Everyone loves the shine and sparkle of precious metals and gems in a jewelry store. But we also understand that shine can disappear without proper care. Certain jewelry pieces can become damaged from prolonged contact with water, while others are water-safe. Do you know which jewelry you can wear in the shower?
We’re sharing 10 types of waterproof jewelry metals and four others you should keep far away from water.
What are some kinds of jewelry you can wear in the shower?
A general rule to adhere to where jewelry is concerned is to take them off before going into the shower. This prevents jewelry tarnish and stops your jewelry from losing its shine over time. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about ruining these 10 water-safe jewelry metals in the shower..
Stainless steel is an iron, carbon, magnesium, and chromium alloy. It comes in several grades, the most common being 304 and 316. Manufacturers alter its properties by adding other elements like molybdenum, nickel, cobalt, and titanium. Thanks to its multiple properties, stainless steel has various uses, from kitchenware to surgical equipment and even jewelry.
Though iron is prone to rust, the presence of chromium offers corrosion resistance. This quality makes stainless steel jewelry safe for showering in. It might not be a precious metal, but it can retain its sparkle for long, even after much exposure to water.
💡 Not Invincible: Still, keep your stainless steel jewelry away from chlorine, bleach, and salt. Avoid swimming in pools or seawater with your jewelry to prevent it from tarnishing.
Gold is desirable for its luster, color, and ability to be stretched into thin wires and beaten into flat sheets. For thousands of years, humans have used gold to create jewelry and religious artifacts.
The best part of the metal is its natural inertness. Inertness means that gold doesn’t react with oxygen (the most active element) and, as such, doesn’t rust or tarnish. Gold’s unreactive nature makes it one of the most water-safe jewelry metals. Under normal conditions, gold doesn’t react with water and will not tarnish or corrode. However, constantly showering with your gold jewelry can cause it to lose its shine over time.
While pure gold (24-karat gold) is unreactive, except when exposed to monohalides, lower karat gold can react with sweat, perfume, and vegetables like onions. This reaction happens because of the alloys mixed in. Gold itself remains unreactive, but silver and copper have some reactivity.
Silvery-white and rarer than gold, platinum is another excellent choice for jewelry. Platinum is highly unreactive and, for this reason, is regarded as a noble metal. It’s widely used in laboratories, electronics, and chemical reactions.
Water does not affect platinum, making it safe for showering. Over time, a patina might develop on your jewelry. A platinum patina is a change in the metal’s glossy appearance to a satiny or frosty one. But it comes from regular usage, not just exposure to water. It isn’t a substantial problem because you can take the platinum piece to a jeweler. The jeweler will polish it and restore its former shine.
Palladium is a whitish metal that belongs to the platinum metal group. Like all the other group members, palladium has high resistance to attack by other substances. It is used in jewelry making, dentistry, aircraft construction, and a catalytic converter in car exhausts.
Though palladium is considered the most reactive in the platinum metal group, it doesn’t react with water. You can wear it in the shower, and it won’t tarnish. Over time, the glossy finish might fade to a matte one. But you can get it polished by a jeweler to restore the original look.
Titanium is a fantastic engineering material. It is corrosion-resistant and strong but much lighter than high-strength steel. Due to its many properties, manufacturers use it in aerospace engineering, medicine, and jewelry making. It’s greatly sought after because of its durability.
Titanium corrosion or wear is rare. Except in extreme conditions, titanium will remain undamaged. These extreme situations don’t include your shower. Titanium can take lots of water exposure without tarnishing or rusting.
Aluminum is a low-density metal used in making foils, cans, utensils, and plane parts. Though it isn’t a precious metal, it is helpful in jewelry making. It is manufactured by anodizing. This process creates a stable oxide film on the metal’s surface. As long as it doesn’t combine with any other metals in its manufacture, aluminum is tarnish-resistant. It also won’t rust because it doesn’t contain iron or any components that rust easily.
You can be sure that your aluminum jewelry won’t fade or tarnish while worn during a shower. A few millimeters of aluminum oxide protects its surface, preventing the metal from reacting with water.
Unless your glass jewelry is antique or specified as delicate, like Roman glass, glass is waterproof. Glass is made of silica (in sand), soda ash, and limestone melted at high temperatures. When used for jewelry, glass makes beads and pendants for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Glass comprises silicon dioxide, which forms a long continuous chain. This property makes glass insoluble in water. Water cannot break it down or cause it to lose its color or design.
💡 Caution: Although glass is water-proof, you may want to take it off in the shower for another reason. If your jewelry slips and falls, it could break.
Silicone is a polymer made of siloxane chains. It is an engineering material known for flexibility, malleability, and low conductivity. More recently, silicone is popularly used for making jewelry. The material is soft and biocompatible, suitable for body stretching plugs.
It is also water safe, making it ideal for taking a shower. You can shower regularly with silicone jewelry without fear of discoloration or wear. It’s primarily inert and reacts only with concentrated acids such as hydrofluoric and sulphuric acid.
Acrylic is a form of engineering plastic scientifically known as poly (methyl methacrylate). It is known for its optical clarity, strength, and color variety. When used in jewelry, it creates dazzling, glass-like pieces. Like glass and most plastics, water does not affect it. You can wear your acrylic pieces in the shower numerous times without fear of damage.
However, like most plastic, you should keep acrylic away from essential oils. Essential oils often contain potent, volatile substances which can wear down acrylic over time. To make your acrylic piece last longer, keep it away from essential oils.
