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Re: [Orchid] Restoring finish to opal
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coralnut Wednesday, October 06, 2004
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    What Taylor says about a possible separating doublet or triplet is a
    possibility, but it sounded from the first post more like this is a
    solid opal that has simply lost its polish. The standard for
    polishing opals is either 50 or 100K diamond on a poly pad or cerium
    oxide on felt. I prefer the latter myself.  Linde A is not necessary.
    Also, opals do not 're-saturate'.  Once the internal fluids have
    dissapated, they will not take on moisture again.  When ladies wear
    their opals for doing dishes, they sometimes turn slightly to a
    yellowish color on the surface  but the internal structure remains
    the same. 

    It is important to keep a good polish on opal as that produces a
    glassy surface and reduces the possibility of 'crazing' and best
    displays the internal 'fire'.  In reality, virtually all opals will
    craze or crack in time....some will do it early, others take years. 

    Because they are relatively soft, 5.5 to 6.5 on Mohs scale though
    most around 5.5 to 6, opals will lose their polish fairly easily in
    normal wear, especially if not protected.  They are reasonably easy
    to polish but this is often complicated when they remain in a
    setting  because it is impossible to get access to the entire
    surface. Unless they are flush inlay,  the best thing is to take the
    stone out of the piece, smooth the entire surface on at least a 600
    soft diamond wheel (such as Nova), prepolish on 1200 soft diamond
    wheel and then polish on a felt pad with damp cerium oxide turning
    at about 200RPM. 

    Be careful not to chip the stone with taking it out or resetting. 
    Opal is not only soft but very brittle. 

    Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
    elegance IS fine jewelry! dcdietz AT

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