How To Clean Opal Jewelry


Caring for opal jewelry is essential for maintaining its stunning beauty and vibrant play-of-color. Opal is a relatively soft gemstone that requires special care when cleaning, so it’s important to be aware of the different types of opal jewelry and their respective cleaning requirements.

The three main categories of opal jewelry are natural solid opals, doublets, and triplets. Natural solid opals are made entirely from mined rough or boulder opal offering high-grade sparkle and color. Doublets consist of a thin slice of colorful precious or black opal glued onto a sturdy backing composed of ironstone, potch (common opal), glass or plastic resins. Triplets are similar to doublets but they have an additional protective layer of crystal on top usually comprised of quartz or sapphire.

When caring for your opal jewelry, it’s vital to understand what type you own as each requires unique steps for cleaning. Natural solid opals should only be wiped with soft cloths dampened with warm water; never use soap as it can leave residues that cause tension in the stone which can lead to cracking over time. For both doublets and triplets you can use mild soapy water but make sure not to let the stones soak as well because excessive water exposure may cause warping and other damage. It’s also important not to use any ammonia based products in order to protect the glue used in the layers from damage. Premium Ultrasonic–cleaning systems should also be avoided when caring for your opal pieces as ultrasound could cause breakage due to its vibrations weakening porous surfaces within the gemstones like ironstone backings or surface inclusions.

What You Will Need

Using jewelry cleaning products designed specifically for opals is a great way to keep your precious stone in perfect condition. These specialized cleaners are formulated with pH balanced solutions and ultra-fine abrasive agents to create a gentle yet effective cleaning solution. With these solutions, you can safely remove dirt, oils, lotions and any other impurities that build up over time without fear of scratching the surface or dulling the color of the stone. Additionally, some products also contain an anti-static formula that helps inhibit dust from collecting on your opal jewelry after every cleaning.

Preparing the Jewelry

In order to determine if the opal jewelry needs repair, it is important to inspect the piece for broken or damaged components, as well as for missing pieces such as stones, prongs, and clasps. Any element of the jewelry that appears cracked or has been weakened from frequent wear should be examined more closely by a qualified jeweler. Additionally, loose stones should be inspected to make sure they are secure in their setting. If there are large chips or breaks in the opal, a professional will need to assess them in order to determine if repairs are necessary.

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Cleaning the Jewelry

To remove difficult dirt and grime from opal jewelry, you should use a small, soft brush (like a toothbrush) with a mild soap solution. Begin by soaking the opal jewelry in the soapy water for several minutes, then use the brush to gently scrub away all of the stubborn dirt and oils. Rinse off with lukewarm water, pat dry with a soft cloth or tissue, and then let it air-dry naturally. Avoid using any harsh chemicals on opal jewelry as they can cause discoloration or damage to the stone.

Special Care

Opal jewelry should always be stored in a jewelry box due to the special care opal requires. The best type of jewelry boxes for storing opals are those that provide separate compartments and keeps the jewelry from being scratched or chipped. Velvet lining or dividers between the individual pieces is also recommended as it helps protect the delicate pieces from rubbing against each other. Additionally, cotton flannel covered pouches are ideal for safely storing opal rings. The space where the opal is stored should also be kept away from direct sunlight as prolonged exposure can fade or crack the finish of an opal gemstone.


Cleaning your opal jewelry regularly is an important maintenance task and should not be overlooked. Opal gemstone jewelry can be sensitive to acidic substances as well as drastic temperature fluctuations, making it a challenge to keep clean. To avoid dirt and oil build-up, regular cleaning is necessary. As with any other jewelry, you should begin by wiping down the piece with a soft damp cloth to remove any surface dirt, sweat or oils that may accumulate over time. This can usually be done immediately after wearing the item.

To ensure that you are purchasing genuine opal jewelry, look for certification from a reputable third party lab confirming the authenticity of the stones you’re buying. Many websites also offer lab evaluations on their individual pieces to back up their claims of authenticity and quality. Buying from established retailers who specialize in opals can also help reduce the risk of buying counterfeit or lower quality stones.

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If you want pieces that require less upkeep than usual over time, consider buying treated or synthetic opals as they don’t require as meticulous maintenance as natural gems do due to their enhanced toughness and durability. They are generally less expensive than natural opals too so they are still a great choice if you’re looking for affordable pieces with unique designs and colorful patterns.


If you are looking for additional resources or steps to take on caring for opal jewelry, here are some things you can do:

• Consult the jeweler from which the opal was purchased. Ask them about the cleaning and storage process for their specific gems and find out what their recommendations are for preventing scratches and dulling.

• Research articles and blogs about caring for opal jewelry. Keep on top of popular methods being used by jewelers in your area, as well as different techniques from around the world.

• Read books about how to care for precious stones to get as much information as possible. Many books provide valuable insights regarding jewelry care, not only about opals but also other gemstones.

• Consider practicing regular maintenance checks such as visual inspection and polishing with a cloth to maintain its shine. This way you can understand what processes help make your piece of jewelry stand out while keeping it in great condition over time.

• Try natural cleaners when possible, such as hydrogen peroxide or lemon juice mixed with water, combined with gentle brushing on the stone’s surface (use a soft or very fine microfiber cloth).