Accidents don’t just happen. They are caused. That’s why safety professionals are hell-bent on coming up with tips and guidelines on accident prevention—at home, at work, in parks, theaters, or just about every place where accidents could happen. There are safety guidelines in handling tools and equipment, hazardous substances, and chemicals. But scarce are tips on jewelry safety.
Why is that?
Is it because jewelry items are considered innocuous? That nothing could possibly go wrong in wearing them? Think again. There have been instances of accidents involving rings and lead poisoning from swallowing jewelry inadvertently.
Jewelry safety is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. And since there is a dearth of materials about the subject, it is worth your while to read through this article for your guidance—and safety.
But before anything else, this article dwells on two facets of jewelry safety: First, in its use. Second: in its care.
Jewelry Safety – In Its Use
If you’ve been into a manufacturing facility, where a lot of machinery and equipment is used, then you must have seen a lot of signs asking every personnel to remove jewelry items before operating any piece of equipment. There is a good reason for this—prevention of workplace accidents, which run in the billions of dollars.
In a 2018 report in the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the cost of non-fatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2015 was $ 60 billion. Of course, they were not all jewelry-related accidents. But a few were—definitely.
Here are five forms of jewelry-related workplace accidents:
This happens when a ring, usually a wedding ring, gets caught on something hard and unyielding. Depending on the circumstances, the injury can range from deep laceration of the ring finger, joint dislocation, to shearing off of the entire finger.
The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration) received a report of ring avulsion involving an electronics technician. His ring got caught by a protruding bolt of the stepladder he was using. Though not life-threatening, the ancient required hospitalization.
Getting caught in machinery
Working around moving machinery is hazardous for people with long hair, and wearing loose clothing. But it can also be as dangerous for those wearing necklaces, bracelets, and earrings with large and long hoops.
If you work around these things, be sure to remove your jewelry before flipping the switch.
People who love jewelry wear them as second nature. They feel naked without them. What they don’t know is that metals used in jewelry are excellent conductors of electricity. If their jewelry like a ring or necklace gets in contact with a circuit with frayed insulation, they can get an electric shock or, worse, electrocuted.
On the lesser side, ungrounded moving equipment generates an ESD (electronic static discharge) which can be attracted by any metallic object, such as a jewelry item, near it.
Burning and freezing
The human body has the ability to maintain a comfortable temperature even in bearable adverse environments. But jewelry cannot.
For example, a ring or bracelet will heat up faster than you do—and cools down slowly. So if you are working in a very hot environment, your jewelry will soon be heated to the environment temperature. And when you get out, and since your jewelry cools down more slowly, it may still burn a patch of your skin.
On the other side of the scale, if you are working in a cryogenic (extremely cold) environment, a splash of cryogens, such as nitrogen, helium, or argon, on your jewelry can immediately freeze it and get it attached to your skin—very similar to handling ice.
To avoid jewelry-related workplace accidents, do the following:
- Follow your company’s “no-jewelry-at-work” policy.
- Never ignore your safety officer’s constant reminders or workplace safety guidelines.
- Exercise extreme care when handling machinery of production equipment.
- Do your share and report any work-related accident—regardless of cause.
For most, home is the safest place in the world. Not quite. Every year, roughly 75% of accident-related deaths in the US occurred at home. The top five causes are poisoning, falling, choking, drowning, and fires and burns.
Here’s a clear case in point. In 2015, late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon suffered ring avulsion when he tripped and fell in his own kitchen. On his way down, his ring got caught on the sharp edge of a countertop he tried to grab to break his fall.
He did not die. But he spent 10 days in intensive care.
At home, you have two jewelry safety concerns:
Your jewelry may look adorable in its beauty. But in some cases, it can be deceptive. For example, cinnabar and citrine gemstones are highly toxic. And your jewelry piece may contain nickel, aluminum, lead, copper, and cadmium—all toxic metals.
Can you get lead poisoning from wearing jewelry? No. But you might, like that four-year-old Minnesota boy whose death was diagnosed to be from lead poisoning after swallowing charm jewelry containing lead.
So how can you tell if jewelry has lead in it?
First of all, jewelry items made of titanium, gold, or sterling silver are considered lead-free or have very low lead content in them.
Otherwise, there are two ways to test for lead:
- Have it tested in a creditable lab
- Buy a test kit. It is cheap and there are instructions at the back of the packaging on its proper use.
Material toxicity is not the only thing to worry about where jewelry safety is concerned. Outside factors can make your prized possession a source of potential home accidents.
Jewelry tends to pick up dirt, dead skin cells, and the germs that cling to them. If you work in a kitchen, for example, E. Coli or salmonella can easily hitch a ride on your jewelry. The dirt and grime that collects on your hoop earrings can infect your earlobes. So if you don’t wash your hands, or your jewelry properly, it can be a source of potential health problems.
It may not be of great concern to you if your immune system is good. But you can’t say the same for people around like kids, the elderly, or those who are already medically compromised.
In the face of all these, the overriding question now is how do you secure jewelry?
These five tips will help you.
