You’re probably not curating your gym outfits with jewelry in mind, but even if you accessorize your leggings with teeny-tiny rings, you may want to think twice before getting sweaty in diamonds and pearls. When it comes to working out in jewelry, it’s best to be clued into what’s safe—for your own benefit, as well as the durability of the baubles you cherish most.
“I advise clients to avoid wearing jewelry when exercising,” says Sarah Gittoes, co-designer of Sarah & Sebastian, a jewelry collection from Sydney, Australia. “The last thing you want to focus on is potentially damaging your jewelry during a workout.” But for those times when you just have to have a little sparkle, here’s a guide to what you can safely wear—and what should stay at home.
Ahead, see what three jewelry experts have to say. You’ll want to know the collective takeaways before your next sweat session.
Fine jewelry is more durable
Fine jewelry is stronger than its costume counterpart, but it’s not indestructible, says Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Jennie Kwon. “Whether it’s wise to wear jewelry while working out depends on a few things: What type of jewelry it is and what type of workout you’re engaging in,” she says. “All fine jewelry, regardless of whether dainty or more substantial, is subject to damage like warping, losing stones, or chipping of stones if you’re rough on your hands.”
Sweat and heat are nothing to worry about with regard to gemstones, adds fine jewelry designer Lizzie Mandler, so you can certainly wear your baubles to hot yoga. Still, it’s better not to tempt fate by, say, wearing a 2-carat diamond engagement ring under boxing gloves at Shadowbox. “Be aware of the impact your activity might have on your jewelry,” she says. “It’s not invincible.”
Stud earrings are safe, but skip the statement pieces
Caroline Maguire, the fashion director of Shopbop, wears minimal stud earrings 24/7. “I honestly forget that I have them on,” she says. “And hey, why not look chic while you sweat?” Think tiny and dainty—and stash your dangly, statement earrings in the gym locker.
Rings should be removed
Kwon says wearing a necklace is fine as long as it isn’t overly long or dangly, and Mandler wears a stack of bangles on her wrist—even during her boxing sessions.
Kwon says rings are safe during certain workouts, but not others. “Go ahead and keep them on if you’re doing cardio and not using any sort of heavy equipment with your hands,” she says. But if you’re rowing, lifting weights, using pulleys, or otherwise being tough on your hands, go ring-free.
That’s partly because, as Gittoes says, metals such as gold are softer than you might think. “Your rings can often be scratched or bent after contact with hard metal,” she says. “The steel handles of weights and fine gold jewelry do not mix.” Mandler adds that platinum is particularly soft, so remove your sparkler before working out.
In terms of rings with bigger stones, proceed with caution. “When the ring has a center stone with a high profile, you can inadvertently hit it on things and either chip the stone or knock it out of the setting,” says Kwon. “With more fragile stones such as emeralds and opals that are on the softer side, you can definitely crack them while working out with equipment.”
The bottom line
There’s certainly a temptation to leave jewelry on during a workout—especially your daintiest trinkets, which can be easily misplaced. However, erring on the side of caution is wise. While most fine pieces can hold up to a variety of exercises, if you want to be safe, leave the bling outside the ring.