Jewelry is meant to be enjoyed, but a few gemstones may be better sported in the grandstands. Knowledge is power in keeping your pieces looking their best, avoiding damage and (gasp) loss of gemstones.
Before AND after playing sports, check the settings of the stones. Repeated shock (hitting a tennis ball) or continued rhythmic vibrations (riding a bike) can loosen settings over time.
Here is a quick skinny:
Emerald is in the hard range at 7.5 - 8 on the Mohs Scale, but it is a brittle crystal! Inclusions are common and completely acceptable (and celebrated by this girl). Highly fractured stones, particularly those with fractures on the corners, are more susceptible to damage from accidental bumps. Contact with chemicals (i.e. chlorine and household cleaners) can harm enhancements or oiling that emeralds may have.
This Colombian emerald is from Nash James Jewels.
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Pearl is a 2.5 - 3 on the Mohs Scale and is VERY soft. Pearls are an organic material and easily scratched or abraded. “Pearls want to be worn”, as wearing them prevents dehydration! However, immersing pearls strung with silk thread in water (or sweat) can weaken the strength of the silk over time.
Beyond durability, Chris Evert's broken tennis bracelet of diamonds and gold at the 1978 US Open is a very different outcome than a broken string of pearls!
This Australian South Sea pearl is from Eliko Pearl.
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Opal is a 5.5 - 6.5 on the Mohs Scale, meaning it is more prone to damage from contact with hard surfaces. Opal is hydrated silica - containing up to 15% water. When it loses moisture, it can “craze” (fine cracks). For this reason, avoid excessively dry or hot conditions. Chemicals can harm opals, so avoid wear when cleaning, swimming or playing sports.
This Australian opal is from Hopkins Opal.
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A related care note: ultrasonic cleaners can crack emeralds and shatter opals and pearls - these jewelry ingredients require different cleaning considerations.
Seeking a thoughtfully designed jewel for on the court, off the court, or both?
I’m game to help!