It can dry out in our homes from air conditioning. Opals are
not meant to be worn every day. What is the answer to this problem?
Who says opals are not to be worn every day? I wear a very large,
natural black Andamooka piece under my shirt daily, without fail.
No, it isn’t smoke, sugar or oil treated, either. Still, that
doesn’t address your real question, what is the answer?
Every book I’ve ever read on the subject recommends wearing your
opal. Some say that if you don’t wear it daily, leave it in water
overnight for every three months it is in storage. In reality, there
IS no answer to this problem, if it even IS a problem. Some opal
will never craze. Some crazes or cracks within weeks, or even days
after having been mined. As in my previous post, if you’re really
worried about it, put it in water for long-term storage. At least
you’ll have protection from thermal shock.
Other than that, opal that hasn’t crazed within a few years of being
polished will probably never crack or craze. The thing is, even opal
from the same mine can have varying amounts of water or other
elements, and can have much different characteristics. Smaller
cabochons cut from the same original rough can behave differently in
this regard from each other, depending on a number of factors. It
could easily depend on how often it was worn, how much thermal shock
it was subjected to, etc., etc. This is true of practically any gem
The Andamooka piece I referred to above is a prime example. The
original chunk weighed 43 pounds!!! Some of it is a deep black, some
chocolate brown. Some areas have white veins that look like calcite,
while some areas of very dark black are shot through with pure white
precious opal, much more typical of Andamooka. Some areas are soft
as butter, while some resist the wheel. I have a photo of the last
pound or so, if anyone is interested in seeing it…email me
off-list (no, it isn’t for sale). All opal is different. It may
craze, it may not. So, don’t worry about it too much. Water storage
may help. Or not. That’s part of the allure of opal. If you want a
boring, predictable gem, consider a diamond, instead.
James in SoFl