Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes warm weather and long days. As you start trading in your winter coats for sundresses and filling your calendar with patio brunches and beach days, you’ll want to wear your jewelry out in the sun to show it off!
But not so fast. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things associated with the summer months that aren’t good for your jewelry. Here are a few jewelry care tips to keep your favorite rings in pristine condition.
Keep Jewelry out of the Water
Summer is all about pool parties, and we’re suckers for a splash in the sun as much as anyone, but your jewelry should probably sit this one out. Swimming pools and hot tubs contain chlorine, which can be badly corrosive to jewelry- especially gold.
Yes, gold is a precious metal, and as such, it can stand up to a lot of the punishment it will see in day-to-day life. But most gold jewelry isn’t pure gold — it’s an alloy made with copper and silver. Those metals can corrode and even start to dissolve when they interact with chloride ions and oxidizing agents and, unfortunately, bleach is both.
Your jewelry won’t dissolve in the water right away, of course. After prolonged exposure to pool water, however, gold jewelry can start to develop unsightly pits in it where the metal starts to wear away. With enough exposure, it can become brittle and even break. If you do get pool water on your gold jewelry, simply dry it off and leave it a safe distance from the splash zone.
When it comes to the beach, it’s probably best to leave your jewelry on dry land as well. Salt water is a strong oxidizer for certain metals, especially copper. While metals like platinum will be mostly unaffected, gold alloys that contain copper will slowly corrode and lose their shine. This goes double for rose gold, which has a higher copper content than white or yellow gold.
Gemstones can be affected, too. Salt water and chlorine can gradually dull the shiny surfaces of diamonds and other gemstones, reducing their beautiful sparkle.
Another concern is that the water at the beach is usually colder than it would be at the pool. Cold water can cause your hands to shrink slightly, making your rings fit looser and increasing the risk that they’ll slide off and get lost. It would be a shame if you lost your favorite ring in the ocean, so it’s probably best to just leave it on the shore.
Remove Your Rings When Applying Sunscreen
Many people do not consider the effects products like sunscreen can have on their jewelry. We’re certainly not advocating that you go out in the hot sun unprotected, but sunscreen can build up on your jewelry as a film that dulls its shine and makes it appear cloudy and unattractive.
The jewelry care tips solution? Take any jewelry off before you apply sunscreen. If you use chemical sunscreens (as opposed to mineral sunscreens, like zinc) you’ll be putting on sunscreen half an hour before you go outside anyway. Once you’ve allowed some time for the lotion to soak in, feel free to put your rings back on and wear them with pride!
Rinse Sweat off Jewelry After You Exercise
One of the best parts of the warm summer months is the ability to get outside and exercise. Whether you’re planning a game of beach volleyball, a long run, or a hike into the great outdoors, you’ll probably end up sweating at least a little bit.
Even if you don’t plan on getting wet, you should be wary of wearing your jewelry in the summer heat. There’s nothing wrong with sweat, but it contains some of the same oils and salts that make sunscreen and seawater react poorly with your jewelry. Does that mean you need to take off all your jewelry before you exercise? Of course not! Your wedding ring or engagement ring is a personal statement, and you should wear it proudly.
If you plan on wearing your ring during physical activity, it’s a good idea to clean up your rings once you get home. To clean gold jewelry, put a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a bowl of warm water and drop your rings in the solution for about 15 minutes. Once the soap has had a chance to break down the oils and salts, give it a quick wipe with a soft cloth or air dry and it’s good to go! Proper care and cleaning of your pieces will keep them sparkling much longer.
Be Careful of Sand
Everyone loves a walk on the beach, digging your toes into the soft sand. Unfortunately, though, there’s a downside to sand. It’s coarse, rough, irritating- and it gets everywhere!
Small grains of sand can work themselves into the seams in your jewelry, or lodge themselves in the gaps between the gemstones and the metal in an engagement ring. Over time, those little grains of sand can scratch softer metal like gold or even loosen the stones in their setting, making it more likely that one of them will get lost.
You shouldn’t need to worry too much about this if you’re just hanging out on the beach, but if you’re planning on digging a hole with your kids, it’s probably best to store your rings in a safe place. If you’re worried about sand after your beach day, take your rings to a reputable jeweler to be professionally cleaned. They’ll be able to assess any damage, reset the gems, and have your rings looking good as new.
Summer is many people’s favorite season and with good reason! It’s warm, relaxing, and fun. Summer also seems to be the hardest season on your jewelry, so it’s worth the time to take extra precautions. If you treat your jewelry right and follow these simple jewelry care tips, you can expect it to be a dazzling personal accessory for years to come.