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Nitrile vs Latex Gloves: How Each Affects Your Jewelry

Published June 28th, 2024 by Annapolis Jewelers

The United States has nearly 15 million people employed in the medical field, which leads to the constant donning and doffing of protective gloves. But how does this affect jewelry? Are these gloves protecting jewelry from damage, or are they making it worse?

With a glove material comparison, it's best to start with nitrile vs latex gloves. These are the most common, as well as the ones that have the most pronounced effect on your jewelry.

If you're curious about jewelry care tips to keep your rings safe at work, we're here to help. Here's the effect of different types of gloves for jewelry and how you can protect against them.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are common in the medical field. They're affordable and often bought in bulk and provide good protection against most hazards.

However, they're far from perfect. These gloves don't provide complete chemical protection and are vulnerable to some. Ketones, acids, and highly corrosive chemicals can eat through them.

They also are dangerous for some types of jewelry. If you're protecting jewelry from damage, nitrile gloves are a bad choice in the case of some precious metals.

Specifically, nitrile gloves are known to cause silver to tarnish. You won't have this happen on immediate contact, but after weeks of taking nitrile gloves on and off, your silver ring will have visible tarnish.

If this occurs, your silver ring is damaged considerably. You should avoid nitrile gloves if you're using silver and switch to a less reactive glove material.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves pose a more direct threat to your jewelry. Latex is skin-tight, meaning the gloves closely hug your skin while you wear them. They're made of durable latex and are great for protection in the medical field.

But with rings, latex gloves can cause physical damage. These tight gloves can easily snag on the ring, particularly any prongs that are holding precious jewels and gemstones in the ring.

You'll mostly see this issue while donning or doffing a glove. A good rule of thumb is to turn your stone to the side or bottom of your finger. Doing so can stop the latex from snagging, but the risk will remain.

The good news is that latex gloves don't react with the metals in your ring. Gold jewelry won't show any reaction whatsoever, and silver isn't known to react in the same way that it reacts to nitrile.

Remove Rings!

What's the best way to stop your gloves from damaging your rings? Simply avoid wearing rings if you know you're going to wear gloves during your day. All gloves have a risk of snagging on your ring, while nitrile gloves can chemically alter it.

Nitrile vs Latex Gloves

With nitrile vs latex gloves, latex gloves pose less of a threat, as their only threat is physical. Nitrile gloves can cause silver to tarnish. You can avoid any threats by not wearing rings with gloves.

If you're worried about damage to your gloves, Annapolis Jewelers is happy to help. We offer a free ring check to examine your ring and make sure it remains in top condition. We're dedicated to bringing you the best service since 1991 with a team of knowledgeable master jewelers and expert advice on how to protect your precious rings while wearing gloves. Contact us to have your ring inspected for any damage.

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