Are you tired of removing your treasured pieces of jewelry whenever you head out to the pool or beach? Do you look at your photos on social media and think, “I wish I had that sparkle that I usually have?” If you normally adorn yourself with beautiful jewelry, it feels like such a shame to have to take them off just because you go to the pool. However, there is a good reason for that.
While you can wear some jewelry into the pool, such as ones made of stainless steel, tungsten, silicone, titanium, and platinum, that doesn’t mean that all of it is water resistant. The other components may react negatively to the chemicals in the pool, causing a weakening or discoloration of your jewelry. You should completely avoid wearing copper, bronze, gold, and diamond jewelry into the pool. Materials aside, there is also the very practical risk of losing your jewelry or scratching others, so in general it’s just not a good idea.
In this article we will discuss how feasible it is for you to wear your jewelry into the pool. It’s possible, but there are risks involved that you may not be willing to take. We discuss these risks so that you can be better informed if you do decide to wear jewelry into the pool, and any potential damage your jewelry sustains is on you.
Why it’s generally a bad idea to wear jewelry in the pool
It may have been years since your last chemistry course, but I’m sure you are at least vaguely aware of what a chemical reaction is. Well, pools and hot tubs contain copious amounts of chemicals, mainly chlorine, to sanitize the water by killing bacteria. Chlorine makes pool water safe to swim in, but that doesn’t mean it plays nice with your jewelry due to the risk of a chemical reaction.
Chlorine can react with metals such as silver, nickel, and zinc. It can cause materials like these to deteriorate and become discolored. These metals are often found in gold jewelry because they are alloyed together to strengthen the overall product. Therefore, there is a good chance your gold jewelry will react with the chlorine in the pool, damaging it beyond recognition.
Since you do not know which metals are alloyed together, as well as which components are vulnerable to chlorine, you will think it’s fine until you find microscopic holes in your jewelry as it disintegrates. Over time, the metals can break. If the prongs on a ring breaks, you can lose the beautiful stone that was on your ring.
Chemical reactions can also cause your jewelry to turn black, so if you wanted to look shiny, this is not the look you were hoping for. Similar kinds of reactions can also occur when jewelry is exposed to cleaning products, so you had best remove your jewelry when cleaning as well.
Finally, there are also the practical concerns of losing your jewelry because it slipped off, or scratching someone else in the pool. You also are not allowed to wear jewelry into public pools, so that limits the places you can even go to. If you can deal with all of these potential downsides, then head on to the next section where we discuss jewelry that is safe to wear in pools.
Which jewelry is safe to wear in the pool?
- Stainless steel: One of the safest jewelry to go to the pool with are ones made of stainless steel specifically 316L and 304 stainless steel. They have great corrosion-resistance, especially in a cooler environment such as swimming pools. That said, being resistant to something is not the same as being immune to it. Even swimsuits are resistant to chlorine, yet chlorine will damage it over time. The same is true of stainless steel; taking a dip in the pool too often may cause it to become tarnished over time.
- Tungsten: Another strong material is tungsten, and jewelry made of it is one of the safest options to wear to the pool. Not only is it corrosion-resistant, but it is durable and scratch-resistant as well. They are not indestructible, but they should be more than adequate to survive trips to the pool. Additionally, tungsten is hypoallergenic and is unlikely to get tarnished in the pool.
- Silicone: The durability of silicone jewelry is thanks to its inherent properties. Silicone has stable and strong siloxane bonds that are chemically stable, heat-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and non-reactive. Silicone will retain its shape even when exposed to extreme temperature conditions and the chemicals in the pool. In other words, it should not be damaged in the swimming pool.
- Titanium: Titanium is yet another durable material that is non-reactive and will not be tarnished by chlorine.
- Platinum: Platinum is also non-reactive and will fare well when worn in a swimming pool.
Which jewelry should you avoid wearing in the pool?
- Copper: Copper is a very reactive material, and the copper components of any jewelry will become green-tinged if exposed to chlorine. Over time, it will weaken and disintegrate, so avoid wearing your jewelry to the pool if it is made with copper.
- Bronze: Bronze is also highly reactive and will become discolored and slowly disintegrate when exposed to chlorine.
- Gold: As mentioned, gold is often alloyed with zinc and copper, and these metals will react with chlorine, resulting in a tarnished look.
- Diamond: Diamonds have a reputation for being indestructible, but that is not entirely true. When exposed to chlorine, diamonds will cloud over and look very old and worn out, unlike the shiny gemstone you expect it to look like. Diamonds are also expensive so losing it would be a disaster.
So you’re confident that your jewelry is non-reactive and corrosion-resistant and you want to wear them into the pool. There are some more tips you should know.
We highly recommend you bring some jewelry wipes or cleaning solution with you. Your jewelry will be subjected to sunscreen, greasy hands, tanning oil, and who knows what else, so you need to wipe them down to ensure they stay sparkling. Check your jewelry care instructions and try to adhere to them.
When it comes to wearing the jewelry, you should try to match it with your swimwear. Try to stick with just one or two colors. If you have every single color of the rainbow, you might end up looking more like a clown instead.
Also consider the tan lines you will get. If you don’t want any on your neck, don’t wear any necklaces. (It’s a bad idea in the first place because of the choking risk). Focus more on bracelets or wearing jewelry in areas that can be easily covered up if you end up with a tan.
Generally speaking we don’t recommend wearing jewelry in the pool. However, if you’re going to go for it anyways, then you might as well go all out. Get creative and go for a memorable look; maybe you should rock that rainbow style after all. Jewelry can enhance your swimwear and leave you looking ultra stylish in photographs.