You love summer. And you love your silver jewelry. But the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
In fact, summertime can be especially hard on your favorite pieces of jewelry. Between the sun, the sand and water, among other dangers, you need to be extra careful when it comes to caring for your silver jewelry during the summer.
Keep reading and we’ll talk about a few common summer activities, including beach trips and dips in the pool, and the trouble they can cause for your silver jewelry. we’ll also share tips on cleaning your jewelry, as well as an easy way to remove tarnish from silver.
Sand, surf, and sun. Who doesn’t love a day at the beach?
As fun as it is for you, it can be rough (literally) on your silver jewelry. High-quality silver is actually surprisingly soft. And beach sand, bits of shells, and the salt in ocean water can be abrasive. They can actually scratch your silver jewelry!
The best way to avoid this, of course, is to leave your silver jewelry at home. But if you do wear one of your favorite pieces to the beach, make sure to give it a thorough rinse in fresh water after you get home. After it’s been cleaned, dry it gently with a very soft cloth and then make sure it’s fully dry before putting it away.
When you’re cleaning your jewelry, make sure to pay special attention to any clasps or connecting pieces that might not be made from silver. These pieces may be made from metal that can rust or corrode due to the salt in seawater.
By carefully cleaning and drying your jewelry after a trip to the beach, you’ll be protecting the silver from scratches and abrasions, as well as the rest of the jewelry from unnecessary corrosion.
Tip: Sand at the beach isn’t your only worry. The dirt in your backyard garden can also be surprisingly abrasive. Leave jewelry in the house while you garden to be extra safe.
On a hot summer day, nothing beats cooling off in a nice cool swimming pool. But it can be rough on your silver jewelry. The chlorine and bromine used to treat swimming pools (and hot tubs) can accelerate the tarnishing process, leading to discolored silver jewelry.
If you notice that your silver jewelry is tarnishing faster than normal, don’t panic. There are a few simple tricks and techniques that you can use to remove tarnish and restore your jewelry’s brilliant shine.
Try this easy method from Martha Stewart:
- Place your jewelry in an aluminum pan (make sure it’s aluminum).
- Take about a half cup of baking soda and sprinkle it over your jewelry.
- Slowly pour boiling water over your jewelry until it’s fully covered.
- When the tarnish disappears, rinse your jewelry in fresh water and give it a polish with a soft cloth.
This works because of a simple chemical reaction between the tarnish on the silver, the aluminum in the pan and the baking soda. Be aware that you might get a whiff of something that smells like rotten eggs (yuck!) while the reaction takes place. Don’t worry, that’s completely normal and perfectly safe– if a little stinky.
There are other methods you can use to remove tarnish from your silver jewelry, too.
Most people know how damaging the sun’s rays are to their skin. But did you know that your jewelry can be affected, too? The silver in your jewelry isn’t damaged by the sun (although it can make it tarnish faster) but some of the gemstones in your jewelry might fade or deepen in color if they’re exposed to too much direct sunlight.
There’s really no way to undo the damage done to the precious stones in your jewelry, so in this case, the best cure is prevention. Avoid wearing jewelry with amethyst, amber, pearls, and topaz if you’re going to be spending lots of time in the sun.
Carefully Apply Suntan Lotion & Insect Repellent
Suntan lotion is great for your skin. And insect repellents can keep you mosquito-free when everyone else around you is being eaten alive. I highly recommend that you use both!
But be careful with your silver jewelry. There’s no risk of damage, but sunscreens and bug sprays can build up on your jewelry, making it look dingy and not shiny. These sprays and lotions can also gunk up clasps and make it hard to remove necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
Just take care to clean your jewelry carefully and you’ll be fine.
Consider Leaving Your Jewelry at Home
Nothing can be as heartbreaking as losing a piece of jewelry, especially if it has sentimental value that just can’t be replaced.
During the summer, you’ll likely spend more time outdoors, whether it’s camping, swimming, hanging out at the beach, or just lounging in the park. That’s just more time for a piece of jewelry to become lost and never found again.
But you can only be so careful and you can’t control everything. Swimming in cooler water can make your fingers shrink a bit, making it easier for rings to fall off. If you’re going to be swimming, consider leaving your rings in your jewelry box or wear them on a chain around your neck.
Being more active also puts the stones in your jewelry at risk. Consider visiting your favorite jeweler to make sure they’re not too loose. The same goes for clasps and chains. Make sure they’re secure and in good condition before enjoying the outdoors.
Double check anything you’re even a little worried about. It might save you a lot of heartache down the road.
Summer’s a Great Time for Fun
We hope you’re not scared after reading this post. We really want you to enjoy your summer and your wonderful silver jewelry! If you follow the tips we laid out in this post, you’ll be able to do just that!
- Clean your jewelry with freshwater after swimming, playing in the sand, or gardening.
- Use only soft cloths to prevent scratches.
- Simple chemical reactions can remove tarnish like magic.
- Carefully apply sunscreen and insect repellants.
- When in doubt, leave it at home.
That’s all there is to making sure you and your jewelry have a wonderful summer together!
I’ve lived in México for 4 years and travel frequently to Taxco, less than 6 hours away, to meet with artists and discover new authentic Taxco treasures to share with our customers all over the world. I work with them to not only develop new designs but to also recreate and re-envision classic traditional pieces inspired by pre-Hispanic folk art as well as the revolutionaries of Taxco silver design including William Spratling, Margot de Taxco and Matilde Poulat.