Can You Shower with a Gold Chain & Other Useful Questions Answered
If you’ve only recently entered the world of luxury jewelry, you probably have a whole host of questions, from how you should store an iced-out chain to how often you should clean your rings. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and supplied you with detailed, informative answers, starting with one of the most common queries: “Can I shower with a gold chain?”
Can You Shower with a Gold Chain?
When you find a gold chain that you love—or any other kind of gold jewelry—you never want to take it off, even in the shower. But can getting your gold pieces wet damage them, and should it be avoided?
The short answer is that gold jewelry can be worn in the shower. Water does not damage the metal, whether you wear yellow, white, or rose gold pieces.
However, routinely wearing your gold chains into the shower isn’t the best idea because exposure to water can reduce its shine over time. This is particularly true if you live in an area with hard water, which can leave an unsightly mineral buildup. Soap can also leave a residue on the gold that causes it to appear dull. If this happens to your jewelry, taking it to be repolished can bring back the shine, but, by taking it off before you shower, you avoid this hassle and expense.
Abrasive products, such as exfoliants and certain rough sponges, could scratch gold jewelry. Gold of higher purity is more easily scratched, so an 18k piece is more prone to scratches than a 10k one.
It can be challenging to remember to remove your jewelry before showering, but you’ll thank yourself for establishing this habit in the long run. Decide on a dedicated spot to keep your jewelry while you’re showering, such as a dish or jewelry holder on your dressing table. Having this specific place will help you maintain the habit. An ideal practice is for your jewelry to be left outside of the steamy bathroom—for instance, in your bedroom and on a stand where chains can’t get tangled.
What About Showering with Diamond Jewelry?
Lovers of iced-out chains may be wondering if showering can damage diamond jewelry, and the answer is yes. In this case, the issue is with the products you use in the shower rather than the water. Many soaps, oils, and lotions can dull the shine of your bling by coating it in a thin film. Even more worrying, exfoliating scrubs can scratch diamonds, ruining their finish. In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry and simply remove all jewelry before bathing.
When Else Should I Remove My Gold Jewelry?
While you’re likely to remove larger pieces such as big pendants and statement rings frequently, more subtle items like smaller chains and wedding bands are often comfortable enough to wear all day long. However, depending on the kind of jewelry you wear, there are certain day-to-day activities that you should remove it for, including:
Harsh chemicals found in cleaning products such as bleach and ammonia can damage jewelry, particularly stones and settings, leading to discoloration or other issues. It’s also easy to bang rings and bracelets against hard surfaces like tiled floors and counters when cleaning, loosening gems from settings, and denting chain links. Removing jewelry or wearing protective gloves is advisable.
There is an obvious safety risk to wearing chunky jewelry and long chains when working out: They can easily get caught up and cause you harm, as well as getting damaged themselves. However, there are also other issues with wearing gold when hitting the gym.
Pure gold is very soft and can be scratched or dented quite easily if knocked against gym equipment. While pieces with a lower gold purity are more resistant to this kind of damage, they are more likely to be damaged by daily exposure to sweat. Pieces made of under 18k gold have a significant proportion of other metals—such as copper and silver. This mixture makes jewelry stronger, but the pieces are more vulnerable to oxidation, which can occur if they are consistently exposed to alkaline sweat.
Applying Skincare Products
Most skincare products, such as basic moisturizers, will not damage your jewelry, though it can lead to a buildup of excess product, particularly on pieces with lots of stone settings. If you are using products with stronger ingredients, such as retinol, it’s a good idea to slip off your jewelry until you’ve finished and your skincare products have soaked in.
Gold is highly resistant to chemicals, but the other metals found in gold alloys can be weakened by chlorine. Swimming in the sea is also not ideal for jewelry, as it can leave a salty residue, dulling the gold shine. Therefore, it is always safer to avoid wearing jewelry when swimming.
If you do wear your gold jewelry while swimming, gently wash it after your session with a mild jewelry cleaning specific for use with gold jewelry. Do not use baking soda, and do not scrub the piece. Avoid drying with blow dryers or other artificial drying methods, as this can also weaken the metal.
How Often Should I Clean My Gold Jewelry?
Your timeframe for cleaning your gold jewelry depends on how often you wear it. You should follow a basic cleaning routine at least weekly if you wear your jewelry every day. Make a habit of gathering your frequently worn jewelry on Sunday afternoon and following a cleaning routine. Before starting your cleaning, check for damage like a cracked ring band, a loose stone, or a damaged chain.
If all your jewelry is in good shape, soak it in a warm water and dish soap solution. Use 2 parts dish soap and 10 parts water to create your solution. Let the pieces sit for 2-3 hours, giving them a gentle brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush before rinsing and patting dry with a cloth.
If you want your jewelry to shine after cleaning, use a polishing cloth after drying. Make sure to buy a cloth intended for jewelry, since cloths and paper towels you have at home could scratch your pieces.
