Despite the best care and precautions, engagement ring mishaps can occur that may result in damage or loss to that most precious of romantic symbols. Knowing what types of accidents are possible and how to guard against them is a key step toward safeguarding your engagement ring for years to come.
Types of Engagement Ring Mishaps
There are many different types of accidents that can happen to something as small and ultimately delicate as an engagement ring. Specific types of rings are more prone to accidents, such as:
- High prong settings that can be snared on objects.
- Antique rings that may be less durable.
- Pave settings where small stones are not tightly secured.
- Heirloom rings that may be antiques or vintage pieces.
Any type of ring can be damaged, however, and knowing how to avoid the most common accidents is the first step toward protecting the jewelry from undue stress.
Down the Sink
An engagement ring lost down a drain (shower, tub, sink, pool, etc.) is one of the most common engagement ring mishaps. When fingers are immersed in cold water, they shrink, and water loosens tight rings, making them more prone to slipping off. Small rings, especially, could slip off unnoticed, and particularly in large bodies of water such as a lake, pool, or spa, it may be impossible to locate the ring.To Avoid: Always remove the ring before doing dishes, bathing, or swimming and place it in a safe location away from the drain. Never place the ring on the edge of the sink or tub where it could easily be knocked into the drain. For added protection, place a mesh cover over drains to catch small items before they disappear into the pipes.
To Correct: Shut off the water valves immediately and do not drain additional water through the system. Remove u-bend pipes and check for the ring in the lowest section if possible, or call a plumber for professional assistance.
Eaten by a Pet
Small pets in particular are intrigued by shiny, glittery objects, and an engagement ring may be a tempting morsel. Unfortunately, the ring is neither good for the animal nor is the animal's digestive tract good for the ring.
To Avoid: Never leave an engagement ring in a location accessible to pets (on a low table, for example). If possible, always put the ring away carefully in a jewelry box or its original case, or store it in a drawer or cupboard out of reach of pets.
To Correct: To be sure the pet will not be harmed, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. If the ring is able to pass through the animal's digestive tract, the solution is to monitor their bowel movements for the ring's appearance, but with small pets surgery or induced vomiting may be necessary.
To Avoid: Remove the ring when reaching into tight spaces such as under a mattress, into unknown storage areas, or while working in other tight locations. If possible, choose a setting that is durable enough to withstand some stress, such as thicker prongs or recessed designs like flush or bezel settings.
To Correct: The only way to correct a twisted setting is through professional repairs by an experienced jeweler. Do not try to repair the ring yourself because you risk further damaging the setting.
In the Vacuum
One quick rattle and an engagement ring can easily become the prey of a powerful vacuum cleaner.To Avoid: Never place the ring on the floor or in a location where it could easily be dropped onto the floor prior to vacuuming.
To Correct: Stop vacuuming immediately and remove the vacuum bag or canister. Sift through the debris carefully and once the ring is recovered, check it for damage or lost stones. If the ring is undamaged, clean it thoroughly to remove dust and debris, but if it has sustained damage, have it checked by a professional first to avoid further damage.
Stones can fall out of even the tightest settings, either by being knocked about or through damage to the setting itself such as twisting or warping.
To Avoid: Check the ring periodically (every six months is standard) for setting damage or loose stones, and avoid situations that could result in twisted settings.
To Correct: Search for the stone thoroughly wherever it is noticed to be lost and wherever the ring is normally kept. If it is found, put it in a safe location until repairs can be made, but if it is not located, have a jeweler examine the ring closely in order to procure a replacement stone (lab certificates and appraisals are helpful for exact matches).
Chemicals can easily discolor a ring and may fracture treated stones.
To Avoid: Remove the ring before encountering cleaning chemicals of any sort, including solvents, cleansers, and chlorinated water.
To Correct: Rinse the ring thoroughly to remove remaining chemical traces, and clean it promptly. If the discoloration persists, consult a jeweler for additional corrective measures and repairs.
Avoiding Engagement Ring Mishaps
The key to avoiding these and other engagement ring mishaps is to always be aware of potential dangers to the ring, the stones, and the setting, and taking steps to protect them. By consciously protecting your ring, you ensure that it will last through many anniversaries to become an heirloom in your family.