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Does Salt Water Damage Diamonds?

Does Salt Water Damage Diamonds?

Summer is all about relaxation and peaceful afternoons at the beach. You worked hard all year; you deserve to treat yourself to a weekend – or even a whole week – at the beach. 

However, as a diamond jewelry owner, you might be asking yourself: Does salt water damage diamonds?

Saltwater can damage the overall appearance of your diamond by ruining its fine polish. Not only that – but it can harm the metals of your jewelry. 

So, you may be asking now: Are there any other hazards for my diamond jewelry at the beach? Can I protect my diamond jewelry at the beach?

You don’t have to worry. We’ve covered everything you need to know about keeping your jewelry safe at the beach in this article. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Risks Of Wearing Diamond Jewelry To The Beach

First, we’ll cover different types of damage that can happen when you take your diamond jewelry to the beach. By understanding this, you’ll be ready to learn the things you can do to keep your jewelry safe – and the ways you can care for it after.


Unlike water found in rivers, lakes – or even taps at home – the ocean water is salty. While this high salt content isn’t dangerous for all jewelry, it can be catastrophic to others. 

Diamonds fare poorly when exposed to salt, as these ionic compounds can potentially eat away the fine polish that gives diamonds their gorgeous shine and luster.

Additionally, many precious metals don’t react well when exposed to salt, as it creates residue which remains on your jewelry’s surface even after you’ve left the beach. 

This residue then continues to eat away the metal’s surface, which could create ugly tarnish stains and blemishes.


Sand is a coarse, rough, abrasive substance that could scrape away many surfaces – including precious gemstones and metals in your jewelry. That can lead to ugly scratch marks and other types of aesthetic damage. 

Sand even has the potential to break jewelry clasps – along with some other functional pieces of your diamond jewelry. It can wear down the fine finish of many pieces, often causing much more damage than you might think it’s possible.

Learn More: Can Sand Scratch A Diamond?


Apart from high salt content, ocean water could make it very easy for you to lose your diamond jewelry. When you’re splashing around in the waves, the chances of your diamond ring slipping off are pretty high. 

It wouldn’t be a problem to lose your diamond ring at home – or even in a parking lot – as there’s still a relatively good chance of finding it. However, when swimming in the ocean, it’s safe to assume that if you lose any piece of jewelry, it’s lost for good.

Sun Exposure

You might not think that the sun can damage your jewelry. However, sun exposure can lead to discoloration and can also soften adhesives holding pieces of your jewelry together. 

It can lead to fading and loss of shine and sparkle after a while. Certain gemstones can darken or fade if they’re exposed to UV rays for too long.

While this isn’t an issue if you’re walking across the yard or parking lot, spending hours under the intense sunlight at the beach can lead to the damage adding up.

Read Also: How Should A Diamond Look In Sunlight?


Everyone knows the importance of applying sunscreen at the beach. What you might not know is that the chemical formulations of many sunscreens can be damaging to your diamond jewelry. 

While the greasy nature of sunscreen sinks into your skin, it sits on the surface of your jewelry, eroding the surface and leading to tarnishing. 

The oil-based film can lead to your diamond losing its sparkle and looking dull.

Caring For Your Diamond Jewelry At The Beach

With all these possible ways of your jewelry being damaged at the beach, what could you do to keep it safe? There are a lot of ways of keeping your diamond jewelry safe after a long day at the beach. 

Let’s look at some tips to get you started.

Think About What Jewelry You Wear

The best way to care for your diamond jewelry is to – well, leave it at home. There’s no guarantee that your piece of jewelry will be damaged, but there is always a possibility. 

If you want to be on the safe side, it’s best to assume damages could happen as you plan what to wear to the beach.

If you care for a particular piece of jewelry too much, it’s probably best to leave it at home. You could instead wear pieces that you aren’t as attached to – or that aren’t as valuable as actual diamonds. 

If it sustains damage – let alone gets lost – you’ll be glad you didn’t choose to wear your favorite piece.

Take Your Gems Off Before Going Into The Water

After you decide to wear your diamond ring to the beach, consider taking it off and putting it in a secure place before heading into the water. You can keep a sealed storage baggie in your bag and store your diamond ring there before you go for a swim.

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Go Easy On The Sunscreen

An essential part of any beach trip is sunscreen, but it may be best to take it easy with sunscreen when jewelry is involved. Apply your sunscreen on just like you would normally do – but be extra cautious as you get close to your jewelry.

Be sure to avoid rubbing sunscreen directly onto your jewelry. If possible, you can leave a small patch of bare skin around the piece – this might not be that feasible with a necklace, but it’s easily done with rings.

In addition, you can simply remove your diamond jewelry while applying sunscreen. Wait until your skin is no longer greasy before putting your diamond jewelry back on. 

If you’re serious about protecting your diamond jewelry, this option is worth it as it’s more effective.

