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Opal Discoloration

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I had an older, white opal that had the usual blue, pink, yellow, etc., spark and fire. I didn't know how delicate these gems can be, and I wore it often. I never hit or dropped it, but I did wear it while I washed dishes. The sparks have now become almost "blurred" together, as if all of the points of fire have been smudged into one big streak of light blue across a pale white background, and all of the luster has dulled. I am sick over this. Had I known better, I would have taken it off before doing dishes. Is there anything that can be done to restore this beautiful, old Opal that I ruined out of ignorance? Thank you for your help.

asked Jan 26, 2015 by blondeina (120 points)

1 Answer

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Opal can undergo a condition called "crazing" which effectively ruins the gemstone. See this page for more details on this: http://www.minerals.net/mineral/opal.aspx

It is likely that repeated washing the dishes had an effect on the stone, though it could have happened on its own. I know that some opals are treated with synthetic polymers to prevent crazing, but not sure how much of an effect it can have once a stone has already been crazed. My suggestion would be to take the stone in to a reputable jewerler for advice which he can give you pertaining to your stone specifically.

answered Jan 27, 2015 by hershel (51,840 points)

Thank you for your help. I'll follow up & advise afterward. Again, many thanks.

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