Remember 2 critical facts about Ethiopian opal:
1) The vast majority of Ethiopian opal is hydrophane, which means it has an ultra low water content and can actually act like a sponge and absorb water or other liquids. Think of it as a highly porous stone. A saturated Ethiopian opal will turn clear, but will return to its original color and fire once it has dried. The drying process may take anywhere from a day to a few weeks, depending on the size of the opal.
2) Like all opal, Ethiopian opal is a relatively soft gemstone (5.5 – 6.5 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness) and can be easily scratched. Over time, this may result in the opal losing its polish.
Therefore, please keep in mind the following guidelines to keep your opal looking great:
1) Keep the opal as dry as reasonably possible. Ethiopian opal is a dynamic stone and care should be taken to avoid prolonged contact with water or other liquids such as oils, soaps, detergents, or even perspiration! Although the opal will dry out following exposure to liquids, prolonged exposure to dirty water or chemicals (like those contained in house cleaners, shampoo, or hand sanitizer, for instance) may permanently stain the opal!
· Avoid wearing your opal while swimming in either a lake, ocean, or pool
· Avoid bathing or showering with your opal
· If you have an opal ring, take it off while washing your hands, cleaning dishes, etc.
· Encourage whoever sets your opal to use a closed-back setting that keeps the opal off of direct contact with your skin
· Clean & dry your opal by gently going over it with a CLEAN soft microfiber cloth
· NEVER use a hair dryer or similar entity to speed up the drying process in the event your opal gets saturated and loses its color! Allow it to dry naturally, which could be a few days to a few weeks depending on the stone
2) Avoid heavy physical activities when wearing opal jewelry. It is best to remove opal
jewelry before engaging in activities such as housekeeping, exercise, gardening, etc.
3) NEVER clean opal jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer!