JEWELLERY AND BACTERIA


By Mariam ATEF


As small as jewelry is, it makes a huge difference in any outfit it’s worn with. But there’s a nasty price to pay if you want to show off these sparkly beauties: thousands of gross bacteria are growing on your favorite accessories right now!


THE JEWELRY BUSINESS’S EXPERIENCE WITH COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 has made people rethink wearing jewelry, as jewelry and its edges can act as a surface for disease transmission. And Coronavirus is no exception. You can accidentally transmit the deadly virus through your jewelry by just shaking hands with friends.

Much like other industries, the jewelry business was affected both positively and negatively as a result of the pandemic.

In the early days of the pandemic, jewelry sales dropped by almost 82%. But despite this massive drop, data published in Business Weekly showed that people had much more time in quarantine to rethink and reevaluate their lives, and buying jewelry was one of the ways people chose to take care of themselves.

Additionally, people have been buying their loved ones jewelry to make their days in quarantine better and more bearable. Not only did jewelry sales increase because of that, but also because people are relying on shopping as a way to escape the difficult reality of the pandemic.


PEOPLE STILL WEAR JEWELRY, EVEN AT HOME

After our favorite places were closed and social distancing became necessary, most of our daily and weekly routines were disrupted. However, this is just the right time to find other ways to make our days brighter.

People may have ditched their fancy dresses and suits, but jewelry has definitely survived. Although we might not have the opportunity to show off our jewelry to the whole world for a while, we can at least still get the feeling of empowerment and beauty that we always get from jewelry.

For example, people won’t just give up their engagement rings just because they are not going out anymore. And one won’t simply let go of their grandma’s old necklaces just because no one is going to see them anymore.

Jewelry is more than just a shiny stone or piece of metal. It has always had a story, a meaning, and a special place in our hearts. That is why we find a unique pleasure in wearing jewelry.

So, in these gloomy days, people might just need that extra bit of hope they get from the shine of their jewelry. Whether inside our cozy homes or outside, jewelry was made to be worn.

In fact, jewelry and handbag designer Susan Korn, who has her own successful line, Susan Alexandra, said: “I wear jewelry every day. I sleep, shower, work out and apparently quarantine in jewelry.”


YOUR ACCESSORIES ARE A LOT DIRTIER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK

Est1897 conducted a study to examine how much bacteria can grow after only one week of being worn, and the results were both shocking and disgusting...

After swabbing behind earrings and underneath rings and watches, almost 23,000 growths of bacteria were found on jewelry within just a week!

Luckily, these bacteria are found to be commensal, which means they mostly don’t cause harm. However, it’s dangerous to leave these bacteria around for a long time, as this can pose a serious threat when a person touches their face and mouth. This can lead to food poisoning, Diphtheria, MRSA, or even thrush.


RINGS

Rings were the filthiest kind of jewelry, with five different types of bacteria growing on each ring and a total of 504 bacterial colonies. Not only were Staphylococcus, Micrococcus, and Corynebacterium found, but also some gross traces of fungus and black mould on the ring!

And you wouldn’t want your fingers getting exposed to black mould, as it can cause undesirable dry scaly skin, as well as skin rashes.

This experiment was only run for one week, and it was done during the pandemic, which meant that people were washing their hands more often than usual. Just imagine what would be found if the rings were left for longer, or if people hadn’t been washing their hands as much. Yeah, gross!


WATCHES

Second on the filthy list is everyone’s favorite timepiece, with four types of bacteria found on it! After only one week of usage, a staggering 20,000 colonies of bacteria were found on the wristwatch, also including Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus and Micrococcus.

In addition to bacteria, traces of fungus were also found, which can easily get caught in the links of the watch’s band. The watch obviously grew more bacterial colonies than the ring, and the reason may be that we usually don’t remove watches before washing our hands.


EARRINGS

Earrings were the third dirtiest offender, with 485 bacterial colonies found on both earrings. One of the worst kinds of bacteria found was Bacillus cereus, which can cause food poisoning if swallowed. And you’d be surprised as to how easy it is to ingest it—it’s as easy as playing with your earrings and then biting your nails or eating without washing your hands.

If you’re wondering why there’s a kind of bacteria that’s only present on earrings, think about how often you wash your ears vs. how often you wash your hands.


WHY IS IT CRUCIAL TO REGULARLY CLEAN JEWELRY?

Leaving your jewelry dirty means that thousands of bacteria will grow on your earrings, rings, and wrist-watches. The more you leave them the more they’ll grow, which will eventually have some unpleasant results: allergic reactions, skin irritation, or in some cases, infections.

And if you don’t mind all of that, at least worry about your expensive jewelry, as too much dirt can cause permanent degradation and discoloration of even the finest metals and gemstones.

Jewelry carries so much sentimental value in our lives. But if we want to keep our environment safe and keep our jewelry in one piece, we have to take good care of our accessories and always keep them clean.