The wife loses a stone;
the husband blames the wife; the wife blames the jeweler; the jeweler
blames the manufacturer; the manufacturer looks for an answer. Hoover
& Strong answers the question. What causes most prong breakage?
Chlorine and bromine. Where does it come from? Hot tubs, swimming
pools and laundry products. Hoover & Strong has conducted a
controlled experiment to determine the effect of common chlorine
and bromine products on jewelry settings. We tested household bleach,
(heated and unheated), hot tub chlorine and bromine solutions, and
a chlorine free dishwashing detergent. We tested 14K and 18K nickel
white settings; set and unset, rhodium plated and not plated; palladium
white gold and platinum settings.
Hoover & Strong's testing rates their products from the most
durable to the least durable as follows: Platinum; rhodium plated
14K palladium white gold, 14K palladium white gold; rhodium plated
nickel white gold, 18K nickel white gold; and 14K nickel white gold.
Chlorine and bromine are commonly used chemical products to prevent
bacteria from growing in our drinking water, in swimming pools and
hot tubs. Too much of these compounds added may cause a human health
threat and a durability problem for settings. The higher the concentration,
the longer the exposure and the higher the temperature, the faster
the deterioration of the settings.
Stress occurs in metals when they are worked. Stress can be relieved
in metals by proper heat treating. A simple experiment to demonstrate
this can be performed by bending a paper clip until It breaks
off, count the number of times you bend the paper clip. Next bend
the same paper clip just short of its breaking point. Heat the
paper clip to a cherry red and let it cool. This IS called annealing.
Now bend the paper clip and count the number of times you have
to bend it before it breaks. The annealing relieved the paper
The test solutions are listed in order from the product causing
the most damage to the least harmful. The rings soaked in heated
bleach suffered the most catastrophic failure. The 14K nickel
white gold was the first to fail in all solutions except the household
detergent. The household detergent had little or no effect on
the rings or settings. The test was stopped when the first setting
failed and all items were compared. Based on our testing, a consumer
wearing a 14K nickel white gold setting would lose a stone or
expect prong breakage as follows:
Results Of Each Solution
1. 5% chlorine bleach heated to 110°F, prong failure would
occur after 21 hours of exposure. Only the platinum and palladium
white gold settings held their stones in the worst test solution.
2. 5% chlorine bleach room temperature -prong failure would occur
after 120 hours of exposure.
3. 5 ppm (parts per million) chlorine using hot tub chemicals-prong
failure would occur after 312 hours or 156 days.*4', 5 ppm (parts
per million) bromine using hot tub chemicals-prong failure would
occur after 384 hours or 192 days. *
5. Household detergent -no visible effects on the setting.
* based on 2 hours a day, 7 days a week
Hoover & Strong's recommendations: Use platinum settings,
14K palladium white settings. Rhodium plate 18K or 14K white settings,
the rhodium plating will provide a protective coating to protect
the setting; similar to paint stopping rust.
Last but not least, do not to wear your jewelry
in hot tubs and swimming pools. Take jewelry off when using laundry
or cleaning products. NEVER, NEVER clean rings with bleach. Take
your jewelry to Denney Jewelers for regular cleaning and