ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Effect of Chlorine or Saltwater on Jewelry

Updated on September 25, 2013

Precious metal and gemstone jewelry are often prized possessions and are usually carefully cared for by their owners. Unfortunately, there may be environmental influences that can damage precious metals and gemstones; often without the wearer of the jewelry being immediately aware of the damage. Once serious damage to the piece has occurred, it is often impossible to repair the jewelry and it must be repurchased or recreated. This can be devastating to the owner of the jewelry, especially if the damaged jewelry was an heirloom piece.

Before you dive into any body of water while wearing your jewelry, take chlorine and salt water into consideration.
Before you dive into any body of water while wearing your jewelry, take chlorine and salt water into consideration. | Source

Chlorine and Gold Jewelry

One chemical that is often found in daily life is not usually thought of as harmful or destructive to something as solidly built as jewelry. Chlorine, whether it is found in chlorine bleach used for cleaning, in the swimming pool or in the hot tub can degrade gold jewelry to the point of disintegration. The actual damage to the jewelry piece is due to something commonly called stress corrosion cracking. Whether there is already stress in the joints of the jewelry or it has been repaired, these existing stress points cause a failure in the integrity of the jewelry when exposed to chlorine. A gold ring, placed in undiluted bleach, can disintegrate within minutes of exposure. The higher the karat of the gold in the jewelry, the longer it takes for the chlorine to cause stress fractures.

Chlorine and Gemstones

It is generally recommended to have all jewelry cleaned professionally or clean pieces at home with warm water, a soft bristle brush and very mild detergent soap. Gemstones, including amethyst, tourmaline and turquoise are very susceptible to discoloration when exposed to harsh chemicals. It is always good practice to remove jewelry prior to cleaning the house, performing any household chores requiring the use of chemicals, swimming or soaking in the hot tub. Some gemstones require special care, depending on the hardness of the gem and the actual cut of the gemstones. For example, an amethyst necklace with a princess cut should not be piled in with an art deco engagement ring which could chip the corners of the gemstone and dull the finish.

Saltwater and Precious Jewelry Metals

Saltwater is another corrosive substance that can cause significant damage to jewelry. Due to the harsh nature and salt content of sea water, exposure to salt water can erode the soldered joints of custom jewelry. Most gold and platinum rings are made with mounts soldered to the main band with white gold or silver. These solder joints take the most wear in any situation; however, saltwater can erode the joints and cause mounts and settings for gemstones to fail. Platinum and titanium are sterner, more durable metals and can withstand some light exposure to saltwater or sea water. It is recommended by most jewelers and jewelry care professionals to remove any precious metal jewelry prior to swimming in a saltwater pool or the ocean.

Saltwater and Gemstones

As with chlorine and other harsh chemicals, saltwater can cause significant damage to gemstones in jewelry settings. Along with degrading the mounting joints, which can potentially cause the gemstone to be lost, the saltwater can also damage the facets and appearance of the gemstone itself. Even a simple jewelry piece, such as an amethyst necklace, can be damaged beyond repair by saltwater. It is recommended by jewelry manufacturers to leave jewelry at home if going on vacation or removing all jewelry prior to entering a saltwater swimming pool, saltwater lake or the ocean. All of the oceans and many inland seas contain significant amounts of salt that can cause irreparable damage to precious jewelry.

Caring for jewelry and precious gems

All precious metals and gems require specific care to keep them clean and in original excellent condition. Any cleaning with chemical cleaners, exposure to household and pool chemical or exposure to saltwater situations can cause irreparable damage to precious jewelry pieces. With the overwhelming majority of jewelry, simple cleaning with warm water, a soft bristle brush and a very mild detergent will keep jewelry well maintained and in excellent wearable condition. A large number of jewelers recommended home cleaning be done with the softest bristle toothbrush available. Gemstones should only be polished with soft felt cloth or jeweler’s cloth in order to keep from scratching gemstones. As with gemstones, precious metal jewelry should also be polished carefully in order to prevent etching marks in the metal. Any precious jewelry piece should be periodically inspected and professionally cleaned by a jeweler.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      9 years ago


      Thank-you, this was very informational as planning a warm-ocean style vacation.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)