Moissanite is a durable stone that resists scratching, but how does it hold up to water? Whether you’re jumping in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, playing in the ocean, taking a shower, or caught in a rainstorm, your ring is likely to occasionally come in contact with water. But is all that exposure safe?
Can Moissanite get wet? Water itself won’t harm Moissanite, however, the chemicals and elements in the water could affect the stone in various ways. Most of these impacts would be minor and temporary. Water that’s high in dissolved minerals could leave hard water spots that could dull sparkle, until cleaned, for example.
Water is often referred to as the ‘universal solvent’, in fact, it might just be the most destructive force on earth. Think about it, over time, water dissolved enough rock bit-by-bit, to form the Grand Canyon! In this article, I’ll help you understand where water can potentially damage your Moissanite ring.
Do People Really Remove Their Rings?
I wanted to find out how often rings are taken off before showering, swimming, or hot tubbing, so I polled over 102 women to find out. The results turned out a little different than I would have expected.
I found that 57% never remove their rings to shower. The remaining 43% do. I wanted to know more, so I asked WHY ring were, or weren’t, being removed. Many of those that remove their rings mentioned that they were concerned about damage to their rings from hard water, Chlorine, or soaps. Many others remove their ring primarily because they find it more comfortable, or because it gets caught or tangled in their hair as they wash it.
I found that there’s a close correlation between removing rings to shower and removing rings for things like handwashing and swimming. It seems that people are typically on one extreme or the other—taking precaution by removing rings frequently for activities where they might be harmed or never removing them.
The people that don’t remove their rings when they shower typically gave the following reasons:
- Concern that the ring might slip down the drain if removed while in the shower
- Afraid they’ll forget to put the ring back on before leaving the house
- They don’t believe that showering can harm their ring
- They’re afraid they’ll lose the ring
Many of those that don’t remove their ring can’t visibly see any damage, so they feel certain that their ring isn’t being harmed. If they’ve worn their ring in the shower for many years, they feel even more certain that it isn’t causing damage.
A few of those that now take their ring off for showers are converts to the practice that never used to remove their ring—until they had a problem that convinced them it’s a better practice.
To get another point of view, I also sought the opinion of professional jewelers (six in total). I found consensus from that group. In fact, 100% of those jewelers felt certain that rings should be removed before doing things like showering, or swimming. They’ve witnessed damage first hand (something you can typically only see with training and a powerful microscope). They’ve also had to repair prongs, replace lost gems, and clean many stones that have convinced them that removing rings before interacting with water in these ways is best.
Activity & Water Movement Could Loosen Your Moissanite
Imagine getting out of the pool, looking at your ring, and seeing an empty setting. You suddenly realize that your Moissanite stone is lost somewhere in the pool. As you walk the perimeter of the pool scanning the bottom for any sight of your stone, you realize just how hard it is to see a small, colorless stone in a pool full of water!
Sounds scary, right? It’s scary how often this situation plays out around the world every day!
As you swim, splash, and play in water, the rapid movement of the water past the ring, combined with occasional bumps into other people or objects, could lead to your stone coming loose—maybe even getting lost. In addition to the risk of having your stone dislodged from the setting, you could certainly have the whole ring slip off in the water too. Have you ever noticed that the diameter of your fingers tends to shrink up after soaking in a pool for a while? That could spell disaster for your ring—since it’s more likely to slip off your, temporarily smaller, fingers.
I know several people from Hawaii. They tell me that divers find lots of expensive rings that have slipped off fingers and instantly been carried off by the tide.
How Water Temperature Can Cause You to Lose Your Ring
Have you ever forced yourself into a painfully cold pool? I have. With movement, you will eventually get used to the water temperature. Your body does react to the temperature though. The diameter of your fingers often shrinks while you’re in the cold water. That can make it easier for the ring to accidentally slip off, unnoticed as you move about.
In a hot tub, your ring setting can expand in reaction to the hot water, again, making it easier for your ring to slip off and get left behind.
Mineral Deposits From Hard Water on Your Moissanite
Dissolved minerals in water often leave a thin film that forms a spot as the water dries. Repeated exposure to water that has a lot of dissolved mineral in it can cause these deposits to layer over time. You’ve probably noticed water fountains that have white or green chalky looking stuff around the hole that water shoots out of—that’s a mineral deposit that’s evidence of hard water. Hard water is extremely common. The water that you shower in and wash your hands with, will often be laden with dissolved minerals that can leave a residue.
Any mineral deposit, or hard water spots, that are left on the surface of your Moissanite stone can impact the way light enters and travels through the stone. Over time, those deposits can start to dull the appearance of the stone. As build up happens, you may notice that your stone doesn’t sparkle as much as it used to. This also might be something you don’t notice at all until you clean your ring. After the cleaning, the Moissanite may be shockingly clear and sparkly. It’s sometimes only then that you realize just how buildup was impacting it.
