Cart is empty Close mini cart

Your cart is empty

Browse our services

The 7 Most Common Causes of Jewelry Damage (and How to Avoid Them)

Written by Anna Currell
April 20, 2023

In a perfect world, your favorite pieces of jewelry would last a lifetime. But without proper care and attention, they can easily become damaged, tarnished, or lost. Fortunately, many types of damage can be avoided by following just a few simple guidelines. In this article, we’ll explore seven of the most common causes of jewelry damage and how to avoid them. 

#1: Chemicals

Many common household chemicals can damage jewelry, including cleaning products, bleach, hairspray, and perfume. These substances can cause discoloration, tarnish, or even corrosion. To avoid damage from chemicals, remove your jewelry before using any cleaning products or sprays, and wait until your lotion or perfume has completely dried before putting your jewelry on.

#2: Moisture

Exposure to moisture is another common cause for jewelry damage, especially if it’s not designed for prolonged exposure to water like diving watches or other waterproof jewelry. Moisture can cause discoloration, rust, and weaken the metal or the setting. Be sure to remove your jewelry before bathing, swimming, or doing any activities where it may come into contact with water. Similarly, be sure to keep your jewelry away from windows in the cooler months, as the moisture from condensation can damage your jewelry too. 


A before and after example of a ring in need of a cleaning!

#3: Heat

Heat can cause damage to many types of jewelry; high temperatures can melt or warp metal into distorted and unwearable shapes, and can even alter a gemstone’s natural colors. To avoid this kind of damage, keep your jewelry away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat, such as stoves, ovens, sunny windowsills, or fireplaces. 

#4: Scratches

It’s easy to scratch, chip, or dent your jewelry when it comes into contact with other jewelry, clothing, or surfaces. Be sure to store your jewelry with ample space if your pieces stay in a jewelry box, and be careful when wearing jewelry that may come into contact with each other or other surfaces, like big rings that might clink together or bracelets that could accidentally hit your desk while typing on your computer at work, for instance. 

gold ring scratched-jewelry

Gold ring with scratches

#5: Accidents

Accidental impact can cause jewelry damage; it’s easy to chip or crack gemstones, bend or break metal, or even lose pieces of your jewelry. Be very careful when doing activities where your jewelry could get damaged, like contact sports or weightlifting. If you’re unsure about whether you or our jewelry will be safe while performing an activity, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take it off.

#6: Wear and Tear

If you have a few favorite pieces of jewelry that you wear frequently, they can experience even more wear and tear over time. This might look like anything from stretched or weakened chains to loosened prongs that don’t safely hold gemstones in place anymore. To keep your pieces in good shape, take care when putting on and removing your jewelry, and avoid wearing jewelry during activities that may cause excessive strain.

#7: Improper Storage

Improper storage can cause damage to jewelry. Chains can easily become tangled, and metals and gemstones can get scratched when different jewelry pieces come into contact with each other. To avoid damage, store your jewelry in a jewelry box or pouch, ideally in a soft, cool, and dry space. Invest in a good storage solution for your jewelry so that you don’t have to worry about damages later on. 

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Jewelry Damage

Now that you know some of the most common causes of jewelry damage, here are some everyday tips for preventing damage and keeping your jewelry looking its best:

Clean your jewelry regularly

Cleaning your jewelry regularly can help remove dirt, oils, and other substances that may build up and cause damage over time. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth and warm, soapy water to gently clean your jewelry, taking care not to scrub too hard. Use a gentle dish soap to avoid any unknown chemicals. Then, use a microfiber cloth to dry your jewelry thoroughly to make sure there’s no lingering moisture. 

Remove your jewelry before engaging in physical activity

Removing your jewelry before exercising can help prevent accidental damage and wear and tear. Moisture from sweat can tarnish your jewelry, and depending on the exercise you perform, your jewelry can get snagged on clothing or equipment, or just get in your way. Keep your jewelry in a safe place while you’re being active, and put it back on once you’re finished.

Inspect your jewelry regularly

Regularly inspecting your jewelry can help you identify any issues before they turn into full-fledged damage. Check for loose stones, worn prongs, or other warning signs, and take your jewelry to a professional jeweler if you notice anything that needs repair or adjustment.

Avoid wearing jewelry in harsh environments

If you work in an environment that exposes your jewelry to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures, it's best to avoid wearing your jewelry to work altogether. The same goes for outdoor activities that may expose your jewelry to sand, saltwater, or other abrasive substances. It’s best to save your jewelry for occasions when you know it’ll be safe (or at least less exposed). 

Invest in high-quality jewelry

Investing in high-quality jewelry can pay off in the long run, since it will likely last longer and be more resistant to damage. Look for pieces made from high-quality materials and with strong settings and clasps. 

Take your jewelry off before bed

Taking your jewelry off before bed can help prevent any accidental pulling or twisting, as well as exposure to oils and sweat. Plus, it gives your jewelry a chance to rest and recover from the day's wear and tear. Tuck your jewelry into its safe spot before you tuck yourself into bed.  

Taking care of your jewelry is essential to ensure it lasts for years to come. By following these tips, you can enjoy your jewelry for a lifetime and pass it down to future generations as a cherished heirloom. If accidents happen, don’t worry; our team of expert jewelers at Quick Jewelry Repairs is here to save the day. They can help you reset your gemstones, replace your clasps, or even polish scratched metal, so you’ll be wearing your jewelry again in no time.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments