Summer here and if we're lucky that means swimming! 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 most 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 (flat surfaces are easy to polish, chain is hard). 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.
- 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. It will ultimately be fine, but as a jeweler I cannot officially recommend it.
- 14K GOLD FILLED - This is also what most of 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 generally don't see gold filled jewelry in department stores or chains - it cannot be poured into a mold or mass produced, it has to be hand made.
Most gold filled cannot wear off, but you do have to treat it with care and clean it from time to time. You never have to take off your rings, hammered hoops, 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. Plating technology has really improved in the past 10 years, but many companies are falsely claiming their plate will never wear off. Bottom line, this gold or silver will wear off with time and wear, and especially sweat that can be more acidic. You cannot clean it, you can only re-plate it.
- 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. In the summer when humidity is high, I recommend storing your brass jewelry in a plastic bag wrapped with a little paper towel or tissue paper to absorb the humidity (you can also buy tarnish strips, but I've actually had great luck with a paper towel!)
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.