Summer is a season of sunshine and spending time outdoors, but the joys of the season can be harsh on your jewelry. Things like sweat, heat, and pool water can change the way your jewelry looks–or even permanently damage it.
Luckily, you can easily protect your jewelry from the season’s elements once you know how to take care of it. Follow these 6 tips to keep your jewelry safe, sparkling, and damage-free this summer.
- Be Wary of Water
If you plan to spend time by the water this summer, you should understand the risk it can pose to your jewelry. There are two main risks to consider when it comes to wearing jewelry around water: the risk of damage and the risk of loss.
The risk of damaging jewelry in water is high because precious metals and gemstones are easily harmed by chlorine, salt water, and sand. Chlorine, the chemical that’s used to treat most pool and jacuzzi water, is a very harsh chemical. It can discolor or erode precious metals, including solid gold, and certain gemstones. Salt water can do the same and is particularly quick to discolor rose gold. Then, sand can scratch precious metals and softer gemstones, as well as potentially loosen settings by getting lodged in them.
The risk of losing jewelry in the water is high because, once it falls off, it’s extremely challenging to recover. It’s sometimes possible to find jewelry that falls off in a pool, but it can be virtually impossible to recover jewelry that falls into the ocean, a river, or a lake. It’s also easy for jewelry to slip off when you’re in the water under slippery conditions. Cold water also shrinks the fingers slightly, putting you at very high risk of losing rings.
Because of these risks, it’s not the best idea to wear valuable jewelry when you’re in or by the water. If you want to wear jewelry when you’re waterside, opt for less precious pieces. You don’t want to damage your great-grandmother’s tennis bracelet in a chlorine-filled hot tub or lose a treasured diamond stud earring in the ocean's depths.
- Last Thing On, First Thing Off
It’s always smart to follow the “last thing on, first thing off” rule of wearing jewelry, but it’s particularly important during the summer months. The idea behind the rule is to put jewelry on after getting dressed and applying all your cosmetics, minimizing the risk of dirtying your jewelry or snagging your clothes.
Why is it more important to do this during summer? Because we tend to wear more products that can build up on jewelry, such as lotion, sunscreen, and bug spray. Minimize the potential for damage and grime by putting your jewelry on last, or by taking it off when you’re engaging in activities that call for heavy application of these types of products.
- Travel Smart
If you’re among the many people who will be taking a vacation this summer, think carefully before traveling with your most precious jewelry. You’re more likely to lose things when you’re traveling, so consider if you want to risk bringing your favorite pieces of jewelry. Many people take replicas of ultra valuable pieces, such as diamond engagement rings, on vacation so they can leave the real thing safely at home.
Once you’ve decided what you’ll take with you on your trip, pack it carefully. Pack your jewelry in separate bags or compartments to avoid pieces scratching each other or getting tangled, or use a container specifically designed to hold jewelry. Then, never put valuable jewelry in a checked bag that can be lost. Keep jewelry in your purse or carry-on.
- Take Care With Sensitive Stones
Some precious gemstones are more sensitive than others, so they need special care during the summer season. Most sensitive stones fall into one of two categories: porous gemstones and heat-sensitive gemstones.
Examples of porous gemstones include pearl, opal, turquoise, and coral, all of which happen to be popular in summery jewelry designs. These porous stones are quite sensitive to chemical damage, heat, and scratching, so take extra care to avoid exposing them to chlorine, excessive heat, and abrasives like beach sand.
Examples of heat-sensitive gemstones include amethyst, amber, topaz, emerald, tanzanite, tsavorite, most porous stones, and heat-treated stones. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause heat-sensitive gemstones to crack, appear more flawed, or change color over time. Keep sensitive stones away from high heat and direct light, and be particularly careful about where you store them.
- Keep It Clean
Jewelry tends to get dirtier in the summer because it’s more likely to come in contact with sunscreen, lotion, and sweat. These things can leave a film on your jewelry, making it look duller, and attract dirt and grime.
Fortunately, you can restore your jewelry’s sparkle with an at-home cleaning. The best way to clean most jewelry is with the soap and water method. You’ll need a small bowl filled with warm water, gentle dish soap, a soft toothbrush, and a soft cloth. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to your warm water to make a cleaning solution, then soak your jewelry for 30 minutes. Remove your jewelry, gently scrub it with a soft toothbrush, and rinse it in a fresh bowl of warm water. Allow your jewelry to air dry or dry it with a soft cloth. For more in-depth instructions, see our complete guide to How to Clean Your Fine Jewelry at Home.
If your jewelry is in need of intensive cleaning or if it’s been a while since your last professional cleaning, have it cleaned by a jeweler. A jeweler can deep clean your jewelry and inspect settings to make sure you’re not at risk of losing any stones.
- Store Out-Of-Season Jewelry Thoughtfully
Is some of your jewelry seasonal? Store your out-of-season pieces with care to ensure they’re in great condition once you’re ready to wear them again.
Most jewelry is best stored in a cool, dry place, like a jewelry box you keep away from direct light. Store jewelry in separate compartments to avoid tangling or scratching.
Some jewelry, including pearl jewelry, should not be stored in ultra-dry environments due to dehydration concerns. This jewelry should still be stored in a cool place away from light, but should not be kept in an air-tight container.
Follow these care tips and your jewelry will shine all season long. If you have additional questions about caring for your jewelry, reach out to our jewelry experts for assistance. You can send us a message or speak with an expert in person at our Beverly Hills showroom.