Is Sterling Silver Waterproof?

Is Sterling Silver Waterproof?

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Summertime means soaking up the sun on a sandy beach and cooling off in the ocean water. If you have sterling silver jewelry that you wear a lot, you may be wondering if you can still wear it whenever you are swimming. 

Is sterling silver waterproof and can you wear it in water?

If what you mean by waterproof is can it be worn in water, then yes. Water doesn’t damage sterling silver. But, sterling silver jewelry can start to oxidize faster when doing activities that involve water.

So, you can wear sterling silver jewelry in water, but only if you are certain that the jewelry is sterling silver. Just regular clean water doesn’t damage sterling silver in any way, but other types of water can. 

Sterling silver can be worn when doing water activities, but you should know that this will cause it to oxidize faster. Oxidation is when the color of the metal will dull and darken. This is also called tarnishing. It happens when certain metals are exposed to elements, one of those being water. 

Silver won’t tarnish  but it is very soft and can be easily damaged when it is pure. Sterling silver isn’t 100 percent pure silver. It has added alloy metal in it to make it stronger and more durable for everyday wear. 

These metals that are added to make sterling silver are susceptible to tarnishing whenever they are exposed to certain elements, especially chemicals. So, whenever you wear sterling silver jewelry in water, it can cause it to oxidize faster than it would if you were to take it off before. 

The type of water you are immersing the jewelry in also has an impact on how much the sterling silver jewelry will end up tarnishing. So, to keep your sterling silver jewelry in good condition, avoid wearing it in chemically treated water (such as pool water) or salt water.

To see the most popular pieces of sterling silver jewelry just click here. 

Sterling Silver Diamond Accent Love Knot Pendant Necklace , 18"

Does Sterling Silver Rust?

Sterling silver isn’t just used for jewelry, but it is also used to make other objects that can be made out of it too such as silverware. It is a shiny metal that is also durable for everyday use. 

We mentioned that sterling silver can be put into clean water, but does it rust?

Sterling silver doesn’t rust but if it is exposed to certain elements or chemicals, it could tarnish. This will change the color of the sterling silver to be dull and lackluster. So, sterling silver doesn’t rust, but it can oxidize and tarnish,

Let’s talk about different kinds of water and how they affect sterling silver jewelry.

  • Shower water: It is usually fine to wear sterling silver jewelry in the shower because  there aren’t any harsh chemicals in tap water that could react with the metal in jewelry. Soap and water can help to clean any residue that could cause the sterling silver to become dull and discolored.
  • Pool water: You shouldn’t wear sterling silver in a swimming pool. They are usually treated with chlorine and it reacts with sterling silver and can tarnish it. It depends on how much chlorine is in the pool, but if you are wearing your sterling silver jewelry while swimming, you will have to clean it often.
  • Hot tubs: You shouldn’t wear sterling silver in a hot tub. There is a lot of chlorine in hot tubs and its hot temperatures can speed up chemical reactions. If you want to keep your jewelry in good condition, it is a good idea to remove it before sitting in a hot tub. You will probably notice a definite color change afterwards and it will need a lot of cleaning.
  • Salt water: Salt is very corrosive and can leave residue on jewelry which will then have to be cleaned off. You should try to take sterling silver jewelry off before going swimming in the ocean or in any salt water. If you forget, don’t worry, just rinse and dry it off well with some clean water after you are done swimming. 

As a side note, you may want to avoid silver allergy while swimming in the ocean because of another reason. And it has to do with sharks. Silver jewelry can be shiny and flashy and look like tiny fish scales attracting sharks which is not something you want when you are swimming inthe ocean.

  • Hot springs: You cannot wear sterling silver jewelry in a hot spring because these contain a lot of different minerals. One is sulfur. Sulfuric acid is used to intentionally oxidize silver jewelry so if you get this on your sterling silver jewelry it will change its color drastically. 

It is not recommended to wear any silver jewelry in a hot spring.

  • Doing the dishes: If you have a sterling silver ring, doing dishes with it on won’t damage it. But, you should be careful when handling sharp objects or scrubbing since you won’t want to scratch it. Soap and water won’t damage the ring and since the dishwater doesn’t contain any chemicals, it is fine to wear while doing dishes. 

But, if the ring is special to you, you may want to take it off before as it can be easy for the ring to slip off your finger and down the drain.

Now, you may be wondering why I said sterling silver is waterproof, or able to be worn in water and all of this sounds like it shouldn’t be. Well, this is correct. Water itself does not damage sterling silver but what’s in the water can. 

Chemicals of salt in water can corrode the jewelry leaving it less lustrous than before. If you accidentally wear sterling silver jewelry in water, it’s okay. Just be sure to clean it properly afterwards.

Sterling silver’s color will change over time and depending on how often you wear it in water and what chemicals are in the water depends on how quickly it will tarnish. You can wear your silver jewelry in water, but avoid water with chemicals or salt and be sure to clean your jewelry regularly. 

If you are going swimming at the beach, then the best thing to do is safely store it in a dry place. You can always put it back on after you are finished swimming. Sterling silver doesn’t rust but it can be affected by certain types of water.

Sterling Silver Filigree Teardrop Earrings

Final Thoughts

Sterling silver is used for a lot of jewelry since it is durable and shiny. It can be worn in water and be just fine. However, this depends on the type of water you are wearing the jewelry in. 

If the water contains chemicals or salt, then this could tarnish the sterling silver casing it to lose its luster. To keep your jewelry shiny and beautiful, avoid wearing it in pool water, hot tubs, the ocean, or hot springs. 

Although sterling silver is “waterproof” it is not “chemical-proof” or “salt-proof”.

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