Caring for your opals should be a routine event. Softer than gemstones, and containing water, opals require special considerations. On the Mohs scale of hardness, opals are rated as 5-6 1/2. Since other gems like rubies, sapphires, and diamonds are harder than opals, they can scratch them if they rub against them too hard. Because of this, you should keep your opal jewelry in a separate area of your jewelry box or in a padded cloth bag so that they will not be scratched or broken.
To clean all opals, avoid ultrasonic cleaners and steamers, bleach, all chemicals, and cleaners. You can safely wash your opal jewelry in plain warm water, or soapy water (no detergent). Oil will discolor your opal, and neither oiling opals nor storing them in water will prevent or repair cracks.
Opals do best when not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperature changes. It is better to remove your opal while cooking, for example, and not to wear it out in the snow or other cold temperature situations.
Doublet and triplet opals should be removed before washing your hands or bathing because the glue reacts to prolonged exposure to water, dulling the appearance of your stone as the layers separate.
With reasonable care, your opal treasures will provide you with a long life of beauty and elegance.