Opals are one of the most delicate gemstones used in jewellery. There are two reasons for their delicate state. One reason is that they are very soft and have a high risk of scratching. Another reason for their delicate nature is because they contain a high amount of water and are very sensitive to changes in the environment causing cracks. Opals must be properly cared for to keep them looking shiny and new. Polishing an opal can also help to remove scratches and shine the opal.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 600 grit polishing wheel
- 1200 grit polishing wheel
- 8000 grit polishing paste
- 14000 grit polishing paste
- Mild detergent soap
- Warm water
Gently clean the opal with a cloth and warm water and mild detergent. If the stone is a solid stone, it may be submerged into the soapy water mixture. If the opal is doublet or triplet, which are layers of the stone glued together with a black backing, simply wipe the stone with the soapy water. It is important to clean your opal at least every few months to prevent skin and dust from gathering on the opal and scratching the stone.
Polish the stone with the 600 grit polishing wheel. This will remove any small scratches in the stone. If the stone does not have any scratches, you can skip this step.
Polish the stone with the 1200 grit polishing wheel to buff out any extremely fine scratches. Again, if your stone does not have any fine scratches you can also skip this step.
Put the 8000 grit polishing paste onto a cloth and polish the stone. This will help restore a smooth finish to the opal.
Polish the opal with the 14,000 grit polishing paste to give the opal shine. Do not use a finer grit than this, as there will be more oil in the polish and it may be absorbed by the stone.
Wipe the opal with a clean damp cloth to remove any of the polish.
Tips and warnings
- Store the opal in a plastic bag with a damp piece of cotton to prevent the stone from cracking and scratching.
- Do not try to clean or shine your opal in a ultrasonic cleaner, as the shaking may cause the stone to crack.
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