It goes without saying, but your sparkler is an important piece of jewelry. Proper engagement ring care should be a top priority after your significant other pops the question. After all, you've spent months, perhaps years, dreaming of the perfect engagement ring. So now that it's a permanent fixture on your left hand, you'll want to ensure it stays shiny and sparkly for years to come.
From avoiding certain chemicals to storage ideas, here are a few dos and don'ts for taking care of your engagement ring.
Do Purchase Insurance
"Insurance is necessary to protect your financial investment in the event that something gets lost, stolen, or damaged," says jewelry designer Sylvie Levine. "It is also important to have your jewelry appraised every five years as the cost of diamonds and precious metals go up. If you were to lose something which was appraised 10 years ago, the insured value would be far less than the actual replacement cost."
Don't Remove Your Ring in Public
Hand washing is a must in a public restroom, but resist the temptation to remove your engagement ring while you're lathering up. The possibility that you might leave your ring on the ledge of the sink or, worse, drop it down the drain, is too great of a risk.
Don't Touch the Center Stone
Wondering how to take care of your diamond engagement ring? Avoid touching the center stone at all costs. "Diamonds and other precious stones are magnets for dust, dirt, and body oil," says Taylor Lanore, diamond consultant and engagement ring designer for Lauren B. Fine Jewelry and Diamonds. "When you put on or take off your ring, try grabbing the band on either side of the stone instead of grabbing the stone itself. If your stone ever looks hazy or cloudy, it’s likely that something is stuck underneath it."
Do Keep Your Ring Clean
"Cleaning your gems with random cleaners at home is something I do not recommend," says LA-based jeweler Susan Foster of Susan Foster Jewelry. "Elizabeth Taylor would clean her 33.19 carat Krupp diamond ring with hot water, a toothbrush, and gin; however, taking your precious and sentimental engagement ring to an expert jeweler to get it properly steamed clean would be my recommendation."
Don't Treat Your Ring With Harsh Chemicals
According to Foster, you should always remove your ring when cleaning or touching harsh chemicals. "Bleach and other cleaning agents can dull the finish of a ring and actually harm porous colored gemstones like emeralds."
Don't Put Your Ring Through Needless Wear and Tear
"A diamond is one of the world's hardest natural materials," says Adelaide Polk-Bauman of Forevermark, "but that doesn't mean a cut and polished diamond cannot chip. Sometimes the table of a cut diamond can be susceptible to wear and tear. Be sure not to knock it against other hard materials."
Do Remove Your Ring During Hands-On Activities
"Make sure you’re taking off your ring during all hand-heavy activities (yes yogis, no downward dog in your engagement ring)," Lanore says. "I advise against gardening, cleaning dishes, moving furniture, and exercising with an engagement ring. Of course, you can use these rules on a case-by-case basis with good judgment."
Do Schedule Monthly Maintenance Appointments With Your Jeweler
"It is very important to schedule maintenance appointments with your jeweler at least once a year to make sure the prongs are tight, the diamond isn't loose, and there are no hairline cracks in the shank," Foster says. "All-around maintenance is vital."
Do Get a Pre-Wedding Professional Clean
Wedding right around the corner? Lanore says this is the best possible time to get your wedding bands professionally cleaned by a jeweler. "Your jeweler will have access to steamers and sonic cleaners, so take full advantage of those tools for your big day photos." Just hold off on wearing them until the day of your nuptials to maintain an ultra-clean, high-sparkle look.
Do Keep Ring Dishes Around the House
"I recommend a little ring dish bedside, one next to your sink in the bathroom, and one in the kitchen," Lanore says. "Your home is obviously the safest place to remove your ring, but don’t get so used to this that you remove it in public."
Lanore adds, "If you need to take if off while you're out and about, throw it on a necklace chain and wear it that way."
Do Professionally Clean 14K White Gold
If you have a 14K white gold engagement ring, "your setting will look a little worn with time and wear, but you can make it look brand new again by dropping it off with your jeweler to have it rhodium-plated," Lanore says. "Every time you scratch the surface of 14K white gold, it removes the white gold from that scratch. Thus, after some time, it can have a bit of a yellow tone to it. Again, this is an easy fix that your jeweler can assist you with."
Don't Get Ring Envy
Every bride has a different idea as to what her dream engagement ring will look like. Once you have that shiny stone on your finger, don't start comparing your ring with anyone else's. An engagement ring is a symbol of a couple's love and devotion, not a sign of status.