Your engagement ring is one of the most important things that you own and it probably wasn’t cheap.
Which is why you want to take care of it and keep it in the best condition possible, which can be challenging as your engagement ring is one of the few pieces of jewellery your wear every day, which means it get subjected to a lot of wear and tear.
And that is why I created this post, as there are a number of different things you can do that can help make your engagement rings life a bit easier, so let’s get started…
If you want to keep your engagement ring looking the best it can be, then you want to:
- Keep your engagement ring clean
- Avoid wearing it in certain situations such as the gym, while gardening, cooking food or swimming
- Get your ring checked by a jeweller at least once a year
- Don’t get it resized too many times
- Keep it in a safe place when not being worn
- Make sure that the ring is insured properly
If you want a more detailed explanation of any of the above points, then make sure to read the rest of this post.
1. Keep Your Engagement Ring Clean
Engagement rings can get quite dirty, quite quickly, which makes sense when you think about it as our hands get exposed to all types of things in our day to day lives, including things such as:
- Cleaning products
- Beauty products
- Dirt and grime
And this can result in all types of stuff getting trapped in all the nooks and crannies of your ring, especially Diamond engagement rings and Diamonds love grease and is probably the reason why your Diamond doesn’t sparkle as much as it did when you first got it.
How Do You Clean An Engagement Ring?
There is lots of ‘advice and information’ online about how to do this and much of it makes me roll my eyes, so how do you clean an engagement ring?
Step 1: Get A Bowl of Warm Soapy Water
The water should be warm, not hot and ideally you want to use hand soap as this has less abrasives than washing up liquid (which can be used but be gentle with it).
Step 2: Soak The Ring in the Water
Place your engagement ring in the water and leave it to soak for a couple of minutes but only if the gemstone is suitable for this, for example, care should be taken with Emeralds and Opals.
Step 3: Gently Scrub the Ring
For this you want to use a very soft bristled brush and one of the best is a child’s soft toothbrush as the bristles are soft enough to not scratch the metal but stiff enough to allow you to clean.
Hard bristle brushes should be avoided if possible as they may scratch the metal.
Step 4: Wash Under Clean Water
Once you have given the ring a good clean and got all of the dirt and grime from behind the stone and inside any intricate parts, you want to wash the ring in clean water.
I personally like to wash it off under the tap, just make sure there is something to stop the ring going down the drain, should you drop it or you can swill it in a bowl of clean water.
Step 5: Dry With A Lint Free Cloth
Once you have washed the ring with clean water, simply dry with a lint free cloth and your ring should look at lot cleaner, the Diamond should be sparkling again or the coloured stone should be looking bright and beautiful.
What To Avoid
It really is as simple as that but there are some things that you should probably avoid when it comes to cleaning your engagement ring, including:
- Ultrasonic Cleaners – while they do an amazing job at cleaning the ring, they can damage coloured gemstones and if you have small Diamonds in the ring, it can cause them to fall out if they haven’t been set properly or the band has been slightly bent out of shape
- Cleaning Solutions – there are quite a few cleaning solutions that you can buy but these can contain harsh chemicals that can be damaging to some gemstones and metals and honestly, they don’t do a better job than warm soapy water
- Toothpaste – I see this recommended a lot for cleaning engagement rings but please don’t use it as toothpaste is quite abrasive and can put micro scratches in the metal, which makes it look duller and lifeless
If the metal has lost some of its shine, you could use a handheld polishing cloth and these work well on yellow and rose gold but be careful with Rhodium plated white gold as it may remove the Rhodium plating.
Cleaning your engagement ring every month or so will keep your ring looking better for longer and for many people, seeing their engagement ring nice and sparkly again does put a smile on their face.
2. Be Careful Where You Wear Your Ring
While you may want to wear your engagement ring everywhere and anywhere, there are some occasions where it is better to take it off and leave it in a safe place, these include:
Engagement rings and gym equipment don’t play well together and wearing your ring while you are working out increases the chances of it getting damaged.
This is because engagement rings are made out of precious metals such as Gold or Platinum and these are significantly softer than steel, which is what most gym equipment is made of and if you are wearing your engagement ring while lifting weights, there is a good chance that your ring will get bent out of shape.
Which could cause the metal to crack or Diamonds to fall out depending on the style of ring, so best to just leave your engagement ring at home.
Now this isn’t all sports as going for a run shouldn’t cause any problems for your ring (unless you fall over) but any sport that involves holding a racket or club like tennis or golf can cause your ring to get damaged due to the combination of gripping them and the impact when connecting with the ball.
This also applies to combat sports as punching a heavy bag or mitts while wearing an engagement ring can cause it to get damaged and you may also damage your hand/finger in the process, so it’s best just to leave your ring at home.
Engagement rings and gardening also isn’t a good match for a couple of reasons:
- It can easily get damaged – your hands go through a lot when you are gardening at a lot of tools are made of harder materials, such as steel
- It can get lost – I know a lot of people wear gloves but there is still a good chance that your ring could fall off and get lost (probably buried)
So it is best to leave it off when you are out in the garden, unless you are sitting out in the sun enjoying a nice beverage.
Cleaning can result in your ring getting knocked about and potentially damaged but another concern is that you ring can be exposed to chemicals, some of which can be quite harmful either:
- To your stones – this generally isn’t an issue with Diamonds or Sapphires but can cause problems with gems such as Emeralds (especially if they have been oiled) and Opals
- To the metal – generally precious metals such as Gold and Platinum are good at dealing with chemicals but other metals that they are alloyed with to make them suitable for use in jewellery might not be
At minimum, you should always wear gloves (such as those lovely marigolds!) as this will help protect your ring and hands but if this isn’t possible, then probably best to just take your ring off.
