Quality rings and jewels are meant to last a long time—a lifetime, even! It’s why we invest time and money choosing the perfect one. In fact, the engagement ring is one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, second only to the venue (including catering). But it’s also the part of your wedding that you’ll take with you everywhere you go—literally. As with anything, even high-quality items, caring for your engagement ring will lengthen its lifespan and keep it shining and sparkling the whole time you wear it.
Thankfully, caring for your engagement ring isn’t as daunting as it may sound. For an item with so much value, it’s simple to clean. Yes, you should still bring it to the professionals regularly. But you shouldn’t be scared to take proper care of it. That also includes knowing when to take it off, because daily wear and tear can dull and damage your ring. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. Let’s go through all the steps to caring for your engagement ring, starting as soon as you buy it.
1. Purchase ring insurance
This is the very first step in caring for your engagement ring because you can complete this step as soon as you purchase the ring—even before you’ve popped the question. This will protect the ring from loss and theft before, during, and after the wedding. If you already have home or auto insurance, you can usually add ring insurance to your plan for an extra monthly premium. But you can also get insurance directly from most jewelers. It all depends on the ring and the type of insurance that you want. (We answer all your ring insurance questions in this blog post.)
2. Clean it regularly at home
Regularly cleaning your ring at home will keep it healthier between jeweler visits and slow down natural wear and tear. Every few weeks, add warm water and one drop of mild dish soap to a small bowl or cup. Then let your ring soak in the mixture for 15 to 30 minutes. When the time is up, remove your ring and gently brush it with a soft bristle toothbrush. Finally, rinse the ring under warm water and dry it with a lint-free cloth. Just remember to close the drain before you handle your ring over the sink!
3. Visit your jeweler twice a year
Every six months or so, schedule a visit with your jeweler. They will check your jewels for chips and breaks—which can happen to any jewel, including durable diamonds! But they’ll also make sure the prongs of your setting are still in tact, so your jewels aren’t loose and ready to fall out.
You can also use this time to professionally clean your ring. Some metals require a little more TLC, like white gold. Over time, the white part of your white gold ring will wear, and the yellow gold underneath will start to shine through. Your jeweler can re-plate your ring, though!
4. Know when to take it off
Take your ring off whenever it’ll be in direct contact with equipment, objects, or a harsh environment. Of course, you’ll want to assess each situation as it comes. But in general, that means taking it off to work out, garden, move furniture, and wash dishes and during similar activities. You should also remove it before beach trips, kayaking, boating, or other water-related activities where it would be extremely difficult to retrieve.
We recommend having a single spot—or a few around the house—where you always put your ring, no matter what you’re doing. This may be a ring bowl by the kitchen sink, the drawer in your jewelry box, or even in small bowl in your home office or by your bed. That way, you always know where it will be when it’s not on your finger.
5. Know when to keep it on
Sometimes, though, taking your ring off isn’t the best idea. While we recommend taking the ring off at home washing dishes, we don’t recommend taking the ring off in public. So if you’re washing your hands at a restaurant, the mall, or somewhere else—keep it on! You’ll eliminate the risk of forgetting it or dropping it down the drain. If you don’t want to wear your ring in public, like for a day at the beach, then leave the ring at home in that same spot you always put it. Don’t bring it with you with the intention of taking it off for part of the day. You’ll risk losing it by putting it somewhere unfamiliar.
6. Consider a backup ring
We understand if you don’t want to be without a ring for a day at the beach or for an out-of-town vacation. That’s why many couples are also purchasing a backup ring, of sorts. Many jewelers and retail stores sell significantly less expensive costume jewelry that will look eerily similar to your authentic bling. The beauty of these ring doppelgangers, however, is that you can wear them to the beach or bring them abroad—and it’s OK if you lose it. It only cost a few bucks, and there’s no emotional attachment to it. While your expensive, authentic stays tucked away safely at home, you can worry-free keep up jeweled appearances all day.
Caring for your engagement ring is necessary to keep your ring in tip-top shape. But it’s not as much work as it sounds! All you need to do is designate a spot at home to leave your ring when you need to take it off, clean it a few times a year, and bring it to the jewelers a few times a year, too. We promise it’s not that scary! Not only will the attention to detail keep your ring in tip-top shape, it will keep its value and shine up, too.
How did you get your special bling? Share your engagement story with us in the comments below!