TSG Tip: An Expert's Guide to Summer Jewelry Care

“Don’t take your diamonds down the waterslide,” advises Katie Miller, owner of Newport Beach based fine jewelry boutique, Mama Bijoux. Makes sense. But for those of us who have invested in jewelry staples we rarely (okay, never) take off, we need more specifics for proper care during a season rife with sun, sand, and sunscreen. To help us care for our sparkles this season — for which she’s curated a J’Adour Summer collection — Katie Miller weighs in on summer do’s and don’t’s for fine jewelry.

Catching waves? Do ditch your fine jewelry. While 14K and 18K gold pieces are water safe and will never tarnish, gold is a soft metal that I don’t recommend wearing in the ocean. A casual dip in the pool or sweat sesh won’t do much harm, but if you’re spending more time in the water than out, leave your fine jewelry at home. Crashing waves will easily rip out a huggie and abrasion from salt water will cause your jewelry to look dull over time

Don’t worry too much about summer elements like sunscreen, chlorine, salt, and sun. With regular cleaning and proper storage summer’s threats to fine jewelry are minimal. That said, don’t wear your large diamond studs or tennis bracelets down the waterslide. The velocity won’t do your jewelry any favors.

Do routine checks on your jewelry. Summer is full of activity, so double check the clasps on necklaces and bracelets; listen for that click when putting on huggie earrings; shake and listen to the stones on your engagement ring to ensure nothing is loose; tighten the backs of your earrings.

Do opt for pieces you can wear with confidence. Certain jewelry pieces, like our Classic Diamond Flexible Tennis Bracelet, are up to almost all of summer’s tests. In fact, you’ll always find me in our Mama Deserves Diamonds by the Yard Necklace and Custom Birthstone Bracelet. For custom pieces like the Custom Birthstone Bracelet we use a solid gold chain that will, unlike hollow chains, withstand more wear. And, of course, Permanent Anklets and Bracelets are the perfect option for summer, as they are soldered around your ankle or wrist.

Do store jewelry properly. For the rare occasions you’re not wearing your jewelry — perhaps you’re switching up your stack or hitting the surf — make sure to store your pieces correctly. As gold is a soft metal susceptible to scratching, it’s best to store each piece separately in a hard travel case. Running out of room in your travel case? Prioritize storing hollow pieces like hoops or hollow link bracelets in separate compartments, as these pieces are the most likely to dent and cannot be smoothed out if denting occurs.

Don’t wear your rings to the pool. Avoid inevitable sunscreen build up around your beloved jewelry pieces by leaving rings at home or in a hotel safe. If you do wear your rings to the beach or pool I recommend not removing them when reapplying sunscreen to offset the likelihood of getting distracted and losing them.

Do schedule regular cleaning and polishing. When at-home cleaning isn’t doing the trick, opt for professional cleaning. This is especially important for white gold jewelry, because gold, in its true form, is yellow and requires a rhodium plating to appear white and shiny. In fact, you should have your white gold jewelry re-pated once a year to remove light nicks and scuffs. For yellow gold, a professional polishing will typically do the trick, bringing your pieces back to their original luster.

Do layer up. This summer, I’m loving chunky chains and hoops, diamonds (duh!), Y necklaces, and longer, layering necklaces. All are the perfect complement to a Beach Riot bathing suit, and I feel 100% confident lounging by the pool or swimming with my little ones in these pieces. That said, you won’t see me take them down a waterslide.

Book an appointment to shop Mama Bijoux’s summer-proof, heirloom-quality gold and diamond jewelry in-store (234 East 17th Street, Costa Mesa. Unit 203 Upstairs) or online. Or, craft a one-of-a-kind piece to pass down generation to generation. Just don’t forget to tell owner Katie Miller that Scout sent you.

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