Try To Keep Sand Off Your Diamond Jewelry

Now, this can be quite tricky to accomplish as sand has ways of getting anywhere and everywhere when you’re at the beach. It gets in your bag, bathing suit – and will find its way underneath your diamond ring and other jewelry, too.

There’s not much diamond owners can do to prevent this – but if you keep your diamond jewelry clear of sand, it can go a long way.

Place a towel between you and the sand if you want to sunbathe. Take your diamond ring off if you plan on building a sandcastle. 

All these little actions can sometimes make a big difference between your diamond jewelry being scratched up or getting away undamaged.

Learn More: Diamond Care: How To Take Care Of Your Diamonds

Diamond Jewelry Care After The Beach

All these are great ways of preventing damage to your diamond jewelry at the beach. However, what would happen if you went to the beach, didn’t take these precautions, and your diamond ring is now covered in saltwater, sunscreen, or sand? 

What should you do if it already sustained damage?

You don’t have to worry. While it’s ideal if your diamond jewelry doesn’t get damaged in the first place, there are still things you can do to clean and care for it after exposure to various beach hazards. 

Here are several tricks you can try out.

Basic Wipe-Down

There are cases where you might come back from the beach and see that you managed to evade your diamond jewelry from being damaged. If your jewelry looks like it’s still in perfect condition, then that’s good news.

However, it’s always recommended to be cautious. It could be the fact that there are contaminants on your diamond jewelry that you just can’t see with the naked eye.

To avoid any damage after the beachwear, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe off jewelry you wore at the beach gently. That will ensure that any sand, salt, and sunscreen residue is whipped off and will help maintain the shine of the gemstones and metals.

Heavier Cleaning

There are times you might come away with your diamond jewelry looking untouched – but there are times you might not be so lucky. 

If you come home from the beach and you feel like your jewelry has been through some “trials,” it might be time to give it some heavy-duty cleaning job.

The best thing you can do after exposure is to wash your jewelry as soon as possible. The longer the salt and sand sit on the metal, the more harm they can do. 

Be sure to clean your gems off as fast as you can. 

To do this, use a combination of water and gentle soap. It can be any kind of soap you have on hand, be it hand soap or dish detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or other cleaning treatments, though.

Be sure to use a soft cloth along with your soap and water concoction. Carefully clean the entire piece of your jewelry, and make sure you don’t neglect any sides. 

Once you’ve made sure it’s completely clean, use another soft cloth to dry your jewelry. It’s crucial that your jewelry is dry before you store it, as the last thing you want is to store your diamond jewelry while it’s still damp.

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Give Special Attention To Leather

Not all jewelry is made of gemstones and metals. If you have any leather bracelets or jewelry that has leather components, those are going to need special treatment. 

It’s worth mentioning that leather should never be wet. 

Accidents can happen, and if your leather jewelry is worse for the wear, there are ways of cleaning it.

You can try cleaning the leather with a slightly wet piece of cloth. Use it to brush off any stains or residue that may have built up during your stay at the beach. 

You can also try out specialized leather cleaners, which are designed to clean contaminants while not harming the leather.

Get Your Diamond Jewelry Cleaned Professionally

Whether or not it’s been to the beach, your jewelry should be cleaned professionally every now and then. 

If you notice that your diamond jewelry is looking a bit worn out after a beach day, and none of the DIY tricks seem to be working, it’s probably time to schedule a professional cleaning.

Even if a beach trip doesn’t seem to have harmed your jewelry, we still advise you to schedule a professional cleaning at the end of summer. Between beach trips, summer lotions, sunscreen, and the sun beating down, summertime can be harmful to your jewelry.

It’s best to play safe and get it cleaned by a professional rather than risking permanent damage. A professional cleaning will help your diamond jewelry last longer and maintain its sparkle even if it isn’t damaged.

Insuring Your Diamond Jewelry

One final advice on how to take care of your diamond jewelry is to have it insured. Even with extra precautions you might take, there’s always a chance it could get stolen or lost. 

Insuring your diamond jewelry can only bring peace of mind that it’s well taken care of if the worst-case scenario happens.

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Bottom Line

Does salt water damage diamonds? If it’s still unclear, let us break it down for you once and for all:

Salt water can potentially damage diamonds by eating away at the fine polish that gives them their unique shine and luster. On top of that, salt can ruin the metals of your jewelry by eating away at their surface, creating ugly tarnish.

Other hazards of bringing your diamond jewelry to the beach are sand, sun exposure, and sunscreen, which can all negatively impact your jewelry’s appearance. 

Additionally, there’s a risk of losing your jewelry in the water, so be sure to remove it before swimming.

We always advise you to clean your diamond jewelry after the day spent on the beach. You can use a soap and water mixture to clean your diamond; gently rub it with a soft cloth afterward. 

In addition, you should visit your jeweler every now and then for professional cleaning of your diamonds.

Finally, if you want to feel safe, we recommend you insure your diamond as it can relieve a financial impact after your diamond has been damaged or even lost or stolen.