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What Jewelry to Wear at the Beach

Posted on October 17 2018

what jewelry to wear at the beach

Picture this: You’re getting dressed in the morning at your hotel or beach house. You’re layering up with a swimsuit underneath a beach cover-up. You grab your sunglasses, beach bag and favorite summer beach read, and you’re all ready to hit the sand. The one question on your mind is jewelry. What jewelry should you be wearing to the beach? Should you be wearing any jewelry at all?

We all like to accessorize, and this doesn’t change just because we’re spending the day on the beach. Unlike every other day, a day at the beach carries additional worries when it comes to jewelry. You might worry about losing your jewelry in the sand or the ocean or damaging it. You might wonder if it’s best to swallow your desire for accessories and opt out of jewelry for the day altogether.

Here at Little Switzerland, we think there’s no reason you can’t wear a little sparkle down to the beach. With a bit of caution and the right tricks up your sleeve, you can fearlessly wear your jewelry to the beach and back again. To help you achieve this confidence, we’ve assembled this guide of everything you need to know about what kind of jewelry you should and shouldn’t wear to the beach.

Tips for Wearing Jewelry at the Beach

Wearing jewelry at the beach is certainly possible, and it can be fun to find the perfect pieces to accessorize with your swimwear. However, that doesn’t mean wearing jewelry at the beach is quite as simple as wearing it for a day at work or out shopping. It’s wise to observe a few rules, both for the health and longevity of your jewelry and for your peace of mind.

If you plan on adding some sparkle to your beach day, make an effort to observe these general rules and guidelines.

1. Be Aware of the Hazards

When wearing jewelry on the beach, it’s important to realize that there are plenty of ways your pieces could be damaged. To name a few of the major concerns, you’ll be contending with the following issues.

  • Sand: Sand might seem soft when it’s between your toes, but it has millions of tiny rough grains and stones that can deal a significant amount of damage. Sand can scratch or otherwise wear down your jewelry if it gets caught between your skin and the piece in question.
  • Salt: It’s no secret ocean water is salty, and thus contains chemical compounds that put your jewelry at greater risk than the water that comes out of your tap. Saltwater can tarnish or otherwise stain jewelry, depending on the type of metal it’s made from.
  • Water: Water is risky not so much because of how it can damage your jewelry, but because of how easy it is to lose your jewelry in the water. If a piece slips off while you’re in the ocean, the odds you will find it again are incredibly slim.
  • Sun exposure: While sun exposure is often inevitable no matter where you go, the rays at the beach are particularly strong and can fade the metal or cause your gems to lose their sparkle.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen and jewelry don’t mix well. Unfortunately, skipping sunscreen at the beach is not an option. In rubbing this cream on your skin, you will often accidentally smear it onto your jewelry as well, creating a greasy film that will easily tarnish your jewelry and eat away at the finish. 

hazards for your jewelry at the beach

2. Consider the Loss

When deciding if you want to wear a piece of jewelry to the beach, always ask yourself one crucial question: “How upset would I be if I lost or ruined this piece?” If the answer is “very much,” it’s probably best to leave the piece in your room. While there's no guarantee you will lose your jewelry, it’s always a possibility, and one you can easily avoid by leaving your jewelry in your room altogether.

3. Less Is More

Try sticking with smaller pieces at the beach. The larger the jewelry, the bigger and more apparent the resulting tan lines will be. Additionally, larger jewelry has a greater potential to become tangled in the wind, stuck in your bathing suit or otherwise encumber you.

4. Take It off Before Swimming

If you’re wearing jewelry to relax on the sand, don’t forget to take these pieces off before you go for a swim. Remember, anything you wear into the water is at risk of getting lost. To avoid this, take a second to slip off any rings, earrings or necklaces and tuck them into your beach bag, where they’ll be safe until you get back out.

5. Bring Some Sandwich Bags

Taking off your jewelry while you swim? You’ll want a reliable way to keep it safe in the meantime. Try packing a few plastic sandwich bags in your beach bag, and whenever you slip a piece of jewelry off, tuck it into one of these baggies. This way, it’ll be much more difficult for your jewelry to fall out of your beach bag and into the sand. Additionally, it’ll help protect precious pieces from the sand that will inevitably find its way into your beach bag.

use sandwich bags to store jewelry

6. Keep Sand Away From Your Jewelry

Are you building a sand castle? Take your rings off first. Plan on winning a rousing game of beach volleyball? Consider taking the anklets and toe rings off first. Not only could they get lost in the sand, but the coarse grains are also likely to scratch and damage the delicate metals of your jewelry.

What Jewelry Is Best to Wear at the Beach?

How do you know which piece you should accessorize with at the beach? How can you tell which ones will hold up better against the weather concerns at the beach?

As it turns out, there are a few different factors to think about that will help you determine the answers to these very questions.

1. How Much Is It Worth?

As we mentioned, one of the best ways to determine which jewelry to wear to the beach and which to leave at home is by asking yourself how upset you would be if you lost it. As a basic rule, it’s always best to stick to pieces you aren’t extremely attached to. It's best to leave any pieces with extremely sentimental value at the hotel, as well as any highly valuable pieces. Try fashion jewelry instead.

