But summer (or vacation!) brings a host of unique challenges.
In honor of rings resting on the ocean floor, bracelets ruined from gardening and gems fallen victim to a wicked game of beach volleyball, here are 10 jewelry safety tips to avoid damage to your jewelry:
When to Remove Your Jewelry
- Before swimming and strenuous activities. Salt water and chlorine can damage your jewelry. Add sweat to the list when it comes to sterling silver.
- Before applying sunscreen and bug spray. Lotion can get into the crevices of chains and prongs, and both lotions and sprays create a film on your jewelry, making it dull and dingy.
- In direct sunlight. The sun can bleach certain materials, especially natural elements and some plastics.
- In cold water. Cool temperatures cause your fingers to shrink, creating room for your ring to slip off. And when in water, you may not even notice until it's too late. R.I.P. ocean-bottom-dwelling jewelry.
- Before going into a hot tub or swimming pool. Chlorine can damage and discolor metals (like gold and platinum) and can slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones.
- Before gardening. Dirt and small rocks are abrasive. If not cleaned right away, your jewelry can be permanently damaged. Beware the dangers of gardening gloves too.
How to Care for Your Jewelry
- Clean your jewelry regularly. Your own sweat and body oils can dull the shine of your jewelry. DIY cleaning calls for warm soapy water and a toothbrush.
- Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place. Keep your pieces in a fabric-lined jewelry case, or in a box with compartments and dividers to prevent pieces from scratching each other. Invest in a safe place to store your jewelry on-the-go, too.
- Watch for warning signs of vulnerabilites in your jewelry. From symptoms of a loose stone to bracelet, necklace and earring red flags, there are six major signals that your jewelry's about to break.
- Visit your jeweler to check for loose gem stones, prongs and clasps. It’s easy to lose a piece of jewelry or individual stones if you’re not giving your jewelry regular check-ups. Your jeweler will deep clean your pieces for a brilliant shine, too!
- Get your favorite jewelry insured. You’ll have the peace of mind that regardless of your surf and turf adventures, your jewelry is protected.
The only way to guarantee not losing or damaging your jewelry is to simply take it off and leave it at home!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published May 23, 2012 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.