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  • 5 min read

While you probably aren’t looking to get a gold chain or a gold bracelet to wear to your next swim meet, there are times when you and your jewelry might be faced with some slippery situations. Whether it’s rain, a HIIT sweat session, or a jump in the pool, how do you know if your gold jewelry can get wet?

Is it okay for gold to come in contact with water? How much can it handle? And what should you do if your jewelry gets wet? Here’s everything you need to know.

Gold and Water

If it’s a rainy day, many people stash away their gold jewelry to make sure they don’t ruin their pieces. But the bottom line is that water itself does not ruin a piece of gold. It’s usually okay for gold pieces to be exposed to water.

In fact, gold is one of the least reactive elements on the periodic table and does not rust or corrode when it reacts with oxygen. So, if you have a solid gold piece, you really don’t need to worry about getting your piece wet from rain or another source of clean water.

But the chances are high that the gold piece you have is actually a gold alloy combined with another type of metal. Since 24k gold is usually hard to get your hands on because of the price, most people go for 10k, 14k, or 18k alternatives. These are made with a percentage of solid gold mixed with another type of metal, like sterling silver or stainless steel.

When these metals get wet and react with oxygen, they have a higher chance of rusting. Rust forms when iron (or an iron alloy) is exposed to oxygen when moisture is also present. This does not happen instantly. Instead, it takes place over a long period of time.

This is to say that if your 14k gold gets wet, it’s not the end of the world. Make sure you dry it off as quickly as possible to prevent a reaction from taking place.

Chlorine: Gold’s Worst Enemy

Water is usually not much of a menace for gold jewelry of any type as long as you keep them dry after exposure. Chlorine in pools, spas, and hot tubs is an entirely different story: Chlorine is sort of like gold’s kryptonite.

Chlorine causes a chemical reaction when exposed to gold that disintegrates the alloys in the pieces over time. Repeated exposure to chlorine can make your piece completely fall apart – unless it’s made of solid gold. Yet again, this reaction generally only affects other metal alloys in a piece rather than the gold itself. So if you have a 24k pendant, ring, or bracelet, it’s not that big of a deal.

Still, taking a 24k gold piece into a pool or a spa is an easy way to lose your piece, so it’s still a good idea to take it off when you can.

How To Keep Gold Dry

If your gold items are exposed to moisture, there are a few preventative measures you can take to ensure that it doesn’t affect their appearance or integrity in the long run.

Use Soft Cloths

Right when you get home from being out in the rain, you want to carefully dry your piece entirely to prevent any rust formation. When you do this, be sure to use a soft microfiber cloth so that you don’t risk scratching the metal.

While gold is highly resistant to chemical reactions, it is a very soft metal compared to most others. This means that physical damage can occur easily if an abrasive material rubs up against it. Use a soft cloth, and make sure you don’t apply too much pressure.

Store Your Pieces Properly

You might have some pieces that you don’t wear for a long period of time. If you store them improperly, you risk exposing them to humidity and other outside elements that can easily ruin some of your favorite gold jewelry items.

Jewelry boxes are some of the best because they are lined with soft materials that prevent your gold from scratching or rubbing up against one another. This helps prevent physical damage. But the location where you keep your jewelry box is also important.

Store them in a dry area of your home to avoid the risk of excess humidity in the air. Bedrooms are usually better, less humid locations compared to places that don’t receive much sunlight, such as closets or basements.

Cleaning Your Gold Properly

You’re naturally going to have to get your gold pieces wet when it’s time to clean them, but there is a proper way to do it to help maintain cleanliness and make your pieces last even longer.

For one, make sure you’re creating a solution using lukewarm water and a mild dish soap. Harsh cleaning agents like degreasing dish soap or bleach can easily tarnish your pieces and do more harm than good.

Place your visibly dirty jewelry into the solution and let it sit for about one to three hours. After the soaking period, take it out and run it under clean water to get the soapy residue off. Finally, use a microfiber cloth or towel to dry the piece completely and return it to its proper storage container.

What To Do If Your Gold Starts to Tarnish

If water or chlorine has gotten the best of your piece and you’re noticing that it’s lost its iconic shine, it’s probably time to take it to a jeweler to get it repaired. Jewelers can replace a new layer of gold over tarnished layers to give it a brand-new look. They might even be able to fill in small cracks and dents to return it to its former glory.

But you can also take some time to make sure you’re getting your jewelry from the right place to begin with. 6 Ice has a lifetime guarantee on our high-quality jewelry, so if your piece wears down from normal wear and tear, we’ll work with you to make things right. That’s how confident we are in the quality of our products.

Since our pieces are made with durable materials, to begin with, you don’t need to worry as much about tarnishing and damaging your pieces compared to many other brands. Browse our full collection to find a piece that suits your style and makes even the greatest hip-hop icons jealous of your fit.

In Conclusion

While many people fear getting their jewelry wet in any capacity, the bottom line is that a little bit of water probably won’t hurt anybody. Water itself does not affect jewelry, but when it oxidizes over time, it can cause certain alloys to tarnish or rust.

This only really affects gold alloys, like 18k gold, which are made of gold combined with another type of metal. 24k solid gold does not react with water, or many other chemicals, in the same way as alloyed gold.

As a rule of thumb, you just want to make sure that you use a soft microfiber cloth to dry your jewelry every time it gets wet and store it in a safe, dry location to ensure that your jewelry lasts for a long time.

Sources:

What are the physical and chemical reactions of gold? | ScienceLine

Mohs Hardness Scale | U.S. National Park Service

How Rust and Corrosion Work | ThoughtCo

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