While you might think that water wouldn’t cause too many problems for a ring, you might be surprised!
- Open Water Swimming – due to the lower temperature of the water, it can cause your fingers to shrink and this can result in your ring falling off and you don’t want it sinking to the bottom of a lake or the sea
- Swimming Pools – the biggest issue with wearing your ring in the pool is chlorine as this can damage some gemstones and it can affect the metals used in the alloys of gold for example, which may cause your engagement ring to turn a funny colour
So water and engagement rings don’t mix very well and unless want to run the risk of losing/damaging your ring, probably best to not take it for a dip.
Unlike the other things you should avoid that I’ve mentioned above, not wearing your ring while you are cooking is more about hygiene that potentially damaging your ring, although they can still fall off when washing your foods or hands.
This is because there are many areas of the ring where bacteria and other nasties can get trapped when you are cooking, especially if you are preparing raw meat or fish, which can lead to skin or health problems, especially if the ring isn’t cleaned afterwards.
The simple thing to remember is that your engagement ring is not invincible, it is made of soft and malleable metals that can quite easily get bent out of shape and in some cases, soft and brittle gemstones, so just be mindful of the situations where you wear your engagement ring.
3. Get Your Engagement Ring Checked Regularly
As I just mentioned above, engagement rings can get damaged and this is bound to happen at some point during it’s life, especially if it is worn every day like most engagement rings are.
This is why you want to get your engagement ring checked by a jeweller every so often, especially if the main stone is set in a claw setting and/or there are pave set stones on the ring, this is because:
- Claws can become loose – some precious metals don’t have very good metal memory and over time can become loose or the claw may get caught on something, causing it to bend out shape
- Ring bands can get bent – if you have pave set shoulders on your engagement ring, the Diamonds can become loose if the band gets bent slightly out of shape
Ideally, you should get your engagement ring checked at least once a year and the jeweller will be able to give the ring a check over and fix any issues (for a small fee), such as tightening the settings or reshaping the band and they may also give it a quick clean and polish but they may also be able to spot more noticeable issues such as:
- Cracks or splits in the band
- A worn or thin band
- Worn claws
This may require a more expensive repair but it is better to get this done and keep the ring in good condition as this reduced that chances of stones falling out or rings falling off.
If you have a White Gold Engagement Ring that has been Rhodium plated, you will also need to have the plating re-done on a regular basis, as for how often? this will depend on how much wear and tear the ring goes through on a daily basis, it may be every six months or every two years.
4. Avoid Resizing if Possible
Our bodies, including our hands and fingers change over time and also down to life events such as pregnancy and it can be tempting to get your ring resized so that you can continue wearing it but it is best to avoid doing this if possible, especially if your finger size is likely to change again in the future.
This is because getting your ring resized involves having metal removed or added to the ring but also reshaping the band to fit the new size, which can put extra strain on the metal and may increase the chances of it cracking along with adding solder joins to the ring, which can be another weak spot/s, especially if the ring has been resized multiple times.
If you have Diamonds set into the shoulder of the ring, resizing can also cause problems and can increase the chances of them falling out.
So resizing should be considered before being carried out and is only advisable if the change to your ring size is going to be permanent, if it is just a temporary change, then best to just leave to ring off until your finger returns to normal.
5. Keep Your Engagement Ring Safe
Whenever you aren’t wearing your engagement ring, you want to make sure that it is kept in a safe and secure place and some tips for this are:
- Keep it in a ring box or pouch – this keeps it away from other jewellery or things that may damage the ring
- Keep it in a safe or lockbox – many people keep engagement rings in jewellery boxes but it is best to keep it in a secure place, so should your house be broken into, there is less chance of your ring being stolen
By doing this, you are not only protecting the ring from getting damaged or lost but also reducing the chances of the ring being stolen.
Also do not remove your ring in a public place! I can’t really stress this one enough as removing your ring in public substantially increases the chances of your ring getting damaged, lost or stolen, so when you are out in public, just keep it where it is supposed to be.
6. Make Sure Your Ring is Insured
Engagement rings can have huge financial and sentimental value, so you want to make sure that you have adequate cover in place for your ring, should anything happen to it.
Many people just assume that their ring is covered by their home insurance but it may not be covered or covered correctly, this is because there are some things you need to do in order to make sure your engagement ring is covered correctly:
1. Get It Valued
When you are looking to get your ring insured, you first want to get it valued and this needs to carried about by a registered valuer as most insurance companies won’t accept valuations done by any old jeweller anymore.
This is because trained valuers understand the market and know how to correctly value all of the elements of the ring and will provide a correct valuation, these also need to be done every 3-5 years to ensure that the valuation is up to date as prices do fluctuate over time.
2. Check Your Cover
Once you have a valuation for your ring, you can then contact your home insurance company to see if:
- Your ring is covered
- How it is covered
Some home insurances will only cover an engagement ring up to a certain value and if yours is worth more than that, you may have to take out specialist insurance.
You also want to know how your engagement ring is insured, is it covered for:
- Accidental damage?
- Is it covered outside of the home and when you are on holiday?
By checking all of this, you can sleep soundly knowing that should anything happen to your treasured engagement ring, you are covered.
Your engagement ring is one of the most important items you will ever own, both emotionally and financially, so you want to look after it and by doing so, you help to prolong the life of the ring.
And by taking preventative measures to protect your engagement ring, you minimise the chances of your ring getting damaged or lost, which can be expensive and also emotionally upsetting.