Caring for your engagement ring properly ensures that it looks its best before and during the wedding, and helps it remain a treasure that can be passed down from generation to generation. By learning how to clean, store, and care for your ring, you can make sure that it keeps looking great and remains in good condition throughout many years of marriage.
Protecting Your Engagement Ring
When to Remove Your Ring
- Avoid wearing your ring while swimming, because your fingers could temporarily shrink in cool temperatures, allowing it to fall off.
- Take your ring off before participating in sports or other vigorous activity that could involve sharp blows.
- Remove your ring before applying heavy makeup, lotion, or creams to your hands to avoid excessive buildup that can dull the stones.
- Take off your engagement ring before beginning housecleaning or yard work that involves harsh chemicals or rough equipment.
Keeping Track of Your Ring
- Place your ring in the same, safe place every day to avoid accidentally misplacing it.
- Avoid removing or placing your ring near vulnerable places, such as sinks or bathtubs, where it could easily be knocked off and lost.
- Always store your engagement ring by itself in a safe place to prevent the jewelry from getting scratched or chipped by other gems.
Maintaining Your Ring
- Handle your ring infrequently, as the oils in your hands can cloud the gems and reduce their sparkle.
- Clean your ring at least once a week to keep it as brilliant as the day you first put it on.
- Get your ring inspected at least twice a year by a qualified jeweler to guarantee the setting is secure.
- Have any repairs recommended by your jeweler performed right away.
Insuring Your Investment
- Have the appraisal of your engagement ring updated every few years in case of loss.
- Insure your valuable engagement ring against theft, loss, or accidental damage.
Ring Cleaning Tips
Many people believe simply wearing your engagement ring while washing your hands is an adequate way to clean it. In fact, the soaps and other cleaners used on your hands can cloud and dull your ring, and it should be cleaned periodically to keep it brilliant.
The easiest way to clean a diamond ring is with a solution of water and mild liquid detergent. A soft bristled brush can loosen dirt and a soft, and a lint-free cloth should be used for drying. Store-bought jewelry solutions may also be used for soaking diamond rings as well as solutions of ammonia and ethyl alcohol. Ammonia (in a mild solution with three parts water) is particularly good for brightening yellow gold, but should never be used with fracture-filled diamonds as it may cause the diamonds to become cloudy or discolored.
Engagement rings can also be professionally cleaned if they become overly dirty. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are the most popular choices among jewelers. Diamonds can also be boiled in sulfuric acid by a professional if they become extremely dirty, though this is often a last resort. If your engagement ring has any serious flaws, however, such as fractures or cracks in the stone, be sure the jeweler is aware of them because certain cleaning techniques may exacerbate the flaws.
Choosing the Right Method
If your engagement ring contains different types of stones, be sure whichever cleaning method you choose is appropriate for all of them. Pearls, for example, are far softer and more delicate than many gems, and can easily be scratched or pitted by cleaning solutions recommended for diamonds.
Tips for Ring Storage
Protection from damage and theft should be your primary concerns when storing your engagement ring. Here are a few tips for storing your ring safely.
- Jewelry boxes should be lined with soft fabric, but be aware that a noticeable jewelry box is the first place a burglar will look.
- A diamond engagement ring should be wrapped in soft fabric and placed in a padded jewelry bag for long-term storage.
- It's best to keep seldom-worn jewelry in a safe deposit box.
- Never store diamond jewelry loose with other pieces - the diamonds could easily scratch or nick other pieces, while the gold or platinum setting on the engagement ring can be damaged by other gems.
Caring for Unusual Rings
Unusual engagement rings require some extra considerations to care for properly.
- Elaborate art deco or filigree designs, for example, need more detailed cleaning to remove dirt, dust, and buildup from the intricate settings.
- Antique engagement rings need delicate handling from a reputable jeweler who is experienced with older, less sturdy rings, and they should be treated even more delicately than a typical engagement ring.
- Minute settings and designs, such as pave settings or Celtic patterns, will require detailed cleaning more frequently than less intricate rings.
- White gold engagement rings require periodic reapplication of the rhodium coating that gives them a brilliant white luster, because it eventually wears off
No matter what type of engagement ring you need to care for, your best resource is the jeweler who made or sold you the ring. Ask him or her about unique care and cleaning requirements, and if possible, always return to that jeweler to service and inspect your ring.
Maintain Your Engagement Ring in Excellent Condition
With practical habits, regular cleaning, and careful storage, caring for your engagement ring is easy and efficient. Not only will the ring remain glamorous throughout the engagement, but as its sentimental and monetary value continues to grow after the wedding, the ring's brilliance will remain as sparkling as the day it was first put on your finger.