Is This Common Household Chemical Damaging Your Ring?

“I don’t understand it…I’ve had this ring for 15 years and never had any trouble. Even though I’ve had restoration work done on my ring, I’m losing diamonds!” 

“I think my engagement ring must be a lemon because it suddenly started losing diamonds and it is practically new!”

“I’m very careful with my ring. I don’t wear it during any strenuous activities. Why am I losing diamonds?” 

While there are several reasons a ring may lose a small diamond, it is most confusing when it happens to a ring that is well cared for. It makes sense that a valuable piece of jewelry should not be worn during tasks that could cause damage like yardwork, heavy lifting, or any activity that exposes the ring to rough surfaces. Even the fibers in some bedding can get caught and pull on prongs during sleep. But when you are very careful to avoid wearing your ring during these activities and you still lose diamonds, it is a frustrating puzzle that seems to have no answer…especially when your jeweler assures you that your ring looks like it is in good condition.

Ready for your Ahaaaa moment?

n the forms of Chlorine or Bromide, bleach is the culprit in most of these mysteries….and unless your jeweler is an expert in metals and alloys, you likely were not told to steer clear of this damaging chemical while wearing your fine jewelry. Thus, your fine jewelry is not so fine anymore…

Because Chlorine and Bromide are commonly used in swimming pools, hot tubs, laundry, cleaning chemicals, and drinking water, you may be exposing your ring to damage without even realizing it. The risk is compounded with longer exposures, heated temperatures, and higher concentrations, but how can we quantify the exact risk your ring may have been exposed to?

Hoover & Strong, the well-known and trusted jewelry industry expert in “all things gold” decided to put this question to the test and performed significant laboratory testing to determine the answer to this question. Using a solution of only 5% chlorine and 95% water heated to 110 degrees, researchers found that a “14k white gold setting would lose a stone or expect prong breakage after 21 hours of exposure.” Even at room temperature, after 120 hours of exposure, a ring is in the same condition. An activity as benign as adding a bit of bleach to cold dish water and washing dishes 3 times a week for 15 minutes each time can cause significant damage to your ring after only three years. Heat the dishwater and the time is remarkably shorter. 

So, it turns out that relaxing in your hot tub can put significant stress on your ring!

Now that you know, the solution is simple…remove your fine jewelry before participating in any activity that might expose it to chlorine or bromine. That's it...

You're welcome!