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Ring Care

With a little care your ring will maintain it's original beauty for many, many years. With common sense habits, regular cleaning and careful storage, caring for your engagement ring is very easy.  

When to Remove Your Ring

Take off your ring when going to bed to allow your skin to breath. Sleeping with your jewelry on will reduce it’s lifetime as the constant rubbing of bed sheets on metal and gems will abrade it over time.

Avoid wearing your ring while swimming.Your fingers could temporarily shrink in cool temperatures, allowing it to fall off. Please don’t build sand castles with your ring on. The sand can scratch your stone and metal and the ring can easily get lost.

Chloride in pool water can eat away your gold jewelry over time; sulfur in hot springs can tarnish silver and low karat gold jewelry.

Take your ring off before participating in sports or other vigorous activity that could involve sharp blows or contact with hard surfaces. Rock climbing with your engagement ring on, even if you wear gloves, is not a good idea. Sharp blows can dislodge a gem in it’s setting, chip or scratch it.

Remove your ring before applying makeup, lotion, or creams to your hands to avoid excessive buildup that can dull the stones. If you wash your hands with your ring on, rinse the ring well afterwards. Hand soaps do contain lots of oils that will dull your stone, watery soap always finds it’s way into settings and will make your ring look dirty and lifeless.

Take off your engagement ring before doing housecleaning or yard work or any other activity that involves harsh chemicals or rough equipment.

Don't wear your rings when operating equipment or machinery. There have been numerous accidents where fingers got injured or ripped apart when rings caught on something or got stuck in moving parts. If your fingers get swollen due to a finger injury, remove rings immediately. If you can't get it off, go to an emergency room to get it removed to avoid having blood flow to your finger restricted.

 

Metal Wear and Scratches

Normal wear and tear happens, and you will need to maintain your piece over the years. Precious metals wear down over time especially when worn every day like wedding or engagement rings. Platinum is the most resistant to wear of all the precious metals and will need less maintenance than Palladium, Gold or Silver alloys.

Please note that all metal will scratch. Softer metals like sterling silver will have deeper scratches than  gold, palladium or platinum rings. Finishes will change with wear, high polished rings will get a more satin look due to tiny scratches, while satin finishes will get a dull shine and show some shiny burnished marks where it got in contact with harder objects. Your ring will develop it’s own patina based on how you wear it. This patina gives character to your ring and tells a story of your life together.

Wearing any jewelry every day will let it show it's age. Nothing stays the same, nothing can remain perfect with wear. Over time, the ring will acquire a gorgeous patina of time where all the little marks will blend together and make the ring uniquely yours. All the marks are milestone in your relationship.

If you do like a clean slate a professional jeweler can polish out light scratches from time to time and give your ring a deep cleaning. It will look like new again. To give your polished silver, gold, palladium and platinum rings a quick polish yourself, use a special jewelry polishing cloth. The cloth should be kept in the packet when not used otherwise abrasive dust could accumulate on it.

Keeping Track of Your Ring

Place your ring in the same, safe place every day to avoid accidentally misplacing it. Don’t store it in the bathroom as moisture in the air may tarnish alloys such as silver quickly.

Avoid removing or placing your ring near vulnerable places, such as sinks or bathtubs, where it could easily be knocked off and lost. Store your engagement ring by itself in a safe place to prevent the jewelry from getting scratched or chipped by other gems.

Keep a little fabric pouch or zip lock bag in your purse for those times you have to take off your ring while being not at home. Wrap your ring in a tiny soft cloth and place in the pouch in a save small compartment of your purse where it does not get shuffled around with other objects.

 
Tips for Ring Storage

Protection from damage and theft should be your primary concerns when storing your engagement ring. Jewelry boxes should be lined with soft fabric. A diamond ring should be wrapped in soft fabric and placed in a padded jewelry bag for long-term storage. Never store diamond jewelry loose with other pieces. Diamonds, being the hardest material on earth, could easily scratch or nick other pieces, while the metals on the engagement ring can be damaged by other gems. It's best to keep seldom-worn jewelry in a safe deposit box.

 

Tarnish

Tarnish on sterling silver, silver/palladium or lower karat gold (14k) rings can develop if they are stored not properly in an air tight zip log bag, which will keep it away from air born pollutants. Tarnish develops quickly in a damp environment and is likely to happen in a sulfurous area. Hot tubs and hot springs often have sulfur in its water which will tarnish your jewelry. Keep in mind that some skin care products like Acne solutions do contain sulfur. Do not wear your ring when applying those products and wash your hands before putting your ring back on.

Tarnish is just a thin layer of oxide on the metals surface. In most cases it can easily be removed with a soft jewelry polishing cloth. If you wear your rings every day, tarnish usually does not develop as quickly as the rubbing of your skin on metal and the oils of your skin will keep it bright. However the wearers body chemistry can accelerate the development of tarnish. Certain acids in sweat can affect metals. But you have to keep it clean by gently washing and afterwards drying your silver jewelry immediately after wearing it. There are some recommended products that will remove light to heavy tarnish. But be careful as not all are safe to use on gemstones. Better use some special formulated silver or gold jewelry cleaners that are save to use with your particular gemstone.

Tarnish is less likely to occur on higher karat (18k) gold rings and very unlikely on platinum (950PT) and palladium (950PD) jewelry. Noble metals like gold, palladium and platinum do not tarnish in normal conditions. The higher the content of noble metals is in an alloy, the less likely they are to react to air or water pollutants and chemicals.

