Summer is in full swing which means lots of fun outside. It also means you should take a little extra care for your jewelry. As I mentioned in an older post, it is important to keep your jewelry clean to preventing tarnish keeping it beautiful for years to come. One of the main culprits during summer months can be a buildup of sun block or sunscreen, so we suggest you remove your prized pieces before you apply.
A second concern was actually the catalyst for this post. As my Uncle Doug planned the opening of his pool earlier this month, we hooked up the filter, made sure the water level was correct and then he said our last step was shocking the pool with the chemicals and the pool would be swimmable. Now I don’t know how many readers have been around when shocking a pool, but that intense chlorine odor is as much a smell of summer as a charcoal grill. Dumping those chemicals triggered a question. If those chemicals are what make it safe for us to swim, what must it do to a piece of jewelry? I did a little digging and here’s what I found out.
The technical term for what chlorine does to jewelry is “stress induced corrosion”. Chlorine damage is mostly seen in white gold due to nickel added making the gold white. Most white gold contains nickel which is why some people have an allergy to white gold and can only wear a higher purity rating. This chlorine damage can occur in yellow gold but is much more common in white.
The stress points, when prongs are bent over a stone, are where the chlorine does its damage. Chlorine works on the nickel resulting in microscopic cracks in the metal. Stress in the metal is a primary culprit here as this can also happen with yellow gold pieces. With enough damage, the joining of the nickel (or other alloy metal) is degraded enough for the crack to actually separate and a prong can break off. The same thing can happen on the band of a ring when there is stress in the metal, perhaps from a jeweler hammering the band during sizing.
If you think your jewelry has had chlorine damage, stop by your local Kranich’s Jewelers location where one of our on location jewelers will be able to make your piece as good as new
For questions about caring for your jewelry during summer months or for more on any specific piece offered at Kranich’s Jewelers, visit Kranichs.com or call 888.944.4575 and we will be happy to help you.