(4 min read)
Summer brings us backyard barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, summer concerts in the park and outdoor dining. If you’re anything like me you love being outside in the sun (I’m out there as much as possible). You’ll even find me sitting outside with an iced coffee, working at the patio table with my umbrella up (but only enough to shade the computer).
Have you ever considered what jewelry to wear when you’re heading outdoors for some fun in the sun? It’s a bit more complicated than it would seem. I’ll go over a few things you should consider to protect your jewelry.
Let’s start by talking about the metal in our settings. At Peach Lane, we pride ourselves on having quality metal jewelry made from 14k Gold and .925 Sterling Silver. Lately, I’ve seen dozens of advertisements promoting gold and silver jewelry for summer because they are waterproof. I think the way this information is presented is actually misleading. While it’s true these metals are waterproof, the way these ads are portrayed will have some people believe gold and silver are also suitable to wear in the ocean or even a pool.
Here’s a closer look. Yes, fundamentally these metals are waterproof. I am personally thankful this is true. I am that person who wears her gold and silver stud earrings around the clock. I wear them to bed and even in the shower without thinking twice. They are waterproof. These metals are precious and made to last a long time, they will not rust, tarnish or turn green just from water alone.
How about that pool party though? Chlorine, is a strict no-go for any gold and sterling silver jewelry. Gold is mixed with other metal alloys to give it hardness and color. Chlorine will cause these alloys to leach from the gold in your jewelry. This chemical reaction will break down gold causing tiny holes in the structure. This reaction will make your gold jewelry become brittle and cause irreparable damage over time. For sterling silver, this same Chlorine exposure will cause the silver to tarnish. Silver will naturally tarnish over time, even though it’s made to last. (I have three rings that took 25 years before tarnishing occurred). Chlorine will make that happen much sooner.
What about the beach? Surely something natural like salt water would be OK for your jewelry? For gold, there are varying answers. Some experts say gold will withstand the salt water quite well without compromising the metal. While others say the salt water will soften the joints in the setting and gemstones might fall out. It would be devastating to lose your diamond or birthstone in the ocean. For sterling silver though, it’s the same situation as the pool. The salt in the ocean will increase the corrosion and cause your jewelry to tarnish.
The sand on the beach could also wreak havoc on your jewelry settings. Gold is considered a softer metal and is vulnerable to scratches and scuffs from the sand at the beach so be aware when wearing jewelry in the sand.
Now, let’s talk birthstones. What’s summer without all those bright, bold, baubles that sparkle in the sunlight? Birthstones are best for wearable treasures and adding pops of color to your outfit. Dress them up with your favorite style and go have some fun at your summer outings and get-togethers.
Is it safe to wear gemstones in the pool or ocean? At Peach Lane, we don’t recommend wearing any gemstone jewelry in either the pool or ocean. Out of an abundance of caution, we do hold concerns about both chlorine and salt water loosening a setting which could cause a gem to fall out and become lost. Even if you don’t lose it in the ocean, the setting could loosen causing the gem to fall out elsewhere. Some gemstones could be scratched by the sand depending on their hardness rating. We also know a chemical reaction to chlorine can damage or alter the color of many gemstones including rubies, emeralds and sapphires to name a few. Ultimately, we suggest leaving fine birthstone jewelry securely behind when going for a swim at the beach or a pool.
Salt, water and sand aren’t the only things to look out for. Heat and sunlight can have an effect on your jewelry over time. It’s true. Heat is often used intentionally to alter the color of a gemstone and get the perfect shade for jewelry. Sunlight, just like heat, can also have an impact. Sunlight might cause the color of your birthstone to change over time. The birthstones most sensitive to the summer heat and sunlight include Amethyst, Aquamarine, Emerald, Blue Sapphire, Blue Zircon and Citrine. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear them, just be aware about prolonged and repeated exposure to sunlight which can cause the colors to fade or change completely. Opals might dry out and crack when exposed to heat and sunlight so keep an eye on how long those are out and about too.
What does all this mean for your summer style? Don’t worry, you can still Live Your Best Life, In Color with birthstone jewelry! Here are our top pics for summer birthstone jewelry.
5. Sapphire We also like this one for the durability. It is less vulnerable to scratches than other gems. It may fade or change color with lengthy exposure to heat.
4. Ruby is one of our favorites due to the hardness factor, it is a good one to wear every day. Keep in mind prolonged heat may change the shade and color.
3. Pink Tourmaline is a softer gem and can scratch more easily than other gems. This birthstone may be impacted by heat exposure but is a bit more resistant to sunlight and chemicals.
2. Alexandrite has a high hardness rating so it’s not very easy to scratch. It is less vulnerable to heat, sunlight and chemicals compared to other stones. Alexandrite will dance with many flashes of different colors from purple to green and even blue making it a fun gem to wear with whatever you’ve got going on.
1. Diamonds have the highest hardness rating and are extremely durable against scratches and impacts so your gem will stay bright and beautiful in the summer sun and heat.
The bottom line with wearing fine gold and silver birthstone jewelry while you’re having fun in the sun? Wear what you love. If you’re heading out to a day at the beach or a pool make a splash! Choose basic gold or silver pieces without gemstones or choose a setting with diamonds to wear with your favorite outfit. Alexandrite is the next best option for a birthstone with an incredible pop of color.
Take your precious pieces off and secure them safely before taking a dip in the ocean, pool or hot tub. When you’re at the beach continue to be mindful about your jewelry coming in contact with the sand to prevent scratching. In the event your jewelry is splashed or accidentally immersed, don’t sweat it. Just remove the jewelry quickly and do a quick rinse with fresh water then wipe it down thoroughly to remove the chemicals. In any case, be mindful when you wear other colorful birthstones and protect them from prolonged heat and sunlight. Always remove your jewelry both with and without gemstones before cooling off in the water.
Here are a few favorites suitable for summer:
Interested in learning more? Check out these other blog posts:
I Regret My Decision. Find out what happened when I bought some cheap gold knockoff earrings.
Ancient Ring Cures Hangovers? An ancient ring found in India believed to cure hangovers.
Gifts That Last The bridesmaids gift I received that is still as beautiful today as it was the day my sister got married.