PARIS: Jewellery never looks better than when it sparkles in the sun and shimmers on tanned skin. But just like sunlight, sand and salt water can damage your hair and skin, there are some things you should keep in mind to keep your jewellery safe when you wear it in summer, especially at the beach.
Salt water is a highly corrosive substance that can cause significant damage to jewellery. The harsh nature and salt content of ocean water can erode the joints and cause mounts and settings for gemstones to fail. Platinum and titanium are more durable metals and can withstand some exposure to salt water, but to be on the safe side you should remove any precious jewellery prior to swimming in the ocean.
Even salt air may harm your jewellery. It will rust any sort of non-ferric metal like steel or iron, and it’s particularly harmful to rose-gold jewellery because of its copper content. Sea salt is very corrosive to copper and will cause the jewellery to collapse much faster than yellow gold, which has brass and silver in it.
Chlorine is a harsh chemical that is found not only in cleaning detergents, but in swimming pools and hot tubs. It can degrade gold jewellery to the point of disintegration and cause discoloration of gemstones such as amethyst and turquoise. So take off that gold ring and tourmaline necklace before soaking in the tub or pool!
Sand is very abrasive and will wear off the surface of things. You can wear hard, durable materials like platinum and gold to the beach (as long as you take them off before going in the water!), but be careful when wearing gold-plated jewellery. Hard stones like diamonds and precious stones are fine, too, while softer stones like amethyst or citrine are much more likely to get scratched by sand.
Creams or suntan lotions won’t damage any metal, but they will rot any sort of string or thread, so you should be very careful with strung jewellery. It’s best to take those beads off before applying sun lotion.
Silver is especially prone to tarnishing because it reacts to chemicals. Whether it’s the oils from your fingers, perfume, hair spray, even just the humid air and the salty or sulphur producing food you eat (such as olives or garlic), it will cause the silver to turn black. The good thing: it is easy to polish and clean and get that silver jewellery to shine again.