The Impact of Soaps and Lotions on Your Moissanite
Removing your rings for showering and handwashing isn’t just about limiting exposure to hard water. Soaps, conditioners, and lotions can all leave a film on your ring that often leaves it looking dull and lifeless over time. Here again, the impact isn’t instant. If you don’t remove your rings for these activities, you probably won’t notice any impact the first few times—In fact, the buildup process is often very gradual.
Some people also experience a rainbow effect, like an oil slick, that can come as the result of hard water or oils from soaps and lotions. All these problems can typically be addressed and corrected by a good cleaning, but precautions are often the better strategy.
Chlorine is a Chemical That Can Cause Issues
Chlorine is a chemical that causes a reaction with some materials commonly used for rings. It’s also very commonly used in water treatment and many household cleaners. Chlorine is added to the city drinking water to kill the little bugs that can make us sick. It serves the same purpose in most swimming pools and hot tubs.
I wouldn’t want to expose my Moissanite ring to heavily chlorinated water (better safe than sorry), but the main concern isn’t for the stone—it’s for the metal that the setting is made of. Diamond and Moissanite seem to not be directly impacted by Chlorine, however, many metals are. In fact, the metal that’s probably the most Chlorine sensitive of the commonly used materials is gold.
Gold used in jewelry is actually a mix of metals. For example, 18K gold contains about 75% gold and 25% metal allow. That alloy could contain a mix of metals like copper, nickel, zinc, or silver. Copper is an example of a metal that has a major reaction to Chlorine. If your gold ring has copper in it, then that portion of the alloy might be severely impacted, weakening the structure of the setting—even if that damage isn’t visible on the surface.
Chlorine affects gold most at its joints. Those pieces, like prongs, that are soldered onto the main body of the ring become weak and compromised with continued time and exposure. Eventually, prongs begin to break. Unfortunately, when a prong breaks, the stone that it helps to hold in place and easily slip out and get lost.
If you go swimming with your gold ring on, you won’t be able to visibly see the damage. It’s not superficial damage—it’s structural. In most cases, you won’t be able to see any visible evidence of the damage until the problem is incredibly advanced. You’ll probably have prongs break before you visibly notice erosion or some other indication of the destruction that’s taking place.
Sometimes damage done by regular, and prolonged, exposure to certain destructive elements in water can lead to prong failure at a later time. A friend of mine once found a diamond lying in the middle of a terminal floor as he was changing planes. There are many reasons that the setting could have failed as someone hurried through an airport terminal, but exposure damage from some of the elements discussed below could certainly be a real contributing factor.
It’s a really good idea to remove your ring before getting in a swimming pool if you can. That’s especially true if your setting is made of gold, but even if it’s not, your ring is certainly safer outside of Chlorine. Those that don’t want to remove their ring to swim should probably consider Platinum. While Platinum is a rather expensive option, it’s a durable metal that shouldn’t be affected by Chlorine exposure.
The Impact of Salt on Your Moissanite
Some swimming pools use Salt instead of Chlorine to keep the water safe for swimmers. Saltwater can be hard on many jewelry pieces too. Like Chlorine, saltwater can weaken the joints where soldering has been done. It can be hard on Copper and other alloy components that are mixed with gold for jewelry applications. The lower the grade of gold, the higher the percentage of the ring that is comprised of alloys. Because of that, lower-quality gold is often more susceptible.
Because the process is gradual, and the impact isn’t typically visible, you may think your ring isn’t being negatively impacted by the water, until you have prongs fail and lose your stone. It’s best to exercise caution by removing your ring before playing or relaxing in saltwater.
The Extra Vulnerability of Rose Gold, White Gold, & Other Plated Rings
Not all gold reacts to Chlorine and salt the same. Rose Gold is extremely popular. Many people love the copper-like tone. Rose gold actually has a lot more copper in it than other forms of gold. Because of that, it’s going to be even more vulnerable to elements like Chlorine and salt than yellow gold.
White Gold is typically Rhodium plated. Platings can wear through over time. How long they ultimately last really depends on what they’re plated with, how many layers of plating they received, and the thickness of each coating. Exposure to chlorine, salt, and various chemicals, can wear through plating, causing you to have to re-plate sooner.
My wife wore a plated ring that I bought to have her test. She wore it all day, every day. She wore it when showering, swimming, and washing hands. The plating on the ring was worn away all around the ring in just 30 days! I was actually shocked by how terrible it looked. The ring was apparently Rhodium plated. It looked really nice when it was new, apparently the coating was very thin. This just illustrates how vulnerable plated rings can be though. Even if you have thicker plating, I would strongly suggest that you remove your ring before cleaning, showering, or wading into a pool or hot tub to avoid the possibility of the rapid breakdown that we saw.
