How to Keep Jewelry Safe in Winter
It's the cozy season. Frozen landscapes. Hot cocoa and warm fires. Snowball fights. Snuggling under the covers. Whether you find the winter frightful or delightful, staying warm can sometimes make it challenging to stay stylish too. Winter is the season of big boots, fuzzy mittens, funny hats and puffy coats.
But what about some sparkle? Lab grown diamond jewelry is amazingly enduring, just like mined diamonds. Still, winter can be a bit tough on all your jewelry. Many of the things you do to stay warm and enjoy the season also involve risks to your favorite jewelry pieces. But with a little bit of care, it isn’t hard to keep your jewelry looking great and staying safe in the cold. Here are seven essential tips to beat the cold and keep your jewelry sparkling brilliantly, no matter what winter has in store for you.
Rings vs Chilly Weather
You’ve probably noticed that sometimes your rings fit snugly. And other times, it feels like they might fall off at any moment. It’s not your imagination! While fluctuations in finger size can be caused by weight loss or gain, arthritis, pregnancy, or water retention, the weather also makes a difference in how your rings fit.
Our bodies react to temperature changes. When it’s cold outside, your body constricts all its blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the skin in order to keep your body warm. This constriction shrinks your fingers. This is why your rings might feel loose in the wintertime and tight during the summer, when your hands are more likely extra warm and mildly swollen.
Obviously, you don't want to risk losing your engagement ring most of all. People often size their engagement rings to fit their fingers in the summer, so when cold weather hits, the rings become loose and risk slipping off. Making sure your engagement ring fits your finger perfectly is important to make sure you don’t lose it. Try a shake test. Stand over a soft landing zone, like your bed or a sofa, and shake your hands. If your engagement ring slips at all, it might fall off when you are outside in the cold.
If your engagement ring is loose, you might consider investing in a ring guard. There are different kinds of ring guards available. You can stack your ring with a tighter band on the outside to keep it snug on your finger. It’s like a metal hug for your finger. Another type is a plastic guard that fits inside the band to give your ring a tight fit.
While you may be tempted to have your engagement ring sized down, it might not be the best idea. Semi-annual ring resizing isn’t very practical because constant resizing might weaken the metal. When it’s warm again, your fingers will be larger once more. If you’re buying a new ring, remember that it may be tighter when warmer weather returns so when in doubt, size up. If your ring is loose during the hottest part of the summer, you will need to have it resized to make sure it doesn’t fall off when the cold weather comes.
Earrings vs Scarves
Scarves are our favorite winter accessory (except jewelry, of course.) They are somehow simultaneously cozy and chic. But whenever you wrap yourself in a warm scarf, make sure your earrings don’t get entangled.
Earrings are a great way to sparkle in winter since you can see them even when you are bundled up. But earrings and scarves are fatally attracted to one another. Your earrings can easily get caught both when donning or removing scarves. (Especially if you are unwrapping and wrapping your scarf over and over again when entering and leaving stores, cars, and other places.) If your ears are a bit numb from the cold, you may not even feel the earrings being pulled out of your lobes.
The most in danger are dangling earrings like chandeliers with lots of pieces that can snag your scarf. Open hook earrings are the easiest for scarves to pull out. To avoid mishaps, pair your scarf with stud earrings instead. If you are wearing drop earrings without a secure back, a rubber slider for the hook can help keep them more firmly in your ears. If you wear a lot of scarves, consider bezel set lab grown diamond earrings that have no prongs to snag or catch.
Gloves vs Engagement Rings
The biggest jewelry threat in the winter? It fits you like a glove. Gloves and mittens may keep your hands toasty but they can snag on your rings. The prongs that hold the gem of an engagement ring are just the right size to catch on the knit lining and stitching inside your gloves. If your engagement ring is even a little loose, it can slip off with the glove and fall to the ground.
That isn’t the only risk. Over time, the metal of your engagement ring setting can bend slightly, loosening the prongs and making it more likely that your gems will fall out. Be extra careful when removing gloves and mittens and make sure all your rings and stones are in place. You can wear a flexible ring guard to protect your engagement ring under a glove. You can also choose to leave your rings at home when playing in the snow or wear smooth gloves made out of something like leather that won’t catch when you are wearing your rings.
Lotions vs Diamonds
The dry air of winter can be tough on your skin. You probably use a lot more lotion and cream in the winter. That means it’s a good time to remember that you should always remove your jewelry, especially engagement rings and wedding bands, before applying lotion. Diamonds are oleophilic: they attract oils. That means they will build up on your diamonds, dulling their sparkle. Antibacterial hand gels, moisturizers, and oils of any kind can act as a lubricant, enabling rings to easily slip off any time of the year but especially in the winter when your fingers are smaller.
Keep your jewelry shining by cleaning it regularly. You can do it yourself by soaking your pieces in a bown of warm water with a drop of dish soap. Use a soft brush behind the gems where dust can collect. Air dry on a soft cloth. Once your jewelry is dry, keep it safe and clean in a soft-lined jewelry box.
Sweaters vs Jewelry
If you live somewhere cold, you know how much a warm sweater can keep you cozy even on the frostiest morning. But the knitted stitches of your favorite sweater are like little snares waiting to catch your jewelry. Loose knits can easily get caught on necklace clasps or snatch earrings from the lobes. If your ring snags and you don’t notice it, it could slip off and become lost. It’s also possible to damage your jewelry by getting it caught on your sweater, as pulling on the prongs can loosen your gem. If the prongs of your rings are catching on sweaters and other knits, that is usually a sign that prongs are loose and need maintenance. To protect your jewelry, put your sweaters on first, then adorn yourself.
Sports vs Sparkle
Winter sports can be hard on your jewelry. While you are skiing, snowboarding or even shoveling snow the possibility of falling, hitting your hand against a hard surface becomes more of a concern. Skiing, snowboarding, and sledding can put your jewelry at increased risk for chips, breaks and accidental loss. Rings can easily fall off fingers that are numb or have shrunk due to cold temperatures. On or off ski lifts, adjusting your skis or snowboarding gear can risk losing rings that slip off with gloves. When you remove a hat or helmet, an earring can accidentally come with it.
Who doesn’t love a dip in a hot tub after a fun day on the slopes? Keep in mind that the chlorine and other chemicals in pools and hot tubs can react with the metal of your jewelry, weakening it. Take your jewelry off before taking the plunge.
A much less fun winter activity, shoveling snow, can also damage your jewelry. Ice melting products, chemicals, snowblowers, and shovels may scratch the metal on your ring. When taking off gloves, rings can slip off cold fingers and fall into the snow. (Spending hours looking for a lost ring in the snow piles is even less fun than shoveling.) Always remove your jewelry before heading out in the snow and store it someplace safe like a jewelry box.
Flying vs Shining
Jetting off to someplace warm or heading to the mountains, winter can be a great time to travel. If you plan to fly, make sure you wear your jewelry or keep it in your carry-on bag or purse. For longer trips, a travel jewelry case can help you keep your jewelry safe and organized. The basics to look for are a separate area to hold earrings, a way to store your necklaces without tangling and a bracelet bar to slide your bracelets on. This is also a great way to keep your pieces from rubbing against each other and scratching while being transported. Never keep your valuables in a checked bag. When you arrive at your destination, use the safe in your room to store your jewelry. Get in the habit of always double checking the safe before you return home to make sure you don’t leave your jewelry behind.