Question about opals

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  1. Are you really supposed to store them in distilled water? According to my mother my opals should be stored in a seal container of distilled water so that they won't crack.. Something about them being water stones and if they are not stored in water they dry out and then crack.

    Is she correct?
     
  2. I'm sure there are experts who will chime in but I've never heard of this before.
     
  3. I've worn an opal ring almost every day for three years, and I've never stored it in water. It's in perfect condition, not even scratched. I don't take it off to shower though, so maybe your mother is right? :shame:
     
  4. I've never heard of this. I have several pieces of jewelry with opals and store them like normal. They are all over 20 years old too and look the same as when I first purchased them (in Australia).
     
  5. No, you don't need to store them in water.
    However, they can crack under sudden temperature change so don't wear them in extreme weather.
     
  6. How interesting, I don't own any opal but my mother has earrings - don't think she stores them in water though :smile:
     
  7. Never heard that at all.
     
  8. If the opal is a doublet or triplet putting it in water will ruin it. A doublet is a slice of opal glued to a backing material with a slice of glass or resin glued on top. The water will destroy the glue.


    From "Opals Down Under.Com":
    http://www.opalsdownunder.com.au/learn-about-opals/introductory/opal-doublets-and-triplets
    "Because opal doublets and triplets consist of layers which are glued together, prolonged exposure to water may cause lifting between the layers and infiltration of water. (This does not mean your opal will be ruined if you wear it in the shower once, or are caught in the rain.) If water penetration occurs, a doublet or triplet will take on a 'foggy' or grey appearance. You may even notice the appearance of condensation inside the stone. You should avoid getting a triplet or doublet opal wet to avoid water penetration.
    Please note: There is a lot of confusion regarding the care of opals because of the different caring instructions for solid opals as opposed to doublets / triplets. Solid opals are fine in water - it's only doublets and triplets which need to be kept out of water to avoid water penetration. Getting a solid opal wet will do no damage whatsoever."


    Here's further discussion here about the myth that opals should be soaked in water occasionally to keep them from cracking:
    http://www.opalsdownunder.com.au/learn-about-opals/introductory/opal-facts-myths


    I have antique opals which are 100 years old and they look just fine from having been stored in a jewelry box.
     
  9. Opals came up for discussion in the jade thread awhile back and there was something about it being water-loving and that opals are subject to something called "crazing" if they lose their water or stability or something like that.

    I would suggest pming pf'r clairejune as she was the knowledgeable one.
     
  10. They can dry out and become brittle or crack ....and while I'd never store mine in water, some keep small amounts of water in the box the be sure there is moisture/humidity.
     
  11. Thanks ladies!
     
  12. Opals don't necessary need to be stored in water but to remoisturize them it wont hurt to soak them every once in a while.

    I've seen vintage opal rings that looks kind of chalky IYKWIM? I put one of my Nanny's rings in water for a few hours and it looks so much better! it was just a thirsty little opal :biggrin:
     
  13. I've never heard like this. I have some jewelry with opals and still these jewelries are in perfect condition. So I don’t think like that. :smile:
     
  14. I have several fine Australian opals that are over 45 years old that have been kept in low humidity, including in 10% humidity for over 30 years when I lived in a near-desert.

    No problems.

    Don't believe the myths.
     
  15. This is directly from the GIA website:

    "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
    Should I store my opal in water?
    Some people do store their opals in water. There’s no evidence that it prevents them from drying out but it can’t hurt them and might be a good idea if you live in a very dry climate. Jewelers often put a glass of water in their opal case to make sure that the lights don’t dry out the air too much."

    Their info also indicated crazing is from light/heat.

    A jeweler who set my opal in a bezel ring told me it was only a matter of time before I crack it....so far (10ys) I have not, but I am really careful with that ring.