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How to Buy Durable Jewelry for Your Lifestyle

Written by Annabelle
April 13, 2020

Jewelry is made with a variety of materials and designs, and while it’s nice to purchase something for yourself that doesn’t necessarily mean the item you bought is the best deal for you. Certain types of jewelry require much more care than other pieces, and if you’re not the most delicate person when it comes to jewelry, you’ll find yourself disappointed with a damaged item. Here’s what you need to know about purchasing durable jewelry.

Three Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Jewelry

Whether it’s the style, metal, or stone, these are factors that will affect the durability of your jewelry. If you’re looking to avoid fragile materials, you’ll need to do your research.

Jewelry Styles

Whether it’s a necklace, ring, bracelet, or a pair of earrings, different styles of jewelry have different durability. As a general rule, the thinner the item, the easier it is to break.

In addition to its thickness, you also have to consider its construction. Here’s a quick list of items that are fragile and require extra care:

  • Herringbone Chain: These flat, silky looking chains are incredibly delicate and one snag will ruin them forever. They can’t be repaired without a visual alteration at one area, and are best used for special occasions instead of constant wear.

    chain-repair-herringbone-chain

    This herringbone chain was snagged and torn. Our jeweler “unfolded” the links to the best of his ability.

  • Rope Chain: While rope chains are touted for their durability, this is not true. Hollow rope chains are never the same once they are broken and these items can’t be repaired with the same level of structural integrity. Once they begin to unravel, repairs become a nightmare.

    rope chain soldering

    Rope Chain before repair work

  • Eternity Rings: These beautiful bands with stones all around them are not the best choice for people who constantly bang their hands around. With enough abrasion or impact, settings can be damaged and stones will fall out of the eternity band.

    eternity-ring

    An eternity band with a channel setting.

  • Hollow Hoop Earrings: To reduce costs and weight, a lot of hoop earrings are made to be hollow. While they look great and feel comfortable, a hollow hoop earring can’t be repaired once it’s been dented or crushed. We don’t recommend these earrings for people who like sleeping with their jewelry on.

    durable-jewelry-hollow-gold-hoop-earring

    A hollow earring, dented at one area.

Jewelry Metals

Metals have different properties and durability, so it’s important to choose something that will match your daily life. Here’s a rundown of most jewelry metals, by durability and characteristics.

  • Sterling silver: A soft metal that is affordable and easy to clean and polish, but prone to scratches, bending, and tarnishing over time. 
  • Gold: The higher the karat, the softer the gold. If you like the look of gold but want better durability, opt for 9k or 10k as those alloys are comparatively harder than 14k or 18k. It’s prone to scratching and bending, but doesn’t change color as much in comparison to silver.
  • Platinum: While dense and hefty, platinum scratches very easily and is usually finished to a matte polish to better conceal its texture from hard wear. It does not tarnish and is hypoallergenic.
  • Stainless steel: An incredibly tough, durable, and affordable metal that is excellent for people who are very hard wearing with their jewelry. It does not tarnish or bend.
  • Tungsten: A tough material that cannot be polished or sized. While it is durable, it can crack or shatter if dropped on the floor or subject to hard impact.

Jewelry Stones

Stones have varying levels of hardness and durability, and certain gems are more fragile than others. While you might be enamored with a particular jewel, keep in mind that they may need more care and cannot be worn carelessly. 

colored-gemstone-jewelry-coral

This coral and opal ring was sent in for resizing.

  • Opals: Opals don’t react well to heat, water, or abrasion. Banging one around or subjecting it to work-related hazards or cooking would destroy the stone fairly quickly.
  • Pearls: These organic gems are extremely easy to scratch, and once that’s done the pearl is irreparable. 
  • Coral: Coral loses its color if dunked in anything like alcohol, bleach, or other strong household cleaners. It also reacts poorly to heat and will burn.

To clarify, these items can still be purchased as long as you remember that they need to be properly taken care of in order to maintain their condition. Opal rings and pearl necklaces are classics that can be worn on special occasions, and you can opt for more durable alternatives like a stainless steel alternative wedding band for everyday work. 

Now you’re up to date on how to buy durable jewelry for your lifestyle! Comment below if you need advice on your next purchase and we’ll be happy to help you out. 

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