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Opal Gems, White Opal Gemstone 

White Opal Gems, A Gorgeous Type Of Opal Gem Stone 

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White opal is one type of opal that is very often used in jewelry. An interesting thing about opals is that, all opals contain some degree of moisture. The flashing color specks that you see in white opal are created by these moisture particles. Had it not been for this moisture, a white opal gemstone would be a plain white stone with little life or beauty. This obviously means that, a loss of mositure would reduce the beauty of the opal. You therefore would not want to expose your white opal gemstone to heat or harsh detergents and solvents. Basically, anything that would dry up or destroy the moisture in the opal should be avoided.  

Let us now come to some specifics about white opal. Do not expect this opal gem stone to be pure white, it would in reality have a slightly creamish color. It is ofcourse not just the base color that will define how desirable the white opal gemstone is. The flashing specks in the white opal add beauty, interest and value to the gemstone. With an absence of these colorful specks the gemstone would appear more like a factory produced piece of plastic. You should ofcourse beware of fake white opals that closely imitate the natural material, these fakes have an abundance of colorful specks and ruthless gem dealers sell them as natural white opals. The best protection against fake gems or gems that have used unacceptable treatment methods, is to select a reliable provider for your gemstone and jewelry requirements.

Like most other opal types, white opal is mined in Australia. When you mine opal rough most of the output is in the low grade category. The next large proportion is medium grade white opal that has very little and scattered specks of color flashes. Only a tiny fraction of the white opal rough that is mined, is good enough to be cut and set in good quality gold or silver jewelry. Most gem and jewelry manufacturers rush for the low to medium grade white opal, few quality concious jewelry producers handpick the best stones. This obviously means that they end up paying a premium price for the handpicked selection.  

You could purchase loose white opal gems or a complete opal jewel, a few suggestions would help you make a better decision. We would once again emphasis the importance of choosing a reputed source for your white opal gem stone requirements. Production of fake opals has become so advanced that only the best jewelry and gem providers can keep track of such activity. Leading jewelry providers are in a position to demand and get the best gemstone for the price paid. Other jewelers will need to make do with any readily available white opal that can be easily found. You could set your white opal gem in  gold or sterling silver. Talking about gold, yellow gold is often thought to strike the best color contrast with white opal gemstones. However this is not always the case, a good white opal that has moderate to dense color specks can look awesome in white gold too. When it comes to white opal silver jewelry, make sure that the chemicals and solvents you use to clean the tarnish on your jewel does not affect the opal gemstone.

Every gemstone has it's physical characteristics, these need to be understood when the gem is being cleaned or stored. This short note will help you take the right kind of care when wearing or cleaning white opal gems. We mentioned above that opals owe their beauty to the moisture that is naturally trapped in the gem. So if your white opal gem stone is exposed to heated conditions, the moisture could dry up and damage the gem. Similarly, strong detergents and solvents can also damage an opal. Do not wear your opal jewel when bathing, cleaning the car of washing utensils. When it is time to clean your white opal jewel, avoid chemical solutions and ultrasonic cleaners. Since opals have a moderate hardness of 5.5 to 6.5, you should not bundle them along with other jewelry when being stored. It is not just opals that should be stored separately, you should keep all gemstone jewelry in a tray or pouch separated from each other.  While it is fine to set white opals or other opals in silver, there is something that you should know. All silver jewels will tarnish, commercial lotions and fabrics are available to take off the tarnish. Some of these solutions used to take off tarnish could adversely affect the opal gem stone in your jewel. The best that you can do for your silver or gold white opal jewelry, is to occassionally wipe the jewel with a soft clean cloth that is moist. Use clean water at room temperature, just moisten the cloth and do not make it soaking wet. Then gently dab the opal jewel with a light rubbing movement, that should keep the jewel looking good.


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