The effect of chlorine and salt water on jewellery

The effect of chlorine and salt water on jewellery

Precious metal jewellery, whether or not set with diamonds and/or gemstones, are prized possessions that should be treated with care and caution. Unfortunately, some environmental factors, such as chlorine and salt sea water, can cause unintentional lasting damage. It is often impossible to restore the jewels. It is advised to safely put away your jewellery before taking a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or the sea on your vacation. The consequences are sometimes unforeseeable.

Chlorine and gold jewellery

However, chlorine is not only used to kill bacteria in swimming pools and Jacuzzis. It is a chemical that often (without realizing it) is present in daily life, for instance in cleaning products. Few know that chlorine is very harmful for both yellow and white gold jewellery. The actual damage to gold jewellery by chlorine is caused by stress corrosion cracking. If the jewel is (slightly) damaged or it was ever repaired in certain places, the gold will be weaker when it is exposed to chlorine. The higher the number of carats, the longer it takes for the chlorine to damage the gold.

Chlorine and diamonds/gems

Diamonds and gemstones are very sensitive to discolouration when exposed to chlorine or other harsh chemicals. We recommend you not to wear your jewellery while cleaning the house or swimming, or when you are comfortably enjoying a jacuzzi. Just like diamonds, some gems require a special care, depending on the hardness of the stone. Professional cleaning is therefore recommended. Do you want to clean your jewellery yourself? Then it is suggested to use a mild soap, warm water and a soft brush.

Salt water and precious metals

Also salt water is a corrosive substance that can significantly damage jewellery.  Exposure to salt water can cause erosion of the soldered parts of precious metal jewellery. Erosion will weaken the setting of the stone and may be the cause of a lost stone. Platinum is stronger/more durable than (white) gold and offers good resistance to light exposure to salt or sea water. We still recommend taking a swim in the sea or in a salt water swimming pool without your favorite jewels.

Salt water and diamonds/gems

Salt water also affects diamonds and precious stones and may damage the facets of the stone. Diamonds and gemstones will have a dull appearance, causing the jewel to shine less. Even a simple piece of jewel can be irreparably damaged by being exposed to salt water. Therefore avoid exposure to water with a high salt content.

Author: Thomas vanden Bogaerde

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