Drying and Cleaning Your Moissanite Ring Well
There are times that we just can’t keep our ring dry. You may forget that you’re wearing your ring and initially wear it into a pool, for example. When you catch yourself in a situation like this, you may want to take the following steps to avoid/minimize damage.
- Rinse your rings well under warm tap water.
- Dab it as dry as you can with a soft towel or paper towel
- If you have access to a hand dryer machine or a hairdryer, use it fully dry to ring
Those simple steps will help in the short term, but once you get home and have an opportunity, you’ll want to do a more complete cleaning. That cleaning could take any of the following forms.
- Toothbrush Method: Fill a small bowl with warm water (tap water is fine). Get a soft-baby toothbrush (you should be able to pick one up from a dollar store). Use a mild dish detergent, like Dawn, and the toothbrush to gently remove any kind of built-up oils or dirt from the surface of the stone and setting. Rinse thoroughly when done, then dry the ring carefully using a hairdryer on a ‘cool’ setting, or by dab drying with a clean and soft towel.
- Ultrasonic Cleaner: These machines take most of the time and effort out of cleaning your ring. This is the type of cleaning mechanism that many jewelers use. The cost of home units is now REALLY affordable. Amazon offers This really great Ultrasonic Cleaner for home use. They have a really great price on it. These machines are so convenient and do a fantastic job.
To keep your ring looking its best, I’d suggest that you clean it about once a month. This is where Ultrasonic cleaners are really convenient. You don’t have to sit down to soak and scrub your ring. Like you would with a dishwasher, you would just open it, fill it, run it, and then check back to remove your newly cleaned jewelry items once it’s done.
If you decide to wash your ring by hand, be careful not to use abrasive cleaners, any cleaners that might contain harsh chemicals, or cleaning agents that could leave a film or residue. It’s a good idea to be cautious with the way you handle and care for your Moissanite, but you also have to be careful not to damage your setting. The setting is generally much softer and more vulnerable to scratching and other damage.
When manually washing your ring, it’s also important that you only use a soft-bristled toothbrush and that you scrub lightly. Especially if you allow the ring to soak for a minute or two before you start to clean it, you shouldn’t need to apply much pressure in order to clean well. Some other types of brushes used cleaning vegetables or general household cleaning often have very stiff bristles that are less giving and gentle. Stiff bristled brushes don’t clean more effectively anyway when it comes to rings, and they’re potentially destructive. Again, it’s the setting that’s most vulnerable,
Finally, it’s best to use lukewarm water for manual cleaning. Extreme temperature can sometimes affect a ring. Moissanite is incredibly heat resistant, but your setting might not be. Scaling water would certainly loosen gunk buildup, but it could also burn your hands, and isn’t very gentle for your ring.
In reality, the gems and stones used in engagement rings, wedding rings, or promise rings will develop a film, over time, that dulls them if they’re worn in the pool, shower, while cleaning, doing dishes, etc. Some stones will show the effects of that build up faster than others. White Sapphire gets dull and lifeless quickly as it collects buildup. Diamond and Moissanite, on the other hand, are so refractive and reflective, that they can look good longer in between cleanings. While they continue to sparkle, their appearance still becomes more muted as dirt and oils collect.
Swimming, showering, or hot tubbing with your Moissanite ring on once or twice probably won’t present any major threat to your ring, but long term exposure will take a toll. Professionals with a powerful microscope can see what someone examining a ring with their naked eye can’t—a damaged setting begins to look porous.
If you decide, like my wife has, that taking off the ring is difficult, dangerous, or inconvenient, then please consider getting a good insurance policy to cover your ring. That will help put your mind at ease regarding loss or damage. If a prong breaks and you lose your stone, you’ll get a check from your insurance company to replace or repair your ring. If you aren’t very familiar with the process of getting quality jewelry coverage, check out the post that I wrote about insuring your special rings.
If your reason for not wanting to remove your ring is that you just feel you should ALWAYS have your wedding ring on 24/7 (no matter what), I’d suggest that you get an inexpensive ring that you can wear when you’re playing, working, or traveling without fear of damage. Your alternate ring can still look nice, be comfortable, and act as a reminder of your commitment to your partner. You can get a really nice Cubic Zirconia ring, for example, for less than $100. We have a page that will direct you to some of our favorite inexpensive of CZ rings.
For all the reasons mentioned above, I strongly recommend that you remove your ring before you spend any significant time in water washing, soaking, swimming, or playing—or that you insure your ring well and get familiar with the exclusions (the things the policy WON’T pay for) outlined your policy.
If you’re considering Moissanite for your engagement ring, or wedding ring, and want to explore options from our very favorite manufacturer click here. They make some really beautiful rings! It’s honestly the best quality in the industry, and they’re sold at frugal prices, that can save you a bundle over the cost of diamonds.