We tend to wear the best set of jewelry to go with our outfit and spray some perfume right before stepping out for an important event. But is it a good idea to follow this order? No! It is not.
Perfumes can damage jewelry, especially when they are sprayed directly on it. Perfumes contain solvents other chemicals that form the scent. Sometimes, colored dies are also added to perfumes. Most of these perfume components react with metal. Continual exposure to perfumes tends to damage jewelry, resulting in discoloration and loss of appeal. Some perfumes can be very strong and leave a permanent mark on jewelry. If you must use perfumes, opt for fragrance free perfumes as these tend to be safer. A fortnightly or monthly cleaning at home does wonders to the life of your jewelry.
Let’s begin with understanding what are the key constituents of a perfume. All perfumes are composed of dyes, fragrance, and solvents. Solvents are a key component of perfumes. They are about 60-90% of the perfume. Solvents keep the fragrances together. Without solvents, these fragrances would be separated and won’t give off the desired fragrance. Solvents are either oil based or alcohol based. Wax and butters of natural origin also do the job. On top of these, fragrances are added. Unfortunately, most of these either react with metals or accumulate on the surface, making it dull and dirty. However, each metal reacts differently with perfumes.
Let us now look at how different metals and gemstones are impacted by perfume.
Are all metals prone to damage if exposed to perfumes?
Yes, all metals are prone to damage on direct exposure to perfumes. Some metals are more prone than others. The extent of damage and the amount of exposure required to cause it may vary among metals. Platinum being one of the least reactive metals is also damaged by perfume. The extent of damage in this case is generally dullness. Same is the case for Gold. More reactive metals like iron, nickel and copper can discolor and show signs of rust deposit on the surface when they come in contact with perfumes.
The color dyes, synthetic oils and chemicals present in the fragrances are responsible for dulling the shine or even damaging the jewelry.
Is perfume bad for gold jewelry?
Yes, perfume is not good as it reacts with gold jewelry. While perfumes do not react directly with pure gold, they can corrode metal alloys that make gold ornaments. Pure gold is normally inert.
Gold does not have the strength to hold intricate jewelry designs as it is a highly malleable metal. This is why most gold jewelry includes some amounts of metals like silver, copper, zinc, etc., to ensure the jewelry does not break easily. These alloy metals react with synthetic chemicals present in perfumes, directly impacting the appearance of your precious jewelry.
Following could be the damage that perfumes may cause:
- visible patches of rust.
Does perfume damage white gold?
Yes, it does. White gold comprises of 25 percent of nickel and zinc that give it it’s color. Zinc is fairly reactive and reacts with oxygen, non-acids and dilute acids. Nickel is not as reactive, but it does react with sweat and cosmetics like perfumes and body lotions.
These two metals make white gold particularly sensitive to oils, chemicals, and other sources of moisture. Jewelry may get discolored and lose it’s appeal if brought in contact with these substance. Hence, it is advisable to wear them about 10 minutes of applying perfumes and make up. Also, store them in a dry, moisture-free space to prevent tarnishing.
Does perfume affect silver?
Yes! Any kind of moisture is silver’s enemy. Silver can tarnish badly by coming in contact with perfumes, moisturizers, lotions and even your sweat! Since silver is a metal known to oxidize quickly, it tends to turn green or metallic black over time. Direct contact with gases present in the air and exposure to the chemicals in your perfumes will ruin the silver jewelry you possess. Taking proper care of your silver jewelry can ensure long life without tarnishing.
Does perfume ruin sterling silver?
Yes, perfume can turn sterling silver green! Even though sterling silver does not get oxidized as easily as silver, it comprises copper (this is why the green color when it gets damaged). When this copper comes in direct contact with the chemicals and moisture in a perfume, it turns green. In the beginning, the damage may only make your jewelry look less shiny or dull. If exposed to fragrances too often, your sterling silver jewelry will turn greenish, eventually turning it dull.
Also, avoid spraying perfumes directly on alloys like sterling silver as it can damage the jewelry to a great extent.
Can you wear perfume with pearls?
