July fourth did it again. Like flipping a switch, summer is now in full, glorious bloom here in Portland. Since we have the best interest of your jewelry at heart, we offer this little guide to how to keep your favorite pieces “summer safe”. We recommend you keep the following in mind. Giving your jewelry a vacation from certain activities will go a long way!
1) Everyone loves the pool, but chlorinated water can be quite harmful to pearls, opals, emeralds, enamel, turquoise, lapis, or any color enhanced stone, leaching out color and etching the surface.
2) The beach presents several challenges. Sand is abrasive and will quickly take the shine off gold, silver or platinum. If you are digging in it, it can get wedged between stones and settings, loosening them. It will also scratch some softer stones. Salt water is not good for opals, and the chemicals in sunscreen can be bad for all the tender stones listed in the chlorine section above. Another concern, the chilly water here in Oregon shrinks your fingers. When combined with slippery sunscreen, rings can fall off on the waves.
3) Active sports, like white water rafting, rock climbing and windsurfing can be very tough on your jewelry. Besides the possibility of being badly banged up, the strong gripping action in all these sports can cause rings to torque (yes, even through gloves) which can snap metalwork and loosen stones.
4) Natural hot springs, often rich in sulfur, can wreak havoc, especially with silver jewelry, which can turn black within seconds. The soup of dissolved minerals reacts in unpredictable ways with lots of other materials too.
5) Lastly, an obscure gem fact that is fun, but will only be useful to about 0.1% of you. Kunzite, a lovely pale pink variety of spudomene, will fade in strong sunlight. It should only be worn in the evening, and stored in a dark place.
So while your jewelry is best left safely at home during your busiest summer days, Please remember to put it back on for festive summer evenings. Your rings simply LOVE to go out for chilled summer cocktails!