Do you remove your rings when cleaning? How about when swimming? We were reminded this earlier in February that many people aren’t aware of the damage bleach and chlorine can cause to gold. Both cause a chemical reaction that disintegrates the alloys in the jewelry over time. (Nearly all gold jewelry is alloyed, because pure gold is too soft on its own.)
One study showed that when a 14K white gold ring was placed in common household bleach for 36 hours, the ring completely disintegrated! Small amounts of chlorine exist in tap water, too. This isn’t cause to remove your ring every time you wash your hands or bathe—you’ll only increase your risk of losing your ring—but it’s reason enough to wear gloves when you wash dishes and reason enough to make sure you get your ring checked by a jeweler once a a season to make sure the prongs and setting, in particular, are holding up.
What happens when the prongs or setting aren’t holding up? Things like this:
What’s wrong with this picture? Well, there used to be a diamond perched atop the engagement band in this set. The whole thing fell off—setting and all:
In a sense, this customer was fortunate, because she noticed the problem before she left her home for work. She was confident the diamond had been there when she went to bed. So, she enlisted her two kids on a search and rescue. Everyone got on all fours around the house, and her son was able to find it, nestled in the carpet.
Had she been away from home when the setting broke off, she probably would have been filing an insurance claim and having to buy a new setting and diamond.
Guess who owns a hot tub? Yes, it was her. She had no idea that chlorine and gold don’t play well together. So, not only did she have this calamity on her hands this year, but she’s also had to have rhodium plating done on the ring many times since getting engaged 15 years ago.
At Goodman’s, one of our goldsmiths was able to easily repair the ring after assessing whether soldering the original setting was feasible. (Had it not been, a new setting would have been created.)
Now that the customer knows firsthand what can happen from chlorine, she’s discreetly placed a tiny hook on the sunroom wall where she can hang her ring before she heads out to the hot tub. The hook is just for her ring, so she can take it off right before walking out the door and put it back on right when she steps back inside. (“Not that I’m going to be in the hot tub any time soon,” she told us. “This weather’s too cold for even that!)
So, keep your gold jewelry out of the pool and hot tub. Remove your rings when disinfecting your house. And stop by Goodman’s Jewelers to have your ring checked and cleaned once a season, (yes four times a year) whether you bought it from us or not. We’re happy to help!