It’s high summer, and insta is dripping with poolside photos. Swimwear with jewelry is trending, and we’re seeing plenty of bikini shots with necklaces, bracelets, and blinging rings all over our feeds. But does this mean you can safely you wear your fine jewelry in the water, or will the pool wreck your ring? How about if the pool is saltwater instead of chlorine? And while we’re talking about saltwater… how about the beach? A diamond can hold up to a few rogue waves, right?
Here's everything you need to know about taking care of your best jewelry during the hottest months.
Let’s start with the diamond…
Diamonds are the hardest natural material on earth, so while you don’t have to worry about erosion, there are other reasons not to wear your diamond engagement ring in a pool.
If you’re at the pool or lake, you’re probably wearing sunscreen or bug spray and reapplying throughout the day. Both products are designed to leave a coating on any surface they’re applied to, and that includes your ring. Sure, you can have the ring professionally cleaned when you get home, but who wants a cloudy-looking diamond in all their vacay selfies?
Other Gemstones and Alternative Materials
If your jewelry includes any gemstones that aren’t diamonds, you need to be extra careful.
Colored stones, pearls, and opals aren’t as tough as diamonds. Chlorine can corrode the surface of some of these stones, and salt water can dry out others.
This advice isn’t only for the ladies; many men’s bands use alternative materials such as Lapis Lazuli, antler, or turquoise. Saltwater dries out these materials and can cause them to crack.
Gold, Platinum, and Sterling Silver
Even if your jewelry doesn’t have any gemstones in it, precious metals like gold, platinum, and sterling silver can all be compromised by the harsh chemicals found in a pool.
Both gold and platinum are too soft to be made into jewelry on their own, so they’re blended with other metals to become more durable alloys. Most of the time, that’s a great thing. But in the harsh chemicals used in pools, those other metals can discolor or corrode.
It’s hard to know exactly what additional metals are in your gold or platinum jewelry since nickel, zinc, copper, iridium, palladium, rhodium, and others, are all candidates. It’s even harder to know exactly which chemicals are being used in a pool, and to what quantity, so predicting the interactions is virtually impossible.
Saltwater may seem safer, but it causes silver to oxidize and darken, so we don’t recommend wearing any of your precious metals into pools or oceans.
Finally, there’s the risk of losing your ring, or a stone in your ring. Anyone who’s ever lost something in the ocean knows how hard or impossible it was to find that thing again. And pools have filters that would happily slurp up a stone that’s come loose if a prong was damaged, corroded, or otherwise compromised.
For all these reasons, we don’t recommend wearing any of your fine jewelry in pools, lakes, or oceans.
Keep your good stuff in the hotel safe, and if you feel bare being poolside without some bling, stick with “costume” jewelry that won’t break your heart if it succumbs to the dangers of chemicals and saltwater.