No, perfume and pearls do not go hand in hand. When compared to gold and silver, pearls are the most susceptible to damage when exposed to the chemicals in perfume. Moreover, the moisture and oils present in perfumes can cause discoloration of pearls, further resulting in loss of texture and shine. Hence, it is advisable to wear pearls after a substantial time gap of applying perfume. Also, to avoid damage, clean your pearls with a moist muslin cloth before you store your pearls safely.
To know more on wear and care of peals, you may want to check out our detailed article on the same here.
Does perfume affect diamonds?
It might surprise you, but yes! Despite being one of the hardest natural substances, diamonds do get affected by perfumes. The essential oils present in perfumes are the major contributing factor that leads to the yellowing of diamonds. The build-up of these oils leads to accumulation of dirt on the stone. This makes them look yellow and they start to lose their appeal.
In the beginning, this can be cleaned by a soft bristled brush, and a regular soap and water solution. However, prolonged exposure may intensify the damage and the diamonds may start to lose their value in addition to the shine.
Can you spray perfume on gemstones?
No! We would advise you not to spray perfume on your gemstones as gemstones are quite vulnerable to acids and moisture. While precious gemstones like diamonds, sapphires and rubies are less prone to damage, some gemstones can fade instantly after coming in contact with perfumes. Turquoise, opal, aquamarine and amber are some gemstones that show signs of damage much earlier. Even the precious gemstones may be impacted with continuous use of perfume around them. Eventually, they may discolor completely.
Therefore you must apply your perfumes and colognes about 15-20 before putting on any gemstone jewelry. If it is not possible to wait for this long, make sure there is some time gap between the two activities.
Does perfume affect artificial jewelry?
Yes, whether it is real or artificial, perfume damages both kinds of jewelry. In the case of artificial jewelry, the damage normally is permanent and beyond repair. That is because of the poor quality of metals used in the making of imitation jewelry. Majority of cosmetic jewelry makes use of nickel, brass, copper, iron and aluminum. Most of these metals react with moisture and other chemicals in the perfume and develop rust. So, it is advisable to apply your perfume several minutes before you put on your jewelry.
Are organic fragrances safe for jewelry?
Not always. While some organic oils can be good for your precious metal (limited exposure), some natural oils can damage precious jewelry. The synthetic oils and chemicals are enough to dull the brilliance of your jewelry over time. Even organic perfumes have the same destructive effect on artificial jewelry. Most organic fragrances are oil based. Accumulation of oil on the jewelry may lead to accumulation of dirt and grime on it. It can make your jewelry look dull and lifeless. Cleaning it is possible and easy initially. However, with extended exposure, the affect may worsen.
You can opt for fragrance free products. In this case, you need to check the remaining ingredients of your product online to find out if they have a damaging effect on the metals contained in your jewelry. Also, avoid using organic fragrances altogether if your jewelry has precious or semi precious gemstones.
How do you get perfume smell out of jewelry?
Prolonged exposure may cause the odor of perfume to be present in your jewelry. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to get rid of this odor and make it smell brand-new (or not smell at all!). The first three methods are the safest among the below points. If these don’t work, you may try the others:
- Warm water cleanse: The first thing you need to try is warm water. Dip your jewelry in warm water for some time and use a very soft bristled brush to clean it. It should help in getting rid of odor to some extent. Works well if the odor accumulation is not very old.
- Exposure to sun: Yes, we know, prolonged exposure can damage your jewelry. We do not have to expose our jewelry for a long time. Just wash your jewelry with warm water like in the above step. Next, keep it in sun in a well ventilated space for 10-15 minutes. IT helps get rid of the smell.
- Jewelry cleaning cloth: Using a jewelry cleaning cloth is the next safest way to get rid of the jewelry odor. This method might not be as effective but will surely brighten your jewelry.
- Gentle jewelry cleaner: Get your hands on a gentle jewelry cleaning solution from any nearby drug store. It works wonders if you are running out of time. Remove the lid and apply the solution to your jewelry.
- Dish detergent and lemon juice: To a glass of water, add one teaspoon of dish detergent and three teaspoons of lemon juice. Submerge your jewelry into this solution for 5-8 hours. After that, rinse it and dry it.
- Hot water and white vinegar: Prepare a mixture of three parts water and one part vinegar. Soak your jewelry in this solution for 12-24 hours. After that, dry it with a towel.
