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Why Can Engagement Ring Cleaning Be Dangerous?

Q Report Team
Updated on October 06, 2022
5 min read

 

For many of us, jewellery is our most valuable possession — not just in terms of its sentimental value, but often its financial value.

Whether your engagement ring is an heirloom that’s been passed down through generations in your family or a designer ring that cost three months (or more) of your salary, loss or damage isn’t something you want to be faced with.

Here are some useful tips on engagement ring cleaning to help you get the most out of your jewellery and ensure it stays lustrous and beautiful for years to come.

General Tips

Let’s start with some general advice and then we will get to the potential problems.

  • Always keep your jewellery in a clean, dry place — preferably in a fabric-lined jewellery case with compartments and dividers, this stops the scratching of metal against metal and the same with stones.
  • Keep each item of jewellery in a separate container, or wrap them in tissue paper. Jumbling pieces together can result in scratches and other types of damage.
  • Make sure not to leave your jewellery on the rim of the sink or basin when washing your hands to prevent it falling down the drain. You could also lose a small stone due to impact on the basin.
  • Ask your jeweller to assess your jewellery at least once a year for signs of wear and tear, like loose prongs or worn mountings
  • Have your jewellery cleaned by a professional every six months

In addition to the points above, some jewellery requires specific care.

Diamonds

  • Make sure to take off diamond jewellery, particularly rings, when doing physically intensive work. Diamonds might be the hardest natural substance, but remember everything has a weak spot. Diamonds such as princess cuts are particularly susceptible to the corners being chipped.
  • Keep your diamonds clear of chlorine bleach or other household chemicals — chlorine can stain or damage the mounting on your jewellery.
  • Only clean your diamonds with a commercial jewellery cleaner, a mix of ammonia and water, or a mild detergent. Dip the jewellery into the cleaner and use a soft brush to clear any dirt or dust without scratching it.

Tips and tricks for engagement ring cleaning.

Gold

  • Ask your jeweller to recommend an engagement ring cleaning product and use a chamois to keep your gold jewellery lustrous. A soft chamois with a jewellery polisher compound can do miracles to a gold ring or bracelet with a gentle rub.
  • Remove grease and oils from jewellery by dipping them in a bowl of methylated spirits. You can soak the jewellery for 10-15 minutes, this helps dissolve the oil and hand creams. You can then use an old toothbrush to help brush off or dislodge the dirt. Follow this with boiling hot water (watch your fingers). We suggest transferring the rings to another bowl, add the hot water, and even do this a few times, then rinse off with cold water.

Sterling Silver

  • Clean silver jewellery with soapy water — allow it to bead up, then pat it dry with a soft cloth. If that isn’t doing the trick, ask your jeweller about an appropriate jewellery cleaner to remove more stubborn dirt.
  • Silver is highly susceptible to scratching, so make sure you store each piece in a cool, dry place, preferably in a tarnish-preventing bag.
  • Only ever use a polishing cloth or a fine piece of felt to clean your silver jewellery — tissue paper and paper towel are made up of tiny fibres that can cause scratches.
  • Remove tarnish from silver jewellery with a very easy magic trick. Put a plug in the sink, then fill the sink with hot water and add some soap. Place a piece of aluminium foil in the bottom. Drop your silver jewellery in and watch the oxidation disappear like magic as it’s a chemical reaction to the aluminium. Then just remove and rinse off in plain water.

Here’s a summary of the most important do’s and don’ts for engagement ring cleaning:

Hairspray and spray perfume can destroy certain gemstones, especially opals and pearls. Both are porous, meaning they will easily absorb this chemical and will lose their colour and lustre.

Using a pin or a sharp object to get the dirt from behind the stone can sometimes force a stone to move which could lead to it being dislodged and lost if it suffered a hit.

We have heard the stories of stones being swapped when jewellery was taken to jewellers. This is probably the most unlikely thing to happen, and if you felt uncomfortable with a jeweller, don't leave your jewellery with them. It is highly unlikely any reputable jeweller would ever risk their reputation, but if you wanted to be extra careful with a very valuable item, you could ask the jeweller to do two things with you before you leave it with them.

The first is if they can look at the stone with an eyeglass and see if there are any unique marks in the stone or on its surface. It could even be a scratch only visible under an eyeglass. Showing you this mark means that when you pick it up the jewellery he or she can point it out to you again on collection, so you know it's your stone. The second thing is if you have a diamond certificate that you got with the original ring , bring it with you to the jeweller and ask them to copy down on your receipt the specifications of the diamond as per the certificate so there is no “gray area”  as to what you dropped off to be cleaned.

engagement ring on hand

Sometimes people want to clean their chains and buff them with a cloth. The danger here is that the links in the chain can be put under extreme strain as you may not realise how much pressure you are applying to the chain, due to lack of experience, which could lead to a chain or bracelet snapping, or severely weakening the item. A slight tug from a caught piece of clothing and you lose it without even knowing it's fallen on the floor.

DO read the labels on engagement ring cleaning chemicals and other supplies – what is safe for one kind of jewellery may still damage another.

DO use warm water, mild dishwashing soap, and a soft-bristled brush and cloth. Soak your ring in water with a little mild liquid soap, then gently brush above and below the gemstones. Dab it dry with the soft cloth.

DO insure your jewellery with Q Report Jewellery Insurance to ensure peace of mind — you’ll be protected if any of the worst case scenarios above occur!

If you’re looking for a way to keep your jewellery safe, Q Report’s comprehensive, tailored jewellery insurance might be right for you. Find out more here.

 

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