Photoluminescence Spectra of Emeralds from Colombia, Afghanistan, and Zambia by Brian Thompson. See Research Below
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 Post subject: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:15 am 
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Hi!

Brand new here. I've always loved rocks and lately I've gotten into playing with opals. I really love the uniqueness of each piece!

I managed to get ahold of a couple of largish pieces of Ethiopian opal. I like the Lightning Ridge ones, but the Ethiopian ones have more variety at the price range I'm at. I know that most of them hydrophane quite a bit, but they've also been very stable for me.

The question I have is this--When I received the opals a few weeks ago, they were dry, and fairly clear. They stayed that way through multiple wettings and dryings. However, when I went to start removing the potch and sand (working wet), the opals turned milky white when they dried, and so far have stayed that way for a week. It almost seems like they are absorbing the water and the opal dust that's in it at the time. Is this a possibility? Is this a permanent change, or will they eventually clear up?

I even have one that I worked on just a tiny bit and when it dried, it was clear in the center, and white on the outside to a depth of about 2 mm.

I'm in Utah, so it's very very dry (less than 35% humidity most days) so things dry out pretty quickly. I really hope that they clear up again! Any advice for me?


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:15 am 
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I'm not sure what's going on, but I doubt the stones are absorbing rock dust. I would wait another week and see what happens. Sometimes the stones just need a long time to reach equilibrium with the ambient humidity. Are you soaking them in acetone or anything?

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:32 am 
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One of mine took 2 to 3 weeks to fully recover.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:12 am 
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No, I'm not soaking them in anything other than water. It's the strangest thing! It's very dry here, especially with the heat and the AC, could it really take that long?
Would acetone help, and be safe on hydrophaning opal?


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:41 am 
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Check out this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19553


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:54 am 
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Give it time. I had one that started clear, stayed clear in water, went bone white after a day out of water, but was back to clear several weeks later when next I looked at it. It can take much longer than you expect depending on how 'thirsty' the stone is.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:31 pm 
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Barbra,

That thread was perfect. Thank you so much!


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:08 pm 
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Where can I find pure acetone? I checked around and it's always mixed in with other things.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:18 pm 
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The Home Depot has it. It's used as a paint thinner so look in the paint isle. I havent tried it on opals so I don't know how effective it is. It's been suggested for cleaning.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:20 pm 
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Walgreen's has it.
100% acetone nail polish remover.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:02 pm 
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Out of curiousity, does anyone know why the opals do this? I can submerge them in water for days, pull them out and they dry at the same clarity that they were before. But once I start to work on them, they dry white, and take days or weeks to clear up?

Edit: I went to Walgreens, and unfortunately, their acetone was also mixed in with denatonium benzoate (I think). I'll try Home Depot when I get a chance.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:32 pm 
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After almost a month, one of my opals has gotten about 2/3 of its clarity back. I really wonder what causes it, when it stays clear out of water before working on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie playing with Opals
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:53 pm 
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Necro'ing my own post. It's been a couple of years now. Those opals only ever regained about half of their original clarity and play of color. More's been learned of hydrophane opals and apparently, they can absorb discoloration from the orange version of cerium oxide, so I would guess it really can absorb some of its own dust and stay permanently white :( Very annoying and kinda ruins good quality stones :( Is there any way to restore the clarity of the opal?


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