Jewellery and the dust

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Jewellery and the dust

Postby Red Eco » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:00 pm

Does anybody have any experience with playa dust corroding jewellery?

My wife and I would like to wear our wedding rings while on the playa. Hers is 9 karat gold (I think), while mine is sterling silver with a thin gold band around it (not sure the quality of the gold). We're a bit concerned that the dust will corrode our rings and are weighing up the pros and cons of leaving them in Australia (or storing them somewhere safe in SF).

Did a heap of searching on Google and eplaya, but can't really find anything that addresses this topic specifically. Apologies if I have missed a thread that has already discussed this.

Thanks!

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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:03 pm

The general wisdom is don't do it!
Every year eplaya and BM lost & found is full of tales of woe about lost ones out there.
If I were you, I'd get some cheap on-playa "stunt doubles".
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:08 pm

Eric is the metal worker, so he'll know more, but here's my shot at it...
The real culprits are moisture and the length of exposure. So, a week in the dry, dry desert isn't going to fuck up your rings. Get home and clean them. I don't know how, but I think any thorough rubbing with a cloth would do. Yours is more at risk, as gold is somewhat less reactive than silver. Part of the reason why gold is more precious.
But, what they are really talking about when they talk about corrosive dust, it's equipment that isn't cleaned or car parts that are out of the way and difficult to wash. So the dust sits on the items all year, and longer. Then it corrodes.

Whoops, Captain posted when I was writing. I forgot about the loss issue. If you doubt him, just look at last year's lost jewelry sub-forum.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby AntiM » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:09 pm

The dust does not hurt gold. However, your fingers will swell out there, you will take off your rings at some point... and seriously risk losing them. Look through the pervious years' lost and found forums for many tales of woe. You say you would like to wear them, but how heartbroken would you be to lose them? Forever?

I leave my rings at home, at most I wear a $6 ring from ebay I enjoy and if I lose it, I won't be sad.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Sunbeam56 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:19 pm

Thats interesting... Why do fingers swell?
I was actually expecting the reverse, thinking mikd dehydration, exercise, and altitude change...
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Eric » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:38 pm

Sunbeam56 wrote:Thats interesting... Why do fingers swell?


Heat. And they will swell. A lot.

Leave the rings at home so you don't lose them, the dust won't affect them at all, though you'd have to polish the silver when you get back home. I wear my wedding ring, but I forged it, and I forge us new ones occasionally because I enjoy doing it, so I can easily replace it; most people can't (and are more attached to the specific rings than we are).

The Burn is a great place for cheap costume jewelry, just realize that crap metal is more likely to make your fingers turn green.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby AntiM » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:45 pm

Dehydration can cause swollen hands (and feet) in some people as their bodies try to retain water. More fluids, more electrolytes. I have problems with swollen hands on long car trips.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Red Eco » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:27 pm

Thanks all. That is very helpful.

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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Savannah » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:00 am

Consider leaving the rings at home . . . :)

A list of some of the jewelry lost last year.
https://eplaya.burningman.com/viewforum.php?f=346

Some of the stuff found (not much, and usually not the same stuff!)
https://eplaya.burningman.com/viewforum.php?f=358

There is a concerted effort to reunite people with their things by the Lost & Found, but things do go missing forever.

I kinda like the idea of wearing inexpensive stand-in rings, if it's important to you to have the symbolism on your hands.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby shroom » Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:55 am

I don't remember my hands swelling and I wore my rings. If I needed to take them off I'd put them in the glove box of the car until I left the playa again.


All other jewelry I wore was not gold or valuable. mainly just earrings.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby AntiM » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:34 am

That's why I said "some" people. My hands do.

I don't trust our glovebox, it "ate" a pair of my prescription glasses last year. Yet to find them.

YMMV
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby shroom » Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:35 am

oh no!
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby AntiM » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:53 am

Fortunately, they were AmB cheapies, but I did like the frames. Metal purple and blue loopy style.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby unjonharley » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:16 am

The OP also asked about dust on/in.. Denture tablets in warm water do a good job of cleaning fancy rings and chains..
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Eric » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:30 pm

unjonharley wrote:The OP also asked about dust on/in.. Denture tablets in warm water do a good job of cleaning fancy rings and chains..


DO NOT DO THIS!
Many denture tablets contain chemicals (like borax or a bleach solution) that can damage stones and weaken the metal! It's a really good way to damage something, especially cheaper jewelry (but it can even screw up 14k & 18k gold over time, since the chemicals can react with the other metals)

You can buy good jewelry/ metal cleaning solutions at any hardware store. If your ring has a stone in it, google that stone and the word "cleaning", some are very delicate or porous and you can really fuck them up putting them even in a good jewelry cleaner (like turquoise, malachite, coral, opal...). I never soak any of my jewelry - I cut up an old pair of jeans and use "Simichrome" polish with it. Put polish on a 2-3" piece of denim, spread it around, buff jewelry. Boom - cleaned quickly, safe for stones.
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby unjonharley » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:59 pm

Thanks for the heads up Eric,,

Eric knows his metals in jewellry...
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Re: Jewellery and the dust

Postby Lonesomebri » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:25 pm

....swollen fingers...lost jewelry...

Two words: Nose Rings.
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