Does Saltwater and Chlorine harm Jewelry?

Learn how to properly care for your favorite summer jewelry pieces

The Beach trip is planned and the Pool is waiting, but what to do with your jewelry? Whether there is an event you want to wear your sparklers to or you are used to wearing your wedding band in the ocean, you might be wondering whether this might be harmful to jewelry?
The simple answer is to better give your precious items a break for these occasions. Besides the fact that water makes your hands ‘shrink’ making it very easy for your rings to slide off and get lost, there are a few other reasons, why a day at the beach or pool can be damaging to jewelry.

Sun, sand and salt can damage the metal

The exposure to salt water and sand can cause erosion to the jewelry’s metallic layer. Gold is a naturally soft metal and cannot be moulded into jewelry on its own. Therefore, it is mixed with different metals like copper to turn it into a harder metal. Copper, on the other hand, is very reactive to salt which makes your jewelry vulnerable. The more copper is used, the more vulnerable your jewelry becomes. 14k gold is, thus, a little bit more prone to erosion than 18k gold. Continuous exposure over a very long period of time will eventually weaken the precious metal which causes it to break down. This may cause discoloration of the metal and makes the jewelry more vulnerable to breaking.

Gold-plated silver pieces are particularly at risk when they come into contact with salt water, because the water tarnishes the gold coating over time. The golden appearance thereby fades more quickly and the silver under the gold coating becomes visible. It is therefore advisable to check out our Fine Line made of solid gold, as solid gold is much less susceptible to erosion and generally more durable than simply gold-plated silver pieces. However, our silver jewelry is relatively save as well, since it is made of an up to 3x thicker plating than your usual gold-plated jewelry.

How does chlorine affect jewelry?

The chlorine in pools can not only lead to discoloration but also to so-called ‘stress corrosion cracking’:
The chlorine will potentially react with the other metals mixed with gold. This could damage the prongs of your engagement ring, increasing the chance of diamonds or gemstones falling out of the setting. To find the ideal diamond for your engagement ring, our blog entry Choosing a Diamond will certainly help you. Or simply book a personal consultation with us.

What about the gemstones?

Gemstones are highly susceptible to discoloration when exposed to saltwater or chlorine. The biggest concern is damage to the facets and gemstones itself. The stone can appear blemished meaning there are stains to its facets. This makes the stone appear dull and less shiny. For softer stones, for example amethysts or citrines, sand might buff the stone as well taking the stones sparkle away and making the surface seem rough. Watch out, because all this applies even more to fake gemstones, which are often made of glass. So it's advisable to go for jewelry with real gemstones. Fortunately, we at Pukka Berlin only work with real gemstones, so take a look at our pieces with diamonds, sapphires, rubies or moonstones.

Tips for maintaining the natural shine of jewelry

After a day at the beach or pool, clean your jewelry with either a soft, damp cloth to wipe away salt and sand residue. Better still, wash your jewelry as soon as possible with a combination of water, gentle soap and a soft brush. You can find tips on cleaning jewelry in our blog post How to clean Jewelry. Jewelry should also be examined and professionally cleaned by a jeweller from time to time.
If you follow these tips, you can enjoy your day at the beach without any second thoughts.

Happy Vacations!