Ring Cleaning Tips

Simply wearing your engagement ring while washing your hands is not an adequate way to clean it. In fact, soaps and other cleaners used on your hands can cloud and dull your gemstone and metal. The ring should be cleaned periodically to keep it sparkling. Especially gemstone rings with light colored pale gems like white sapphires, aquamarines, topaz and many others will look dull and lifeless if not cleaned at least once a week. Diamonds and moissanites due to their unique internal optical properties and fire will look sparkly for a longer time, but still should be cleaned regularly.

If you experience any issues like rashes or dark stains on your skin after wearing your ring check out this blog post. Often dirt, cosmetics and soap scum get trapped on the inside and may give you irritations. A thorough cleaning should solve most of these issues. The ring may also be too tight and thus not leaving any room for your skin to breath.

Do-it-Yourself Cleaning

The easiest way to clean a ring is with a solution of warm water and mild liquid dish detergent (Dawn works really well or other non-lemon-scented phosphate-free detergent).

Don't do your cleaning over very hard surfaces like granite counter top or the kitchen sink unless you put down a soft towel. Your jewelry will get slippery and the items could be damaged if they are dropped. Place a plastic Tupperware in your sink, when the ring slips out of your hands it will just fall on soft plastic and not bounce on the hard enamel or steel surface of your sink.

Wet the ring with the water/soap solution and use a soft bristled brush like a baby tooth brush to loosen dirt. Gently brush the metal and the stone. Usually there is a hole on the inside of your ring under the setting that allows access to the underside of the stone for cleaning. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to pat the ring dry. Here a video that shows the process.

Store bought jewelry solutions may also be used for soaking rings. Read the instructions on the label carefully and check for which metals and stones the solution is save to use.

Ammonia (in a mild solution with three parts water) is particularly good for brightening yellow gold, but should never be used with fracture-filled diamonds as it may cause the diamonds to become cloudy or discolored. Don't use ammonia solutions on Sterling Silver rings.

Some ultrasonic cleaners can also be used on certain stones like diamonds and sapphires but are risky for some other gemstones (see table below). Emeralds, opals, pearls and amber should only be cleaned by a jeweler.

If your engagement ring contains different types of stones, be sure whichever cleaning method you choose is appropriate for all of them. Pearls, for example, are far softer and more delicate than many gems, and can easily be scratched or pitted by cleaning solutions recommended for diamonds.

Never use toothpaste or baking soda paste to clean your jewelry. Toothpaste is very abrasive and will scratch any fine jewelry metal, and even some gems.

 

Gemstone

Moh's Hardness

Toughness

Steam Cleaning

Ultrasonic

Alexandrite

8.5

excellent

usually

usually

Amber

2 - 2.5

poor

never

never

Amethyst

7

good

risky

usually

Aquamarine

7.5 - 8

good

risky

risky

Citrine

7

good

risky

usually

Diamond

10

good

usually

usually

Emerald

7.5 - 8

poor

never

never

Garnet

6.5 - 7.5

fair

never

usually

Iolite

7 – 7.5

fair

risky

risky

Jade

6.5 - 7

excellent

risky

usually

Lapis Lazuli

5 - 6

good

never

never

Moissanite

9.5

good

usually

usually

Morganite

7.5 - 8

good

risky

risky

Onyx

6.5 - 7

good

risky

Risky

Opal

5.5 - 6.5

fair

never

never

Pearl

2.5 - 4.5

good

never

never

Peridot

6.5 - 7

fair

never

risky

Rose Quartz

7

good

risky

risky

Rhodolite

6.5 - 7.5

good

never

usually

Ruby

9

excellent

usually

usually

Sapphire

9

excellent

usually

usually

Smokey Quartz

7

good

never

usually

Spinel

8

good

usually

usually

Tanzanite

6.5 - 7

fair

never

never

Topaz

8

poor

never

never

Tourmaline

7 – 7.5

fair

risky

risky

Turquoise

5 - 6

fair

never

never

Zircon

6.5 - 7.5

fair

risky

risky

 

Hardness and toughness are not directly related as the table shows. Hardness relates to scratch resistance, a materials ability to stand up to abrasion. Toughness is a measure of the ability of a mineral to absorb energy, and is a measure of how likely a material is to chip or break. Even though diamond is the hardest mineral it can chip and fracture in normal day to day wear and tear.

More gemstone info is available here.

 

Professional Cleaning

Rings can also be professionally cleaned if they become dirty. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are the most popular choices among jewelers. If your engagement ring has any serious flaws, such as fractures or cracks in the stone, be sure the jeweler is aware of them because certain cleaning techniques may exacerbate the flaws.

 

Maintaining Your Ring

Clean your ring at least once a week to keep it as brilliant as the day you first put it on.

Get your gemstone ring inspected at least twice a year by a qualified jeweler to guarantee the setting is secure. Have any repairs recommended by your jeweler performed right away.

 
Insuring Your Investment

Have the appraisal of your engagement ring updated every few years in case of loss. Insure your valuable engagement ring against theft, loss, or accidental damage via a homeowners or renters policy, or even better specialized jewelry insurance like Jewelers Mutual Insurance. Cost for these insurances are very reasonable and well worth the peach of mind. See also my warranty info for more information.

 

If in doubt just ask meabout unique care and cleaning requirements of the ring you purchased from me.

 

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