The quick answer to whether or not you should put opalite in water is no, it should not.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain the why of it so you can understand how to care for your opalite as well as your other crystals.
Can Opalite Go In Water?
In general, one of the key things you need to do when you care for your rocks, minerals, and crystals is understand what they are and their characteristics.
If you understand what they are made of, how they are made, and how they act in the world, you’ll understand how better to care for them.
First Step: What is Opalite?
In most cases out there in the world, opalite is a man-made opalescent glass.
It is often mistakenly sold under other names like sea opal, opal moonstone, and argenon, though technically it isn’t even any of those substances.
People often confuse opalite and moonstone.
Man-made opalite behaves for the most part like you’d expect glass to behave.
Natural opalite (aka “common opal”) shares the same basic properties as opal.
Opal has a Moh’s hardness rating of a 5-6, and is soluble in hot water.
You can find it many places, including near Glacier National Park.
What happens when you put opalite in water?
The results of putting opalite in water depends heavily on what kind of opalite you have.
If you have man-made opalite (meaning glass), then we would not expect this opalite to dissolve, react, or otherwise do anything amazing or significant. At least not right away.
But here’s the thing: even the most smooth looking crystals (natural or synthetic), have fissures and cracks in the material. These are usually too small for us to see.
Allowing a material to sit in water for extended periods of time allows water molecules to get up in those cracks and gradually widen them over time.
You might not see those cracks, but you’ll definitely notice the material breaking when it comes under stress that shouldn’t result in a crack or break.
We’d expect that you could put man-made opalite in a simple water bath for a few hours and remove it with the crystal intact.
As for natural opalite, the crystal itself is pretty hard (though not as hard as we would like), and water soluble in a hot solution of water and salt.
As a result, we wouldn’t expect the opal to do anything dramatic right away if you were to pop natural opalite into a cold water bath that contains no salt.
But like the man-made opalite above, natural opalite is going to have natural cracks and fissures regardless of how polished or smooth it looks.
Putting it in water is going to encourage the growth of those cracks, and potentially result in physical damage to the stone.
Those cracks can also produce a pretty unhappy result: yellowing or even rusting.
If your stone (opalite or other) contains significant or even trace elements of a metal, that metal can start to rust.
Those cracks will become yellow, or even reddish-brown.
That stain can spread all over the stone. Since the cracks are small and can be deep, there is little you can do to return the stone to it’s original state.
Finally, I hope it goes without saying that you should not put natural opalite in a bath of hot water and salt, as this could actually dissolve your opal.
Slowly of course, but still.
This is another good reason why it is important to understand the physical properties of your minerals.
Likely Immediate Result: Damage to Finish/Surface
Another significant reason we recommend against putting opalite in water (man-made or natural) is that it will likely mess up your finish.
In most cases when you purchase opalite, the stone looks pretty, smooth, and shiny.
But when you put it in water, whatever was used to make that surface pretty and shiny when the rock is dry comes off.
Maybe the stone was rubbed with mineral oil. Maybe some other product or sealant was put on the stone.
Maybe the stone was lightly dyed or its appearance was changed in some other commercial way.
The stone might come out of the water bath looking matte, and maybe even feeling rougher than it did before.
In some cases, the stone will be a different color, or faded. A clear stone might look cloudy.
In many cases, a simple re-finish of the piece with mineral oil will not return the crystal to its original appearance.
We find that a salt water bath will produce this unhappy result more quickly than using just a water bath on it’s own, but water alone can also produce this result.
If Water is Damaging to Crystals, Why Do People Recommend It?
The practice of collecting crystals for use in the home and in life has grown over time.
Initially, the primary materials people could obtain was the easiest to work with: quartz.
Clear quartz and quartz of all kinds of colors.
Quartz comes naturally in these various hues, and little is required to make these materials look good.
Quartz is also pretty hard on the Moh’s scale (around a 7), is not water soluble, and is generally non-reactive to solutions.
This means that you could put quartz in water without too much concern for the crystal.
Over time though, we have the option to collect more types of materials than we can list here in a simple article.
These minerals are dramatically different in chemical composition and behavior from quartz.
Sadly, much of the information posted out there in the internet (which is where most beginners to crystals and minerals get their feet wet) is out of date or incorrect as it relates to non-quartz materials.
And frankly, knowing what we know about what water can do to even stable materials like quartz over time, we just don’t put quartz in water for any significant period of time.
How To Clean Opalite Without a Water Bath?
Just because we recommend against putting opalite (man-made or natural) in water for extended periods of time, it doesn’t mean that water can’t be used to clean opalite.
It should be fine to briefly run the stone under the tap to wash off daily dirt or grime.
Just be sure to dry the stone off well, and allow it to sit out in the open air until it is fully dry.
How To Cleanse Opalite Without Water?
Ultimately, what works for “cleansing” a crystal is going to be personal for you. Just because someone says you should do A, B, or C with a piece doesn’t mean that it is going to work for you.
If you get the sense that your opalite needs to be cleansed, but aren’t sure how to do it, here’s what we would recommend you start with:
- Place the stone touching other stones known for their cleansing (such as selenite) with the intent that the opalite be cleansed.
- Allow it to sit for about a day.
- Pick it up when you want to check it and be still for a moment. Think about how you feel and how it feels.
- If you get the feeling that it needs more work, you can return it to the selenite. Or you can pursue other methods of cleansing, such as moonlight, meditation, burying in the earth.
If you get the feeling that the stone is all good, then it’s all good and move on with your day and your work.
If you don’t feel anything at all (meaning that the stone needs to be cleansed or not, or the stone is cleansed), that’s fine too.
This could mean that your opalite doesn’t really resonate with you that well, and you might want to try some other crystals.
Or you might need to spend more time with the material, in meditation for example, to get a better idea of what it is that you want as a result of having that particular material.
How Much Does Opalite Cost to Replace If I Damage It?
We aren’t crystals seller, but here are some listing from Amazon with the prices so you can see generally what you might expect to pay:
Links to Amazon in this article are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.