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Keep Your Jewelry Safe This Summer

Summer has arrived but before you jump in the pool, slather on sunscreen or head to the beach, it never hurts to know where dangers can lurk. If you're not careful, summer can take a toll on your jewelry.

In honor of rings resting on the ocean floor, bracelets ruined from gardening and gems fallen victim to a wicked game of beach volleyball, here are six situations when not to wear your wedding ring, or any other fine jewelry you'd hate to damage or lose.

  • While swimming or exercising. Salt water and chlorine can be damaging, especially for sterling silver jewelry. And sweat can make sterling silver jewelry tarnish quickly.
  • While applying sun block or bug spray. Substances like lotion can get stuck in crevices of chains and prongs, making it hard to clean out. Plus these products form a film on your jewelry, making it appear dull and dingy.
  • In direct sunlight. The sun can bleach certain materials, especially natural elements and some plastics.
  • In cold water. The cold temperature of the water in pools, oceans, lakes and rivers causes your finger size to shrink temporarily. When this happens, rings can easily slip off the finger without your knowledge, until it's too late.
  • While using a hot tub or swimming pool. Chlorine can damage and discolor metals such as gold and platinum, and can slowly erode the finish and polish of gemstones.
  • While gardening. Dirt and small rocks are abrasive to jewelry. If not cleaned right away, jewelry can be permanently damaged. Beware the dangers of gardening gloves, too.

If traveling is on your list of things to do this summer, then check out these tips as well:

  • Choose wisely. Pack light and take only the jewelry you'll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not.
  • Make a list. List all the jewelry you'll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.
  • Carry it on. Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
  • Keep it with you. Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you'll carry while traveling. Don't leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase. When checking into your hotel or condo, don't hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.
  • Use the safe. Always store jewelry in the hotel safe when not wearing it.
  • Insure it. If you are looking for an insurance, company, Jewelers Mutual is the one we recommend. They only insure jewelry and in many cases, their prices are much cheaper than your homeowner's policy. Their premiums also cover "preventative maintenance" such as tip replacements.

As always, it's good practice to bring your jewelry in to your jeweler for regular inspections and cleanings. Your pieces will be in that much better condition to withstand any summer activities.

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