Summer here and if you've managed to find somewhere to go or something to drink that doesn't make the ocean as cold as it is right now, you might go swimming soon! But should you take off your jewelry first? Should you have even slept in your jewelry the night before? What is your jewelry made of? This is a tutorial of what your jewelry IS, because that lingo is confusing. ( FYI almost all of the jewelry here on delialangan.com is safe to swim in - woo!)
- SOLID GOLD - Congratulations you have solid gold!!! Solid gold will never wear off and its low reactivity means it won't change colors. You can lose your gold swimming . . . but you can also lose your gold if you take it off before swimming. So maybe don't drink in it and make smart decisions.
- STERLING SILVER - .925 silver and .075 base metals are the US standard for sterling silver. Silver is great but you have to be careful with it. Sometimes it's easy to clean and sometimes it takes real work. I don't recommend swimming in sterling, but it won't permanently damage your silver (I would avoid chlorine for sure though). Sleeping in sterling silver can actually keep it cleaner than not wearing it because the natural oils from your skin help minimize tarnish. Avoid getting products on your silver like perfume, sunscreen, hairspray, and again chlorine. Remember, your super vegan organic sunscreen is still a chemical (it's not a bad word, it's science!).
- ARGENTIUM STERLING SILVER - This is the silver we use at delia langan jewelry. It's .925 sterling, but higher quality. The .075 contains Germanium, which prevents tarnish and makes the silver act like a hard version of fine silver. This silver is less reactant and will be less likely to tarnish in water. Despite this, try not to spray things on it or spend too long in a chlorine pool.
- 14K GOLD FILLED - This is also what delia langan jewelry is made of. Gold filled is wire or sheet that contains a solid layer of gold that is bonded to a base metal core. Gold Filled is tricky, and cannot be cast into shapes. This is why you don't see gold filled jewelry in department stores or chains - it cannot be poured into a mold into some factory and then plated with gold, it has to be hand made.
Gold Filled cannot wear off like gold plate, but you do have to treat it with care and clean it from time to time, specifically the chains. You never have to take off your rings or bracelets with heavier chains, but the delicate gold filled chains have a thinner layer of gold on them and thus can be more prone to react to different elements.
- GOLD PLATE / SILVER PLATE - :( There are several types of plating, but overall plated jewelry means that there is a microscopic layer of gold or silver plated on top of base metal. Sometimes you will see gold plated silver, because silver holds the plate a bit longer. Sometimes you will see micron plating, because it lasts longer than electron plating. Bottom line, this gold or silver WILL WEAR OFF with time and wear. You cannot clean it, you can only re-plate it. Do not swim in it, shower in it, or really do anything with it. Don't smile or laugh or make any sudden movements. When you wear plated jewelry you're pretty much grounded.
- VERMEIL - Vermeil is basically fancy plated jewelry. Because it is gold plated over sterling, it's technically considered "fine jewelry." That being said, it can still wear off over time. I recommend taking this off before you swim or sweat.
- BRASS - Straight base metal. It's going to do all kinds of crazy things when you expose it to water but you can clean it! The great thing about brass is that it can always be cleaned. Sunshine brand polishing cloths are the best for cleaning brass.
If you liked this post you'd like the other blog post Can I Swim in it Part II
Want to view our jewelry cleaning guide? Click here.