Gold is a much better metal than silver for ease of care, as it does not tarnish and discolor. The only exceptions to this are some perfumes and cosmetics that will leave a slight tint to the color of the gold that is a darker golden or almost brownish gold. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to put your jewelry on last when getting ready.
That being said, there are a few chemicals you need to avoid.
The worst compound which should never come in contact with your gold jewelry, is mercury (like in the old thermometers). It will instantly soak into your gold and disappear, making it crumble kind of like a science fiction show right before your eyes.
The second worst common compound is chlorine. Beware of this one in the form of clothes bleach, tile and bath cleaners, etc. Surprisingly, bromine is a form of chlorine which is commonly found in hot tubs and works in the same way. These compounds steal electrons from the gold mixture and leave your ring brittle so that it cracks rather than bends. As a result, prongs may snap off and the bottom of the ring can crack rather than bend as you repeatedly grab things with your hands. Swimming pool water is about 40 times less concentrated than a hot tub, so a dip in the pool isn’t as bad unless you are doing it frequently.
The solution is to completely avoid contact with anything containing mercury, chlorine or bromine. For more information on cleaning your jewelry with safe chemicals, check out our post on Cleaning Your Fine Jewelry.