Summer Jewelry Care Tips: sun, water, sand & more
With hotter temperatures, and less clothing, your summer jewelry choices can really add flair and sparkle to a beach or poolside look. However, there are some care tips to keep in mind so that your summer activities do not damage your jewels or gemstones.
Water hazards for jewelry
Some gemstones are more vulnerable to water damage than others but it is safest to always avoid submerging jewelry in water (see our blog post on water and gemstones here?). This is especially true of salt water or chlorine treated pool water so the safest bet is to remove all jewelry before taking a dip on a hot summer’s day.
Chlorine and salt water can both cause discoloration of not just the gemstones themselves but also the gold or platinum in which the stones are set, so it is safest to take your jewelry off before diving in. Another reason for going without your jewelry when swimming is the chance of losing a piece in the water. While you could dive to the bottom of a pool to find a missing earring, finding a missing piece would be a lot more difficult in the ocean!
Does Sun damage jewelry?
Of course you can get a golden tan after a day in the sun, but the color of your jewelry may also be impacted by prolonged sun exposure. In particular, amethyst, amber, and topaz can all either fade or darken in color after prolonged sun exposure. This is why it can be safest to opt out of wearing jewelry if you know you are going to be out in the sun for a number of hours.
Sunscreen and jewelry care
While it is very important to apply sunscreen diligently throughout the summer, you will want to ensure that your jewelry does not get an application of sunscreen as well. Sunscreen can leave a layer or film on jewelry, causing it to appear dull.
If you really want to be sun-safe and still wear your jewelry, apply the sunscreen first and let it absorb before you put on your jewelry. Then, be sure to wash or wipe clean each piece after wearing, to ensure that no sunscreen residue remains.
How Sweat effects jewelry
Like salt water, sweat can also be damaging to vulnerable gemstones. It is safest to remove your jewelry if you are going to be working out or playing a game of beach volleyball in the hot sun. If you are going to wear your jewelry while working up a sweat, be sure to give it a quick clean afterwards. Interestingly, some gemstones like opals and pearls can actually be polished by the natural oils of our skin, but to avoid damage, you should first check if the gemstones used in your jewelry are vulnerable to damage from minerals and moisture.
Sand hazards to jewelry
While your feet might benefit from the exfoliating effects of a sandy beach, your jewelry could be scratched or otherwise damaged by the roughness of sand. Silver settings in particular can be vulnerable as silver is softer and more prone to scratches by sand or shells.
Also, as with water, a sandy beach may be one of the worst places to lose a piece of jewelry. We’ve all seen those beachgoers with metal detectors but it’s best to avoid a desperate search for buried treasure, and leave your gemstone jewelry safe at home.
How to Keep Jewelry Safe While Traveling
The summer is the perfect time of year to pack up and go on an adventure but it is important to remember that you may need to take extra care when packing jewelry. It is best to store jewelry in a soft fabric bag, separated from other accessories, and even other jewelry if the gemstones used are particularly hard. Harder gemstones like diamonds or rubies can scratch and damage other softer gemstones.
Packing your jewelry in a fabric lined jewelry case is the safest way to transport and travel with your summer jewels and gemstones. It is also always a good idea to have documentation of the jewelry you are traveling with, for insurance purposes, in case your luggage is lost or stolen, so be sure to snap a picture of each piece you pack.
Seasonal Cleaning for your jewelry
With any change of seasons, it can be a good time to check your jewelry and give any pieces that need it some care and cleaning. This can be done at home with a soft cloth or toothbrush, as well as warm water with a mild soap. But you can also take your pieces to a jeweller once or twice a year to have them professionally cleaned, and checked for any damage.