- Hot water and baking soda: Prepare a solution of five parts water and one part baking soda. Soak your jewelry in this mixture for 8-12 hours. Pat dry with a towel after the process.
- Toothpaste: This works best for silver jewelry. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto an old toothbrush and gently rub the bristles over the jewelry. After a good five to ten minutes of scrubbing, rinse it off using water and dry it with a towel.
When should you remove your jewelry?
Jewelry is quite prone to damage and discoloration. It is important to know when to take your jewelry off. So, follow some simple measures to keep your jewelry in the best condition.
- Before taking a bath: Before you take a bath, you must remove your jewelry and put it on only after you are completely ready to step out. This is because the chemicals in your shampoos and soaps can slowly damage jewelry. When you apply lotions, oils and other products on your skin, your jewelry gets exposed to them. Once you are completely ready and have applied perfume, then we can wear it. Jewelry should be the last thing you wear before stepping out.
- On returning home: Even better than removing it before you take a bath, you can remove it when you enter your home. This would protect delicate jewelry items from getting bent or scratched when you do your chores. It would also protect against from exposure to any night time lotions and overnight creams you apply before you sleep.
- Before swimming: Take off your jewelry before you go swimming. Saltwater and chlorine will not do your jewelry any good.
- In direct sunlight: Make sure you remove your jewelry before exposing it to direct sunlight, as that can have detrimental effects.
- Before applying sunscreen or lotion: Lotion and sunscreen can make your jewelry dull and dingy. Always let the lotion settle in before you put on jewelry.
- Before cleaning: You may use many different chemicals when cleaning your kitchen or home. Your jewelry may get damaged on exposure to them.
- Before exercising: We perform various movements while exercising. These might cause your jewelry to bump into something and lead to an impact on the jewelry. While small sized jewelry is normally safe in this regard, big chunky jewelry is at significant risk. Also, while exercising, sweat comes into play. It can also slowly damage your jewelry.
- Before playing in the sand: Dirt and rocks can be abrasive for your jewelry, making it vulnerable to scratching or losing its sheen.
- Gardening: Gardening includes vigorous movements of hands. It also includes use of gardening tools that are generally made from strong metals. It also exposes jewelry to dirt and grime. Thus, it makes complete sense to remove your jewelry before gardening.
- On first sign of damage: If you see any sign of damage in your jewelry, remove it. Do not wear it again until you consult a professional regarding the same.
How to take care of your jewelry?
A lot of factors work together in keeping your jewelry in pristine condition. Follow the measures listed below to ensure your jewelry remains in good condition.
- Regular cleaning: It is essential to clean your jewelry regularly as your body sweat and other day to day cosmetics can dull the sheen of your jewelry items. Dirt may also be accumulating on the item. You can use a soft toothbrush and warm water for the same.
- Know the trouble makers: Knowing what might damage your jewelry is the first step in protecting it against damage. Since different jewelry items have different things that can damage them, it is imperative to know what damages the metal and stones that you are wearing.
- Be cautious: Once we are aware of what can damage our jewelry, we must be cautious while wearing it. E.g., we must avoid wearing our jewelry to the beach as both sand and sea water can deteriorate it’s condition.
- Proper storage: Store your jewelry pieces separately in different compartments to avoid scratching. Keep these in a dry and clean space. Different items may have specific storage requirements, e.g. silver is normally stored with anti-tarnish slips. Store them accordingly.
- Look out for warning signs: Watch out for red flags and warning signs of vulnerability in your jewelry. You must take not of signs of dullness, if there is a crack in the jewelry, if the stones are becoming lose or in case you see a spot or the first sign of tarnish on it. Early identification helps in limiting damage and allows you to fix it on time.
- Visit your jeweler: Pay regular visits to your jeweler for any missing pieces of stones or deep cleansing of your jewelry.
- Jewelry insurance: Based on your specific jewelry insurance, you may not have to pay for the damages to your jewelry in addition to other incidents like theft.
As we have seen, perfume is not great for most types of jewelries. Therefore, be it a costly valuable jewelry, or your artificial jewelry, it should be the last accessory you put on before stepping out. It should also be the first thing you take off when you return home. Do not ignore the early sign of damage. Always visit a professional jeweler and get your jewelry inspected if you are ever in doubt.
Your jewelry adds significantly to your charm, so take care of it!