How To Care For Opals and Pearls

By | April 18, 2022

After spending a lot of money on a jewel, you can not neglect it and let it become dirty. Caring for your jewels is easy. It consists of just a bit of daily care and only twice yearly dropping your jewels off at a jeweler’s for some expert care. Knowing that your jewels are well taken care of will give you the confidence that you need in order to shine to your fullest.

One rule that applies to all kinds of jewelry – do not use toothpaste to clean your jewels! It contains abrasives that can harm both the metal and gems of your ornament.


Opal is softer than most of precious stones. It contains water, which is why it needs a little more thought and care. When wearing opals, avoid all ultrasound devices, steam-cleaners, chemicals, bleach and even jewelry cleaning solutions. However, you can safely wash an opal in a bowl of cool water and you can even add a little bit of soap to it.

This should not be done if your opal is layered. The glue that holds the layers together is water-soluble and soaking it in water will destroy your stone.

Store each jewel in an individual box or a soft jewelry purse. Opals should be kept away from high temperatures, direct sunlight, bright artificial light or low humidity.

It is a myth that if you store your opal in water or oil its cracks will fill up. The oil will actually discolor your opal.


Pearls can preserve their original shine when you wipe them with a tissue after each use. This is especially important in the summer when the acidity of the skin exuded through sweat can greatly diminish the shine of your pearls.

Of course, pearls can easily be scratched, so it is a good idea to store them in a soft jewelry purse or to wrap them separately from your other jewels. Do not wear pearls while bathing or working at home or in the garden. They have to be protected from all acidic liquids as well as bleach. Immediately wipe away any drop of acidic liquid, such as wine or salad dressing.

Pearls themselves can be washed in a soapy solution, but special care is needed for the silk thread that holds them together. Never pull on your pearl necklace and always lay it on a soft clean towel to dry. It is also advisable that once in a while you check the silk string for signs of wearing off. Large, expensive pearls should be strung with a knot between each of them. This is done in order to ensure the loss of no more than one pearl if the necklace should break. Larger pearls are also heavier, so they will give more pressure on the thread and it will thin out quicker. If the pearls have enough room to move between the knots, it is time that they get tethered again.

This is done by a professional jeweler, but sometimes jewelers may decline such an assignment if the pearls are too dirty. Fats and skin fragments can seep through the necklace and clog the holes of the pearls, making the procedure impossible. Individual cleaning of each pearl is then required, which is a slow and attentive job. Pearls have to be tied again once a year if they are worn often and once every two years if they are seldom worn.

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