2. What Type of Metal Is It Made From?

It’s a good idea to be aware of the different metals your jewelry is made out of, as certain metals will hold up better against the strain of a beach day, while others will suffer. Pewter, copper and sterling silver are all likely to tarnish from contact with the high salt content of the water and air at the beach. Better choices are gold and platinum, as these will resist tarnish and staining much more effectively.

metal that will tarnish in high salt content water

3. What Type of Gems Are in It?

Does your jewelry include precious stones? If so, this will affect its beach-hardiness. The rough texture of sand will easily scratch or damage softer stones, while a harder stone will be less affected. Try tough stones like rubies, sapphires and, of course, diamonds. Steer clear of delicate gems like amethyst.

Another option is to skip the gems altogether and instead choose unadorned jewelry. While you’ll still need to be concerned about the metal itself, the absence of a gemstone eliminates one of your worries. Alternatively, you might choose jewelry with simulated gems. These are also likely to be damaged, but as they’re of little monetary value, it matters less.

4. How Well Does It Fit?

Remember that when you’re swimming in the ocean, it’s easy for jewelry to become loose and slide off your body without you even realizing. You might not even notice the piece has disappeared until you’re back at the hotel. To combat this problem, stick to jewelry that fits you well and isn’t overly loose. While this obviously doesn’t apply in the cases of loose necklaces or bracelets, it’s particularly relevant in discussions about rings.

5. Do You Plan on Tanning?

For many people, a large part of their beach day involves stretching out on a towel and letting the sun toast their skin. If this is your plan, you may want to steer away from large jewelry like wrist cuffs and chunky necklaces. As glamorous as they might look with your bathing suit, they’re likely to leave you with some odd-looking tan lines you may not like.

Tips for Caring for Your Jewelry After the Beach

After a long day of fun in the sun, it’s essential to take the proper steps to care for your jewelry. After all, you've submerged it in saltwater, scrubbed it with sand and probably coated it in a big dose of sunscreen. To keep your jewelry looking sparkly and fine, you’ll need to give it a little extra care.

Here are just a few ways you can give your jewelry the TLC it needs to keep shining bright.

1. The Basic Wipe-Down

If you return from the beach and see your jewelry is almost entirely unscathed, you may be able to get away with a basic wipe-down. This technique is also good for situations where you’re in a rush and want to clean your jewelry, but don’t quite have time for the full treatment.

To keep any tarnish or wear from setting in, take a soft, damp cleaning cloth and gently wipe off the surfaces of your jewelry, being sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. This helps ensure any salt, sand or sunscreen that might have gotten stuck to the surface of the metal is wiped clean and won’t continue to corrode the jewelry.

wipe down jewelry

2. The Heavier Cleaning

Really, all jewelry should go through this more intense cleaning process once you return from the beach. Certainly, if your jewelry is visibly sandy or greasy, don’t hesitate to break out the soap and start this cleaning regimen.

Ideally, you’ll wash your jewelry as soon as you can after you get back from the beach, since the longer the contaminants sit on the metal, the more harm they can cause. For your cleaning formula, try mixing up a combination of water and whatever soap you have lying around, such as hand soap or body wash. Strictly avoid heavy-duty cleaning products, as these will only damage the jewelry further.

Wet a soft cloth with your cleaning solution and carefully clean the entire piece of jewelry. Take care to work your cloth around every hinge, facet and surface. Once you’re satisfied you’ve cleaned the entire piece, take a dry cloth and rub the jewelry clean. Let the jewelry sit out in a safe place until it’s dry, then store it in your jewelry box. Avoid packing the jewelry away while it’s still damp, as this can lead to rust.

3. A Professional Cleaning

While it might be a bit excessive to have your jewelry cleaned professionally after every single beach trip, it's impossible to underestimate the importance of professional cleaning. After a full summer of beach trips, consider kicking off your fall with a trip to a jeweler for a professional cleaning.

A professional will be able to use highly specialized cleaning agents and tools to remove tiny sand particles and other contaminants you won’t be able to reach on your own. This process helps eliminate the final traces of beach from your jewelry and ensures they’ll maintain their beauty and sparkle for another year.

professional jewelry cleaning

Even if your jewelry looks unscathed after a trip to the beach, it’s still worth investing in this professional cleaning. Just because you can’t see the sand or salt doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It might be hiding in the cracks or crusted along the surface in particles too small to see. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Rather than risk your jewelry becoming rusted, corroded and discolored, just take your jewelry for a professional cleaning at the end of the season.

Shop Jewelry at Little Switzerland Today

Everybody loves a little summertime sparkle. Whether you’re hopping on a cruise, relaxing at a tropical resort, hanging out by the pool or just relaxing on the beach, you always want to look your best. What better way to do that than with some world-class accessories? If you're looking for just the right pieces to complement your summer look, head to your nearest Little Switzerland location today and shop our selection of luxury jewelry.

We’re excited to have been the Caribbean’s most trusted retailer of watches and fine jewelry for more than 60 years. We stock a vast selection of elegant watches and fine jewelry, and we do it all while offering duty-free pricing and no-interest financing plans. This way, you can pay in whatever way works best for you.

Browse our selection of pieces online and take advantage of our free shipping on orders over $500. Or, if you’re heading down to the Caribbean, stop by and visit one of our locations. If you’re hunting for that perfect piece of jewelry to brighten up your summer vacation, don’t wait. Contact the Little Switzerland personal shopping team to take advantage of our duty-free pricing today.

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