Is chlorine bad for gold?
“I am an avid swimmer and just got engaged. One of my friends at the pool noticed my new engagement ring and suggested that I not wear it while swimming. I told her that my ring fits snugly, so it shouldn’t slip off in water, and she responded by telling me that chlorine is bad for gold. I can’t seem to find a straight answer online, so I thought I’d ask you since you made my engagement ring. Is chlorine bad for gold? Should I take my diamond engagement ring off while swimming? Isn’t chlorine just a cleaning agent? And while we’re on the subject, what is the best way to clean my engagement ring at home?
Chlorine is Public Enemy #1 for Gold:
Before we find ourselves in an argument with some chemistry student, let us be clear. Chlorine is not a problem for 24k pure gold, but it has very damaging effects upon some of the other precious metals that are used to alloy gold to the various gold karat values commonly used to make engagement rings, such as 10k, 14k, and 18k gold.
I remember an old timer the jewelry business telling me a story about a 14k gold ring that was placed in a container of chlorine bleach. The chlorine began to react with the alloys in the ring almost immediately, creating a wash of bubbles that surrounded the ring. Within three days, the 14k gold ring had completely dissolved in the solution of chlorine bleach.
Now I don’t know whether the story is true or not, and I’m not about to drop a Brian Gavin Signature diamond engagement ring in a container of bleach to test the theory, but suffice to say that there is plenty of evidence that indicates that exposure to chlorine in swimming pools, and regular household bleach, is bad for the alloys that are mixed with gold to make it suitable for jewelry manufacturing.
Ask practically any professional jeweler who actually works on jewelry and they will tell you that the chlorine used in swimming pools, and chlorine bleach, is actually very bad for fine jewelry. Some jewelers will even tell you that the chlorine contained in most household drinking water is bad for jewelry, which leads you to wonder how bad it is for human beings.
Suffice to say that we don’t expect you to stop washing your hands any time soon, or to take your rings off every time you do, but it is a good idea to take your jewelry off before swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool, and you should rinse jewelry immediately if it comes in contact with chlorine bleach while cleaning or doing the laundry.
There is a great tutorial about how to clean your diamond engagement ring within the archives of the Brian Gavin Blog. I hope that you enjoy reading it. Remember to have your engagement ring and other fine jewelry inspected by a qualified jeweler at least twice per year, they can professionally clean the ring at the same time.