Outside of these weekly cleanings, you may notice a dirty spot on your ring or necklace. You can use a bit of soap, rubbing alcohol, or water to clean them. However, never use bleach since it could damage the metal.
Besides keeping your jewelry clean at home, bring it in to a local jeweler for cleaning once or twice a year. They can also check for damage you may not see and repair it before it becomes a problem.
What Is the Difference Between 10k Gold and 24k Gold?
Karats are a unit used to measure the amount of gold in a piece of jewelry. Pure gold is gold that hasn’t been mixed with other elements and is 24k. When you see other numbers, such as 18k, 14k, or 10k, the gold has been mixed with other metals, typically copper or silver. For instance, 18k gold has around 75% gold and 25% other metals, while 10k gold has just under 42% gold.
Metals are added to gold because pure gold is too soft and malleable to make jewelry. Other metals make jewelry stronger and more durable; however, it can affect the gold color.
White and rose gold are measured in the same way as yellow gold, using karats. These golds get their color from the metals they are mixed with. White gold is usually mixed with white metals like palladium and silver; it is then given a coating of another white metal called rhodium. Rose gold alloys include a greater percentage of copper.
When shopping for gold jewelry, some people are concerned about how you can tell if gold is real. This is understandable: buying gold pieces is a significant investment, and you need to be confident you’re not going to be duped. Always buy from a trusted, experienced seller.
How Do I Care for My White Gold Jewelry?
The rhodium plating that white gold pieces have wears off over time. When this happens, you will begin to see the slightly yellow color of the white gold beneath, which is not the shade you normally associate with this material.
How quickly the coating of rhodium takes to fade largely depends on the way you wear your jewelry. It will fade more quickly if you wear a piece every day, particularly if you don’t take it off when showering, working out, and cleaning.
Fortunately, most local jewelers can re-plate pieces with rhodium for a reasonable price. It’s a good idea to do this annually for everyday pieces, while white gold neck chains and rings that you only wear occasionally can go years before they need to be replated.
How Should I Store My Gold Jewelry?
Storing your jewelry well can protect it from damage. Not all jewelry storage solutions are suitable for fine jewelry. If in doubt, stick to the following tips:
- Opt for jewelry boxes with soft, fabric linings. Wooden or plastic boxes can scratch or dent gold pieces.
- Leave space between pieces stored in a jewelry box, as they can scratch each other, particularly if you have iced-out pieces next to plain gold ones. Alternatively, you can loosely wrap jewelry in soft fabric, such as felt or velvet.
- Keep your jewelry away from extremes in temperatures: both the cold and the heat can damage them. Most jewelry should also be stored in dry places, so keep humidity at a low level. However, pearls and opals need a certain level of moisture in the air, or they will crack.
- Do not store jewelry in direct sunlight.
- Diamonds are the hardest of gemstones, ranking a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. Other extremely hard gemstones include rubies and sapphires. As much as possible, you should store blinged-out jewelry separately.
- Neck chains are among the most difficult types of jewelry to store because they tangle easily—especially thinner chains. There are plenty of storage solutions to keep chains from getting twisted up, such as hanging them or wrapping them individually. Storing pendants separately from chains helps avoid tangled chains and damage from scratches.
- Jewelry often gets damaged because it hasn’t been packed well for travel. Invest in a travel jewelry bag that allows you to store your pieces safely in separate compartments when you are away from home.
- Remember that your jewelry is not only precious to you; these are valuable pieces that are vulnerable to theft. Always keep your jewelry in a secure, discreet location, such as a safe or lockable jewelry box.
Can a Gold Ring Be Enlarged?
Developing a good relationship with your local jeweler will serve you and your collection well, as they are a great source of knowledge when it comes to all things bling. One area they will know a great deal about is jewelry alteration.
Skilled jewelers can make all kinds of alterations to your gold pieces, whether that’s changing the way a bracelet fits or resetting a diamond from one piece to another. Reducing a ring’s size is fairly easy; enlarging it, however, is more challenging and cannot always be done.
If your ring only needs to be enlarged by half a size, your jeweler can accomplish this by stretching the metal. Greater adjustments require the ring to be cut and extra metal to be added. This gets much more difficult to do with elaborate ring bands, such as those with various stone settings. Additionally, rose gold should not be resized, as it tends to crack.
There’s Always Something New to Learn About Your Jewelry Collection
All jewelry aficionados have questions from time to time about how they should care for their pieces or whether their dream of resizing an antique gold ring is possible, and perhaps they don’t always know who they can turn to for answers.
At Frost NYC, we’re always happy to talk about bling and give you tips on how to style or care for your pieces. Next time you’re checking out our wide collection of jewelry, ask one of our friendly staff members for tips on how to care for and enhance your collection.