- Have a specific location to store your jewelry. This serves the dual purpose of easy retrieval when needed and keep it out of reach of children.
- Remove your ring before washing the dishes. Soaps and sanitizers are harmful to some gemstones and metals.
- Don’t sleep with your jewelry. They may snag sheets or clothes or, worse, scratch you or your partner.
- Be mindful of family, friends, or pets. Pets are known to have an appetite for sparkly items, and kids may play dress-up with your jewelry.
- Keep an inventory. This is necessary if you have a large collection of jewelry items and misplacing or losing some is very possible.
- Insure them. Jewelry items are expensive and it would be like throwing away a fortune if you damage or lose them due to theft. There are insurance companies with jewelry insurance plans.
Jewelry Safety – In Its Care
Jewelry is a prized possession. Not only are they expensive, money-wise, but they may also have intrinsic value that cannot be defined in dollar terms. Some of them are heirlooms with colorful history, others are meaningful in a metaphysical way.
But if you don’t care for them properly, they can become like an unkempt yard overrun with weeds or shrubs or a broken bicycle in your garage.
To avoid follow these simple tips:
Remove your jewelry:
- Before swimming or doing strenuous activities. Sweat and chlorine can tarnish your sterling silver ring. And saltwater can alter the appearance of all sorts of diamonds and other gemstones. It makes them shine and sparkle less.
- Before applying sunscreen or bug spray. No, these won’t damage your jewelry but lotion can get into the small crevices of your necklace or bracelet. Both also create a thin film that may make your emerald stone, such as the one in this Vintage Vault review, look dull.
- Never play in the sand or do gardening work with your jewelry on. Dirt and small rocks are abrasive and these may permanently damage your jewelry. Particularly vulnerable are soft gemstones like pearls. Besides, over time, dirt deposits on your jewelry will produce tiny pit marks on its surface (dirt corrosion).
Other jewelry safety tips:
- Regularly clean your jewelry. Your own sweat and body oils will, over time, can dull your jewelry. There are several DIY tips to do these. It doesn’t take much to do this. A soft detergent dissolved in warm water and a soft toothbrush can do the trick.
- Store them in a clean and dry place. Use a fabric-lined-case, or in a box with compartments to prevent them from scratching each other.
- Regularly check them for signs of deterioration. This could be a loose stone in a ring, necklace, or bracelet. Other signs are a short, missing, or bent prong. These defects could affect the integrity of a jewelry’s center stone or result in damaged clasps, stretched bands, or broken earring posts.
- Bring them to your jeweler for a check-up. Just as you visit your doctor for a regular checkup, so does your jewelry. Have it checked for loose or off-located stones, broken clasps, damaged links, discoloration, and many other things that can happen to your precious possessions.
- Have your favorite or more valuable jewelry insured. The peace of mind it brings far outweighs its cost. Some insurance companies cover practically everything, such as loss, theft, damage, disappearance, flood or earthquake, and worldwide travel.
Surveys show that not many jewelry-lovers know about these aspects of jewelry safety. If you are one of them, it’s alright. No need to be embarrassed. There are many of you. But if you still, if you are not that knowledgeable about these things or refuse to adopt some of these useful tips, then you need to be.
Jewelry Safety and Technology
Without any doubt, technology has gained inroads into our lives. Not only inroads but in some cases, taken over our lives. Anyway, who can get by these days without a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop? For people on the go or are physical fitness buffs, there is the smartwatch.
Not to the outdone in the “smarties” field, now there is smart jewelry – thanks to Invisawear.
“Invisawear, what?” you may ask.
Invisawear or Invisawear Technologies Corporation is an upstart US company based in Lowell Massachusetts. And it specializes in the manufacture of jewelry items, cum, safety devices. They are good for elderly people who still want to look chic, or people with medical conditions needing immediate help.
There’s nothing fancy about Instawear except for a discreet button that, when pressed, sends signals to emergency rescue units to come to your aid.
It uses the same emergency response technology as the ADT, the leading name in security. With an Invisawear, you can be sure to have immediate help when you need it most.
In short, Invisawear jewelry can save your life.
How Much Does Invisawear Cost?
Current price of Invisawear jewelry range between $ 130 to $ 150. Off-hand, the price may look hefty for a jewelry piece that won’t land in Sotheby’s or Christie’s. The focus of this jewelry safety device is to save a life—something that has no price tag on it.
In short, it is worth every dime you pay for it.
Keep Yourself and Your Jewelry Safe
Jewelry safety is something strange to a lot of jewelry lovers. For them, jewelry is nothing but something they buy, put on, and they’re all set. Under normal circumstances, it is. But life is seldom “normal.” That sparkling little thing you put on your finger, drape around your wrist or neck, or attach to your ears can be a source of unexpected problems to you or others.
On the other side of the coin, they can become gooey through the passage of time.
This article and the tips herein about the subject intend to avoid that. It intends to allow you to enjoy your jewelry item for as long as you want to.
Now, if you have a kid, you might want to check out our post, “Should Kids Wear Jewelry: A Guide To Children’s Jewelry Safety.”