To Have and To Hold: Preventing Damage to Wedding and Engagement Rings
By Ashley Bailey , Friday, October 15, 2010
You’ve said your vows, you’ve had the honeymoon, and you’ve shown off your gorgeous new wedding and engagement rings
to everyone from the dry cleaner to the Starbucks barista. But in order to keep your rings looking as gorgeous in the years to come as they do right now, it’s important to learn a little about what can damage wedding and engagement rings, and what you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen.
You’ve probably heard that diamonds
are the world’s hardest mineral, and although that is true, that doesn’t mean that they cannot be damaged or chipped. Additionally, even the strongest, best-constructed ring setting
can be vulnerable to damage in accidents or just through years of daily wear and tear. Your engagement and wedding rings are probably your most valuable and sentimentally important pieces of jewelry you own, and paradoxically, since you wear them the most, they are most vulnerable to damage.
Some sources will warn you that your stone is most likely to be damaged when it is out of its setting and being cleaned or handled by a jeweler. This should not be a problem if you find a reputable jeweler to fix and clean your engagement and wedding rings. Don’t trust a jeweler who promises deals that sound too good to be true—he may not be properly certified to set or clean stones. At the same time, mistakes can happen--it’s a good idea to examine your stone under a microscope and double-check that it has the same engraved serial number on the girdle as it had when you dropped it off.
The most important part of keeping your rings safe and secure is storage. Never put your rings into a loose jewelry box where they can knock against other pieces of jewelry. A cloth-lined dish can safely hold your rings while you sleep, or you can simply keep them in the boxes they came in.
If you are storing and cleaning your jewelry properly, you should be able to wear your engagement and wedding rings for many years without any damage. All the same, it is wise to periodically check for loose stones, which can happen even in the best quality ring due to repeated low-level stresses to the band. Check to make sure that the prongs are pressed firmly against the stone, and are not lifted or pushed to the side.
Examine the melée diamonds (the small decorative diamonds on the ring band) to make sure none are loose or missing. One quick way to check for loose stones is to hold the ring up to your ear and tap on the metal of the shank with a fingernail. If there are loose stones, you will hear rattling.
It is a good idea to have your wedding and engagement rings
inspected once or twice a year by a professional jeweler to make sure that there are no damages. Its better to find out you have a loose center stone and have it fixed, than to look down one day and see four empty prongs staring back up at you! Scratched gold or platinum on the ring band can be re-polished to a high sheen without any significant weight loss. Additionally, white gold wedding or engagement rings will need to be re-dipped in rhodium every few years to maintain their bright white shine.
An engagement or wedding ring, like the finest car or highest quality watch, will require regular maintenance to keep it in perfect condition. Everyday life can make a ring dirty or scratched, no matter how careful you are. So, while you should be as careful as possible and not wear your ring during high-intensity or dirty activities, you should expect your ring to need cleaning, polishing and other maintenance. It is absolutely normal and will happen even to the most expensive or highest quality ring. With a little foresight and a little TLC, you should be able to pass your wedding and engagement ring set on to the next generation looking as sparkly and gorgeous as it did on the first day you put it on.
For more specific questions ask our experts