PROPER RING CARE AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
By Andrew Mills, GIA Graduate Gemologist
There is a very common misconception that diamonds and platinum are the hardest materials out there and that makes them virtually indestructible. While diamond is the hardest natural material on earth, under the right circumstances, a diamond can be broken, chipped, or scratched. Diamonds can take a fair amount of abuse, but the part of the ring that is most vulnerable to heavy wear and tear is the metal itself, particularly small prongs. Platinum and gold are both very durable metals that can withstand wear every day, but wearing a ring too hard can be easier than one might think! They are made to be tough, but pretty much any activity where you are using your hands roughly, during sports, chores, using tools, gardening, carrying hard/heavy objects, hard grip, and of course getting it caught on something, can lead to heavy wear.
The first step in preventative maintenance is to make sure the ring fits your finger perfectly. When there is too much extra space and the ring is spinning and moving, extra pressure is added to the shank, or band of the ring, making it easier to bend out of shape during the discussed types of activities. When the metal gets misshapen the tiny beads holding the pave set diamonds can become loose causing the diamonds to fall out. We can always help make sure your ring is the proper size!
Another way to prevent damage is to wear the ring consciously and cautiously. Try to always be aware of the ring on your finger and how it is coming into contact with surfaces around you. Even activities like gripping a treadmill, dishes, laundry, carrying something very heavy, etc can bend a platinum or gold shank. Also, be aware of other jewelry coming into contact with your ring. When wearing rings next to each other, including a wedding band, how the rings sit next to each other should always be taken into account. Prongs sticking out from a band that are rubbing against prongs on the other ring will quickly cause damage, so they should always be able to sit properly next to each other. Your reputable jeweler can help guide you toward the right type of band or other rings that will not conflict with your piece.
Other than being conscious of how you wear your ring, taking it off when in safe locations, where you have a designated spot for taking it off, can prevent heavy wear. Two of the most common instances in question are the shower and sleeping with a ring on. Showering is usually fine as long as you are careful when running your finger through hair and sponges. Excessive exposure to cleaning agents, hand sanitizer, lotions, etc, can make a finish on white gold wear a little faster, but it should not damage your ring at all. We usually say that wearing a ring to bed is a big no-no. Fabric is perhaps a pavé settings’ worst nightmare. Fibers rubbing and catching on small prongs, even while you are asleep can cause the prongs to wear down more quickly, or even get caught and pull a prong away from a stone. Keep a jewelry box near your nightstand where you always know it is safe and convenient.
Here at Lauren B, we are known for making super delicate rings completely by hand, including the fact that each stone on the ring is hand set. This makes the nature of our pave settings a little stronger than a standard machine casted rings because each prong is examined and finished individually. That being said, our rings are often thinner than what is available elsewhere, so extra care must be taken to ensure they retain their integrity and shape as outlined above!
As far as keeping your ring clean, that is simple! Almost all jewelers use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a dish soap or mild cleaning detergent to scrub all around the ring inside and out and underneath in order to remove heavy build up. If this is done regularly, it will keep it consistently sparkly and easier to clean very quickly. This is really all that is necessary to maintain a clean ring! The next step is to steam clean a ring using a pressure steamer. Many jewelers will give it a quick steam for you, but keep in mind that they will almost always tell you that taking a ring into their possession for even a few minutes is not their responsibility should a small stone fall out due to high pressure steam. It is not the steam that will cause this, it is previous damage done to a small prong that means that small stone was already loose. If VERY cautious, an espresso machine steam wand is the equivalent of a high pressure steam cleaner, so you can keep your ring super clean AND enjoy a hot beverage! For additional tips on keeping your ring clean please read here
When in doubt, always ask! One of us here at Lauren B can always give you tips on how to clean and maintain your ring so that it lasts a lifetime, so don’t hesitate to call or email!