8 ways you could damage your engagement ring - without even realising it
As love bloomed during lockdown, our engagement ring sales soared by over 50% in comparison to 2019.
And, whilst many couples will be keen to showcase their new bling at every opportunity, an engagement ring can very easily be damaged if you don’t take proper care of it.
Whilst diamonds and precious stones are tough, they aren’t indestructible, and there are a number of everyday activities that can cause them to become chipped, scratched, or broken. This is not only upsetting, but could also be very expensive, with repair work costing between £30 to £350.
Steven Stone diamond specialist, Max Stone, said: “An engagement ring is a meaningful piece of jewellery that needs a lot of care and attention. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the simple things that can damage a diamond, or a ring with a precious or semi-precious stone. We often help customers who have unexpectedly damaged their ring after wearing it during a gym session, whilst cleaning the house, and even whilst asleep."
“The cost of repairs can be expensive, especially if there’s a missing stone, so we urge all our customers to be aware of when it’s perfectly fine to remove their ring.”
With an average of 16,260 Google monthly searches, questions around “how to care for an engagement ring” are now four times higher than they were before lockdown, suggesting an increasing number of couples are keen to keep their rings looking new and sparkling.
To answer the question, and help you keep your engagement ring in perfect condition, our diamond experts reveal nine common ways you could be damaging it- without even realising.
You wear it when you apply hand sanitiser
Over the last year, hand sanitiser has become a staple item applied multiple times a day. However, did you know excessive exposure to hand sanitiser could be making your stones lose their sparkle? Frequent contact with antibacterial ingredients can break down the brilliance of metals and gems over time, whilst making the finish on white gold wear a little faster.
Not only this, but you can also destroy the setting, too, as the consistent use of hand sanitiser can loosen the prongs that hold diamonds in place. Although the damage will be gradual, our expert jewellers suggest removing your ring when applying any antibacterial solution and waiting until it’s completely dried on the skin before popping it back on your finger.Although the damage will be gradual, our expert jewellers suggest removing your ring when applying any antibacterial solution and waiting until it’s completely dried on the skin before popping it back on your finger.
You wear it when you do the cleaning
If you don’t wear rubber gloves when you do your household cleaning, you might want to take your engagement ring off, as there’s a high chance it will be damaged by harsh cleaning products.
Bleach and common abrasive cleaners can eat away at the metal, whilst also damaging weaker stones such as topaz, aquamarine, and amethyst.
Not only this, but even washing the dishes can cause potential damage to your ring. When you're scrubbing a pot with a rough sponge or pad, you're risking scratches, and if it’s a little loose, it could slip off in the sink. We say take it off, just to be safe.
You exercise with it on
If you’re planning on hitting the gym when they reopen, lock your ring in the changing rooms, otherwise it won’t just be the treadmill making you sweat.
Building muscle in the weights room is a popular choice for many, but it’s also a high danger zone for diamonds, so keep them out if you can.
This is because the pressure of the weight's bars could bend the band of your ring whilst in your grip. Weightlifting is especially bad for a pavé band because the smaller stones can fall out of their setting.
If you prefer to skip the gym and head straight to the pool, unfortunately, swimming can also destroy your ring. Just like hand sanitizer, the chlorine in swimming pools can cause discoloration to your band and stone. Swimming can also greatly affect your body temperature, causing your finger to shrink in size, meaning your ring could easily slip of in the water.
You use common hacks to clean it
With over 4,400 searches a month on average, “How to clean an engagement ring?” is becoming an increasingly popular question posed to Google.
However, when it comes to precious stones, there’s a lot of confusion about how they should be cleaned. Whilst celebrity cleaning star, Mrs Hinch, frequently shares miracle tips for cleaning jewellery using baking soda, white vinegar, and bicarbonate of soda, this method should only be applied to silver jewellery – never on diamonds, precious stones, gold, or platinum.
Diamond experts at Steven Stone said: “An engagement ring should be professionally cleaned by a jeweller every six months, however it also needs to be cleaned at home once a week.
“Never use chemicals or acidic products to clean an engagement ring, including store bought jewellery cleaner. Simply let the ring soak in warm water and washing up liquid for around 20-30 minutes. After soaking, gently polish using a cotton towel or scrub dirt off gaps and engravings with a soft toothbrush and rinse with clean water.”
You wear it on the beach
Although foreign holidays aren’t on the cards right now, it’s hoped that we’ll be able to get to bathe on the beach by the time summer arrives.
The beach is a proposal hotspot for many couples, however it’s not the safest place to wear your new engagement ring, as sand can cause major damage. Without you even realising it, small grains can get wedged in the setting of your ring, which can loosen the prongs and make your rock susceptible to falling out.
Alongside this, if you're using sun lotion, the product can cause build up on your diamond, making it look a little grimy and dull.
You leave it on when you shower
We know showering will keep our skin clean, but did you know it could actually make your engagement ring look dirty? Scented soaps, shampoos, and conditioners can cause cloudy build-up on your stone, or worse, under your stone—which is much harder to clean. Although, wearing it once or twice is unlikely to do any harm, long-term exposure to these products could cost you a lot of money over time.
When you get out of the shower, don’t immediately put the ring back on if you plan to apply body lotion or moisturiser as these thick lotions can also dull the stones and metal, making them look worn and dirty.
You wear it during sleep
Although diamonds score a solid 10 on the Mohs scale, making them the strongest stone overall, other gemstones can be fragile – which means you must take extra caution when you wear them.
Softer stones including opal and pearl aren’t usually recommended for engagement rings, however many people still opt for them due to their beauty and romantic symbolism.
If you do have a fragile stone in your engagement ring, you should probably avoid wearing it when you go to bed.
Engagement ring expert, Max Stone, said: “If you toss and turn a lot throughout the night, don’t wear your engagement ring when you go to bed as there’s a chance it could snag on your bedding and damage one of your ring’s prongs.
“Not only this, but sleeping can cause you to put more body weight on your hands which adds extra pressure to the ring, potentially causing it to lose it’s shape and at risk of losing a stone.”
You clap your hands a lot
Believe it or not, clapping your hands too much can destroy your engagement ring. Although you might be clapping in excitement, if you wear rings on each hand, they’ll bang together when your hands meet, which can make the metal brittle and increase the risk of a stone coming lose or falling out.
In 2017, Nicole Kidman was mocked for ‘seal clapping’ at the Oscars, after being snapped clapping with just her palms, keeping her fingers bent backwards.
However, when interviewed on her unusual technique, Kidman admitted it was to protect her jewels. In the interview, she said: "It was really difficult because I had a huge ring on that was not my own, but it was absolutely gorgeous and I was terrified of damaging it."
Perhaps, we’ll give the star’s ‘seal clap’ a try ourselves…
If your engagement ring looks like it needs a clean and polish, or you’ve lost a stone and need to get it repaired or remodelled, we offer a number of services to help you get your jewellery sparkling again. Simply speak to one of our experts or book a virtual consultation.