CARING FOR YOUR OPALS

Opals are softer and more fragile than most crystalline gems. As with all precious items, a certain amount of care should be take. Be careful not to scratch or hit opals, especially those mounted in rings. Also avoid wearing an opal ring while washing up, gardening or doing the housework.

Opals are composed of between three and 20 per cent water and as such, they should not allowed to freeze or dry out. In the case of solid opal, an occasional light rinsing in fresh water is recommended. However, never immerse a triplet or doublet opal in water for any reason whatsoever because such an action may cause permanent damage.

When storing opals, avoid plastic bags and dry storage conditions. Soft cloth bags with padding are ideal for opals. If storing a solid opal, take it out for an occasional wipe with a damp cloth or a dip in fresh water.

Use a soft dry cloth to clean opals. With care, opals may be enjoyed for many years to come.

The showcases at Costello's displaying solid opal also carry small glasses of water. As mentioned earlier, opal contains water: spending time in the enclosed space of the display case under the heat of the overhead spotlights can make an opal thirsty! Therefore, a container of water helps the opal retain this moisture by creating a humid atmosphere in the showcase.

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