Tungsten carbide is an inorganic compound of carbon. It is dense and resembles a metal with a light gray surface. It’s used in engineering, for light bulb filaments, cathode ray tubes, and heavy metal alloys like high-speed steel. However, it’s also used in making rings.
Tungsten carbide is an inert material and doesn’t react to humidity or water. You can shower with it without fear of tarnish.
💡 May Not Be Entirely Liquid-Safe: If the care instructions advise you to take your tungsten jewelry off before showers, it would be wise to comply. Also, watch out for washing liquids and chemicals. Tungsten doesn’t react well with ammonia, bleach, or chlorine.
What jewelry should you NOT wear in the shower?
You can wear some jewelry around water without issues, but you should keep some other jewelry materials far away from water and humidity. They can corrode, discolor or even crack. Here are some types of jewelry you should keep outside the shower.
Pristine and gorgeous sterling silver is an excellent choice for jewelry. But it doesn’t fare well in the presence of water. Repeated exposure to water can lead to silver oxidation. This oxidation tarnishes and darkens silver over time, lending it a dull appearance.
Pearls are beautiful but delicate. Though they come from the sea, the pearl surface is brittle and can be damaged by other shower substances like soaps, oils, and perfumes. Water alone isn’t harmful to pearls, but overexposure to water can damage the silk strings. So, it’s best to leave your pearls outside the shower.
If your wood jewelry is treated and has a gloss over it, it might be okay to shower with. However, we’d still recommend being cautious. Wood can absorb water, expand, dry out, and lose its shape, form, or even break. To ensure your wood jewelry lasts as long as possible, keep it away from water.
While gold is okay for showering, the same cannot be said of gold-plated jewelry. The layer of gold on this kind of jewelry is thin and can wear away over time. Care for your gold-plated jewelry by keeping them dry and away from water and abrasive surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still curious about other kinds of jewelry, we have answers to help you.
Can I shower with gold-filled jewelry?
While gold-plated jewelry is likely to tarnish after exposure to water, gold-filled pieces are different. Gold-filled jewelry has a slightly thick layer of gold around a metal base. That base metal is usually silver, copper, or nickel. The gold layer of gold-filled jewelry is strong and can resist tarnishing or peeling.
Can I shower with diamond earrings?
You shouldn’t shower with diamond earrings. Soaps, lotions, and oils used during a shower can leave residue on its surface and dull its luster. With that in mind, it’s best to take your diamond earrings off before you shower.
Can you shower with stainless steel jewelry?
You can shower with stainless steel jewelry because the metal is water-safe. Water, bathing soap, and your bath lotions won’t cause it to rust or corrode. However, you should keep stainless steel jewelry away from chlorine, bleach, and salt, as they can damage your jewelry’s outer chromium layer.
Can you wear Pandora in the shower?
Pandora jewelry isn’t entirely safe under shower water. Some metals it’s made with, like silver and gold-plated silver and copper, can get rusty or soggy under the shower water and corrode. Unless your Pandora piece is specified as titanium, stainless steel, or any other water-friendly materials, it’s best to take it off before you shower.
Basic Jewelry Care Tips to Remember
Caring for jewelry is rewarding, protects your investment, and helps you save money on new purchases and repairs. Keep care tips in mind to keep your jewelry in good condition.
1. Keep Jewelry Away from Chemicals
Some jewelry may not tarnish when exposed to harsh chemicals, but many likely will. Take off rings or bracelets before using harsh cleaning liquids, using perfume, or applying lotion. Also, the chlorine in swimming pools can damage your jewelry so, it’s best to take yours off before entering a pool.
2. Be Careful While Cleaning
The best cleaning method for most jewelry is mild soap and a soft brush. Simple dishwashing liquids or mild detergents are the best choices. You can use a toothbrush or makeup brush to get the dirt out of the edges and corners. With more stubborn dirt, soak the piece of jewelry in warm soapy water for some minutes to soften the embedded dirt.
3. Safely Store Jewelry
Keep your jewelry in soft, padded boxes to protect them from scratches. You can also use a ziplock bag or jewelry pouch to store individual pieces and reduce exposure to moisture. Only store individual pieces or sets together in the same bags to prevent scratching.
4. Avoid Direct Exposure to Sunlight
Sunlight isn’t only a danger to the skin. It’s dangerous for your jewelry too. In the long run, exposure to ultraviolet rays can break down your jewelry and cause deterioration. As much as you can, keep your jewelry away from direct sunlight.
5. Wipe Down Jewelry After Wear
To remove the dust and grime gathered during the day, wipe your jewelry. This process prevents the build-up of dirt and can make eventual cleaning less of a chore.
6. Take It Off Before You Swim or Shower
If you’re sure your jewelry is safe in the pool or shower, go ahead. But if you aren’t, take it off. Some jewelry can get damaged in the shower, and most jewelry metals can’t stand the chlorine in a pool.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Most jewelry is expensive and for good reason. Jewelers take much care and effort in crafting every piece. Besides wearing our jewelry pieces, we have to take extra steps to ensure they aren’t ruined.
There aren’t too many kinds of jewelry you can wear in the shower safely. We have listed some waterproof jewelry, but you can never be too careful. If you’re unsure of your bath oils or the makeup of your jewelry, take it off before you shower. You can ensure your jewelry lasts a long time by taking every precaution.
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