Protecting Your Jewelry in Pool Season

  • May 08
Protecting Your Jewelry in Pool Season

Summer is here with hot, sultry days that lead to lounging at the pool. For jewelry lovers, all this pool time poses a question: Is it safe to wear your treasured jewelry at the pool, especially since your diamond ring sparkles so beautifully in the sun? Sparkle aside, the answer is NO.

Pools and hot tubs usually contain copious quantities of chlorine to kill bacteria, viruses and more. Chlorine does a great job of keeping the water clean for swimmers, but what’s good for the water you swim in isn’t so good for your jewelry.

Your high school chemistry may be years behind you, but you probably remember the phrase “chemical reaction.” Well, chlorine is a chemical and it reacts with metals, including silver, nickel and zinc. And, since gold is often alloyed or combined with other metals – including silver, nickel and zinc – to strengthen it, your gold jewelry will also react with the chlorine you are soaking in, doing damage in quick order.

When chlorine is in contact with your jewelry, the chemical reaction will leave behind microscopic holes in the jewelry and will cause disintegration. This weakens the metal, which in time can cause it to break. And if your prongs break, you can lose the beautiful stone it’s holding. The chemical reaction with the metals can also cause your jewelry to turn black, which is probably not the look you wanted! Finally, while diamonds and harder gemstones are not susceptible to direct damage, softer gemstones and doublets can be dulled or pitted by contact with chlorine and other chemicals.

In addition to avoiding chlorine in pools and hot tubs, similar damage can come from using cleaning products with chlorine. So, it is best to remove your jewelry when cleaning as well. And because it’s so easy for jewelry to slip off in the water, not wearing jewelry at the pool or beach is a good rule on many fronts.

If you simply must accessorize your bathing suit or caftan, consider wearing fashion jewelry, which if damaged or lost will not cause such an emotional or financial hit. And remember, any jewelry you do wear in the summer is likely to get coated in sunblock, BBQ sauce or sand, so be sure to give it a proper cleaning to keep it sparkling. Check with your jeweler for professional products that are safe for the piece of jewelry in question. Most jewelers carry a line of professional jewelry care products designed especially for the task. And if you are traveling, consider packing a jewelry cleaning stick or jewelry care wipe, which are easy to tuck into your luggage and beach bag.