Your Summer Plans Are Destroying Your Jewelry

If accessorizing with jewelry at the beach is your thing, rock on. Just know there’s a responsibility that comes along with wearing bracelets, earrings, and necklaces by the water—cleaning them afterward, pronto. “Chemical or mineral residue from chlorine or salt water will remain on the jewelry’s surface and continue to damage it,” Kelsey Perry, Co-Chief Executive Officer of jewelry brand Silpada explained. “It can lead to tarnishing and corrosion of the finish, but can also break down functioning components such as clasps, connection rings, and stone settings.”


Rihanna, a pro at accessorizing her bikini with jewelry.

Removing your jewelry before diving in is ideal. Water alone will accelerate tarnishing, but when you add in salt or chlorine the possibility of discoloration, bleaching, and messed-up finishes becomes a danger.

“We recommend washing immediately after exposure and before extended storage,” Perry said, describing a mix of water and mild soap as the best combo (use whatever you have around, be it hand soap or body wash). “Making sure the item is completely rinsed and dried is just as important as the actual cleaning too.” Metal’s not the only material to keep off the beach either—woven leather pieces can start to peel, dry out, and turn funky colors after being introduced to water. “Don’t wear those pieces in water,” insisted Ryane Delka, Perry’s co-CEO. “Keep leather dry at all times and clean with a soft, damp cloth or specially formulated leather cleaner.”

Already made sure to remove all pieces before hopping in the water? You’re not off the hook yet.

“The chemicals in sunscreen and the salt content of sweat act very similar to pool and ocean water, accelerating the rate of tarnishing and corrosion,” Delka told us. “Sand can act as an abrasive to metal, leather, and stones, while sun exposure can fade components, soften adhesives, and discolor metal.” The key takeaway? Before you head out for any sort of fun in the summer sun, be it a day at the beach or a game of tennis, remove your jewelry.

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