Your engagement ring is a timeless reminder of the moment your beloved asked you to be theirs forever, so, naturally, you want to take care of it.
Regardless whether your engagement ring is a blinding diamond or something less blingalicious, you can expect your daily chores and activities to lead to a certain degree of wear and tear, and that the natural oils form your skin may eventually dull its beautiful lustre.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to ensure your ring stays in pristine condition for as long as possible.
1. Remove your ring when doing household chores
Removing your ring might seem like the sensible thing to do before cleaning the oven or scrubbing the bath, but you’d be surprised at how many people simply forget to do so – or don’t even consider it necessary. Household cleaning products are deceptively corrosive, and, over time, can cause a residual build-up that eventually begins to tarnish the metal.
Friction caused by washing up and scrubbing can also be damaging, causing dents and surface scratches, as well as loosening the prongs that hold the ring’s stone (or stones) in place.
Remember, however, that it isn’t only heavy-duty chores that could damage your ring. Other activities such as gardening, DIY work or swimming have the potential to damage either the metal or the stone or both. Similarly, blows received during sports have the potential to knock stones out of their settings, so if you’re unsure about the impact of an activity or chemical may have on your ring, err on the side of caution and remove it.
2. Establish a proper cleaning routine
Diamonds may be the hardest substance known to man but that doesn’t mean they can’t lose their shine and sparkle. The natural oils secreted by your skin are one of the leading causes of residual build-up on diamonds (and, naturally, other stones), and if left to build up over time, can lead to discolouration of the surface of the stone.
Fortunately this can be avoided with a regular cleaning routine, and the occasional ultrasonic treatment by your jeweller.
You can, however, do the basics at home by regularly soaking your ring in warm water with a few dashes of a mild dishwashing liquid for about 30 minutes. Of course, there are plenty of reputable and affordable jewellery cleaners available and they’re designed specifically for this purpose.
Whichever route you choose, you can remove any particularly stubborn dirt and grime by gently rubbing a toothbrush around the stone’s setting, then tapping it gently to dislodge any debris that may remain.
Repeat the process if required, before dabbing dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
3. Regularly check your settings
No matter how expensive the ring, it’s inevitable that with time and wear, the tiny prongs that hold the stone/s in place will weaken or bend.
One of the simplest ways to test the rigidity of the prongs is by holding your ring close to your ear and gently tapping it with your fingernail.
Any slight rattling denotes a shifting of one or more of the prongs – usually a sign that the stone may need to be reset by a professional jeweller.
Although resetting can be costly, it’s far better than actually losing a stone, which can be significantly more expensive to replace, so if you’re not confident doing it yourself, take it to your jeweller who can easily and quickly do it for you professionally.
4. Get your ring appraised and insured
Though no amount of money will ever make up for the sentimental value of your engagement ring, you’re going to be devastated if you lose it or, worse still, if it is stolen.
Some solace may be gained from a replacement and the safest way to ensure it can be replaced is to insure it. A quick call to your home insurer might suffice for new electrical gadgets and furniture, but when it comes to your engagement ring, you should always get a thorough appraisal before having it listed or re-listed on your policy.
This is primarily because the value of metals such as gold, silver and platinum is wont to change quite often and this, in turn, can affect the intrinsic value of your ring.
You should also consider getting your ring appraised every few years to ensure it is insured for the correct amount.
If you were to lose it, or worse, it is stolen and hasn’t been insured for the correct amount, you could find the replacement value is significantly lower than your ring was actually worth.
5. Store your ring safely
When you do take off your ring, don’t just shove it in a drawer somewhere or in a bag, box or bowl with other jewellery.
This can lead to stones knocking (and, possibly, damaging) each other, which completely defeats the purpose of taking it off in the first place.
Store it in something that has individual compartments that are, preferably, lined.
Oh, and don’t forget that all the rules above apply to any of your non-costume jewellery, including your wedding ring!