So that incredibly magical, blissfully surreal moment has finally happened! The forever together for life question was asked and now you are rockin’ a new accessory (yup, pun intended). Congratulations on the beautiful diamond engagement ring and the upcoming marriage, both truly amazing achievements in my book! Evidently, you have now reached the realization of not knowing how to care for your new, sparkly, luxurious best friend… leading you here to me! Today, we are going to discuss the very important dos and don’ts of engagement ring care so you can keep your stunning ring in prime condition for the rest of all time.
The care of a diamond engagement ring is fairly simple because diamonds are very hard, super durable gemstones - which means they won’t scratch easily, change colors, or fall apart during cleanings or repairs. This is actually a big reason the diamond has become so popular as the engagement ring stone of choice. If you have any other gem for your engagement ring, the care guidelines will be slightly (or dramatically) different than diamond care. Other stones can be scratched much easier or be destroyed by diamond cleaning practices so just be aware that not all stones are created equal.
Soapy water and an old toothbrush
But back to diamonds… the best and easiest at home care is literally warm, soapy water (Dawn dish soap is the best!), and a gentle toothbrush scrubbing around the stone. So simple right??! An everyday cleaning isn’t necessary, but if you want optimal sparkle at all times, you could probably scrub it every few weeks or so and that would be totally fine. This basic washing method is one of the few that is safe for pretty much all stones because it is such a mild cleaning technique….
A jeweler's ultrasonic machine and steamer
And then there are more aggressive cleaning practices that are totally safe for diamonds as well. Ultrasonic cleaners are perhaps the most common of these cleaning approaches. These cleaners tend to be a smaller machine, usually the size of a toaster (ish), that are filled with a liquid like water or a cleaning solution. High frequency sound waves are emitted, which agitate the fluid, essentially sending tiny cleaning bubbles at the dirty ring (or any other diamond jewelry). These mini Mr. Clean like bubbles will pull dirt and other contaminants off, giving you a squeaky clean diamond ring. I love love love the ultrasonic cleaner for diamonds but again, beware!!! Many other gemstones are not durable enough for this machine… they can literally fall apart.
Almost all jewelers should have an ultrasonic cleaner at their store so if you would prefer to take your ring in for professional cleaning, instead of doing it at home, you absolutely can. In fact - I highly recommend taking your ring in for a cleaning once or twice a year anyways so the ring can also be checked for loosening prongs (definitely don’t want your diamond to fall out) or anything else that could hurt your diamond ring. Prevention is easier (and cheaper) than reaction here!
Changing gears now, and this may or may not be a new concept for you, but I think ring insurance is something that is hugely beneficial - especially considering the value of your diamond. This extra protection will cover your ring if it is lost, stolen, damaged, etc… which just feels reassuring to me.
A safe place to store your ring when you're not wearing it (please take it off when you shower, do dishes, or get your hands dirty...you'll thank me later, I promise)
Keeping a consistent ring spot (or two) might be helpful in not losing your engagement ring. Keep a ring dish wherever you decide your designated spots should be and make sure you always put your ring in said dish when you take it off. Either that or you can attach one of those tracking gadget things that will send signals to your phone for easy ring locating. Okay I joke (kind of) but really a lost ring would be a true heart break.
Speaking of a cozy resting spot, when your ring is off for long periods (like maybe for vacay), store it in a soft lined box or silk bag. This is more so the metal of the ring doesn’t get scratched while hanging around other rando hard substances. The diamond is quite scratch resistant compared to almost everything else on Earth, but metals are not.
Polishing keeps your ring nice and shiny
The last Do I have for you (and depending on what metal you have for your band) is to occasionally have your metal buffed and polished, or even dipped. Dipping isn’t super common though because it is a rhodium plating technique that is usually reserved for white gold (so not every band is eligible). But both of these techniques can really brighten your metals after a couple of years of wear, which feels kind of like a little facelift for your ring.
On the flip side of cleaning… there are tons of products that are advertised for easy ring cleaning and sure, most of these can be safe for you to use. If the cleaning product has any harsh chemicals though, like bleach or ammonia, do not use! Look for chemical-free cleaners… these are the safest choices. This is extremely important for protecting the ring’s metal band because most typical ring metals will tarnish or break down when they come in contact with chemicals.
Don't wear your ring 24/7
Continuing on… I know one of the biggest questions about ring care, besides cleaning, is when to take it off and when to leave it on. While the reality is your ring is safe to wear almost all the time (during normal, daily life), taking it off for showers, or while cooking, is probably good practice. Regular things like shampoos, conditioners, lotions, cooking oils, food particles, etc. will gunk up your diamond… and a gunky diamond is not a happy diamond.
With that said, removing your ring at bedtime is completely personal preference… especially because sleeping isn’t normally very dangerous. However, it wouldn’t hurt to remove your ring while sleeping, if not for the pure safety of scratching yourself or slamming your diamond against a side table or bedpost.
I would also highly recommend taking your ring off before swimming, especially if you swim a lot. It’s that chemical thing again where chlorine can easily tarnish your metal band over time. Beyond swimming, taking your ring off in other athletic scenarios is a smart rule of thumb. This is especially true if your band is encrusted in tiny, melee diamonds. These small diamonds have a greater chance of getting loose and falling out… which, if it did happen, would only be a super sad day. Ring removal, in general, is not required but certainly advised!
Keep diamonds away from each other when storing...they aren't friends
Final Don’t… I know I said diamonds are quite scratch-resistant, and they are, but diamonds do and will scratch other diamonds, always! So, no matter what, definitely do not store your diamond engagement ring with your stud diamond earrings unless you want some scuffed up looking stones (#firstworldproblems).
As a gemologist, and a true diamond lover myself, my recommendation is always to be proactive with the maintenance and care of your engagement ring. Taking basic care of your posh diamond from the beginning will guarantee a lifetime of happiness… for both you and your new, tiny, sparkly bestie!