Only a lunatic would buy a car and never wash it, or invest in a house and never make repairs. So why would you invest in an engagement ring and never take care of it? This is not like that unfortunate hemp necklace you wore during your semester abroad–dirt and grime won’t add character to a diamond ring or a wedding band.
Daily wear takes its toll
Your wife may have a bit more experience taking care of a nice jewelry, but most of her other pieces won’t experience the same daily wear and tear as her engagement ring and wedding band.
- Lotions, makeup, and dead skin build up underneath the setting, combined with the natural oils in her hands, can dull the shine and sparkle of the stone and metals.
- A high profile setting runs the risk of getting snagged on clothing and handbags, especially if it has those little prongs that hold a traditional solitaire.
- At some point, someone is bound to get their ring hand slammed in a door or smashed under a box. No matter how well made a ring is, the setting can become loose and the stone can get lost. This is especially true of vintage rings.
Take it to the professionals
Every year or so, take the engagement ring back to the jeweler you bought it from, have them look at it under a magnifying glass and fix anything that has come loose. Even if you’ve moved away from your original retailer, most jewelers will offer maintenance and cleaning services for little to no charge.
The D.I.Y. approach
If you don’t have the time to swing by a jeweler, you can clean it yourself. But proceed with caution. Be wary of some of the commercially sold jewelry products, as many of those are specifically for one type of metal and hardstone only and can do more harm than good if used incorrectly. The same goes for ultrasonic cleaners, which can knock out a loose stone, especially in an antique piece.
Step 1: Create a bubble bath of warm water and mild dish soap (think Dawn) and give the ring a soak for about 20 minutes. If you have an engraved pattern on your ring you can take an extra soft toothbrush and give it a gentle scrub.
Step 2: Wipe it dry with a lint free cloth and you are good to go.
Want to see how it’s done? Check out this video.
If your ring is made from a more unconventional material like wood, skip the soak and just wipe your ring down with warm soapy water, rinse and then fully dry before wear.
Most jewelers will offer you recommendations on how to care for your ring, and some might even want to sell you a care plan or a specific cleaning product. While you are probably just fine with good old soap and water, it is worth considering them if you are nervous. But read the fine print, if all they are offering you is the occasional steam cleaning then they aren’t offering you much you wouldn’t get for free at a reputable jeweler anyway.
Here’s a link to great ring cleaning and care guide.
Know when to take it off
Fine jewelry is often made of both the strongest and most delicate materials in the world. While a diamond can only be scratched by another diamond softer gems like pearls can dissolve in common household cleaners, even vinegar. So be sure you take your rings off before you start scrubbing the bathtub. Removing rings whenever your hands are going to come in contact with cleaners, is not a bad idea.
If you are lifting weights or working with heavy machinery, you want to remove to prevent scratching or the bands being misshapen. This is especially true of rings that might have pave diamonds, wood or enamel inlays, or an engraved pattern.
Store it right
If you drop your dinosaur bone inlay wedding band next to your wife’s full carat solitaire and pave stackers every night, you run the risk of scratching up the much softer surface of your wedding ring. If your partner has a more elaborate set that requires an annual trip to the jeweler for a tune up, send your ring along for the ride. You want these rings to look as good in 50 years as they did the day you gave them to each other.
As always, it pays to insure your ring against any damage or loss. We’re big fans of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. They have comprehensive coverage for all of your jewelry, especially that new engagement ring, and have been protecting people’s most valuable jewelry for over a hundred years. If you need to repair or replace your ring, you couldn’t be in better hands.