I actually have a black opal engagement ring and love it! ^_^
Mine has been worn every day for over 3 years, and that’s including while I am at work. I have a physical job reading meters so I am opening gates, doors, cabinets, defending myself from dogs, etc all day and its never gotten damaged. If anything actually my white gold band has taken a beating, its pretty scratched all over.
Now my advise for any Bees thinking of getting an opal:
* Do make sure what kind of opal it is. They have things called triplets and doublets. Both of those type are slivers of opal that have a dome of something over them (doublet) or have both a dome and something under them (triplet). Those two types are very hard to take care of. if they get wet for too long or too often the water can get between these layers and cause them to get cloudy and lose the fire they have.
* Do not use harsh cleaners on them. Opals are delicate, and cleaners are just too much for them. Also do not use any type of ultra sonic machine or steam cleaning machine. The ultra sonics can cause some opals to crack. As has been mentioned above its not the quality of the ppal that can cause a crack, it is the natural of the stone. Steamers are problems because of the heat. Opals are very sensitive to heat and cold because unlike most gems they still have a rather high amount of water in them. Due to this steamers are yet another thing that can cause them to crack (which I was really bummed about, I wanted one so bad! hehe) To clean my ring I use a little slightly warm water with a little dish soap and a baby soft tooth brush. I let it soak for a few minutes, then lightly brush the front and the back. Does wonders ^_^ I also use the same thing for my diamonds and they sparkle like crazy.
*Keep in mind where you live! Back to the temperature thing, I live in Southern California so I do not deal with huge swings in weather. If I live else where, like snow country, I might have thought twice about an opal ( …who am I kidding, no I wouldn’t have but anyway ;p ) It is very true that opals can be damaged by all kinds of things, even as simple as wearing some earrings in a heated house, then exiting to a cold evening. My grandmother did this and cracked an opal in her earrings.
*Take it off if you are worried! While I do wear mine a lot I do still take it off for things like gardening, cleaning, cooking, doing dishes, and so forth.
* Consider the setting. Opals are more prone to damage in some setting than others. It is considered a bad idea to have an opal set exposed, like in a standard prong setting. Which is what I have ^_^;; lol. I love the way it looks, so I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, it is thought to be safer in a bevel setting. Or even a halo setting. Just basically anything that will cover the sides.
I hope some of the info might be helpful to anyone thinking about opals in any type of jewelry. I love them, I think each one is so special and unique. To us it was never a question that Mr Crol would get me an opal. But to each girl its important to get whats right for them!
And my beautiful Opal…