia. There is a chance that i can repair the existing opal but i wont be able to tell till i see it. Peter

  88. Will swimming in salt water hurt my solid opal pentant necklace? I will be in the water 1 hour, twice a week for an aqua exercise class. Thanks.

    1. Hi Beverly! No, the water won’t hurt your stone if its a solid opal. The only thing to check is that your pendant and its chain are either solid silver or gold, and not plated. Not that the water will hurt these much anyway but if you are swimming in chlorinated water it could in time. Also be careful that you have a strong chain because flopping around in water or indeed any other activity could break the chain and result in losing the whole pendant. Hope this helps. Peter

  89. I was told by a patient of mine that if your opal gets dull and doesn’t “spit fire” any longer, you should put it in the freezer and this would cause it to spit fire again. Is this true?

    1. Jeannie, well it wont hurt the opal, but it won’t help it either. The first thing you have to do is identify what sort of opal you have. if it is a triplet, it will have a crystal cap protecting the stone. this is the main reason why opals become whiteish and lose their color. if the cap has moisture under it there’s not much you can do about it. whether putting it in the fridge or not will dry out the moisture, i have no idea. But if the stone is a solid opal and it has lost its gleam, it just needs a re polish. best idea is to take a shot of it with a macro camera and send it to me. i should be able to tell what you have and give you some further advice. just leave a message for me in the contacts form of http://www.opals.co and i’ll do what i can to help. Best wishes Jeannie, Peter

    2. Jeannie, i just sent you a reply in the encyclopedia chat. i think it would be good if you sent me a pic of your opal and i will take a look at it to make sure of what you have. I’ll ask Wes, the site manager to let us know the best way of doing this. peter

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