Lucinda Andrews, Marketing Director at Weir & Sons advises how to ensure your engagement ring remains as brilliant and bright as when you first saw it.
Jewellery is precious to us all, none more so than our prized engagement ring so we like to keep it looking pristine and at its best. As we go about our daily lives, jewellery naturally gets dirty from general wear, skin oils, creams, soaps and various cosmetics that it is exposed to.
The hardest natural substance on earth, a diamond can cut any kind of rock or metal. In fact, these precious gems are so resilient, only another diamond can cut a diamond. Other than their sheer brilliance, this is one reason diamonds are used in pieces such as engagement rings - their durability.
To start with, handle your diamond as little as possible – diamonds are a natural magnet for grease with the oils from your fingers affecting its brilliance and making it look dull. In between professional cleans, a home solution is to soak your diamond in a degreasing solution (Fairy Liquid and warm water are good) once or twice a month for 20 to 40 minutes or try Hagarty’s Jewel Clean and Hagarty’s Jewel Cloth which are available from Weir & Sons (always read the instructions on any cleaning solution). These home cleans can help to tide you over between professional cleans, at Weir & Sons, we use an ultrasonic machine that provides an unrivalled deep clean, removing the hard layers of deep, compressed dirt.
When cleaning at home and working over a sink, make sure the plug is in just in case you drop the piece first of all. A soft, clean toothbrush (a child’s toothbrush is ideal) is a good way to loosen dirt from your diamond. Always be gentle with your diamond and do not rigorously scrub, brush gently and rinse under warm running water, you can repeat the process if needed. You want to make sure that you are not loosening any stones. If your stone is loose, we would advise you have this looked at by a professional and avoid wearing the piece until you have done so. When it comes to drying off, avoid any rough materials and use a soft cotton cloth or air dry.
If you ever notice that your ring is loose make sure you remove it straight away and put it in a safe place until you get your finger size rechecked. We have heard lots of stories of people losing their ring swimming, including one story of a newly engaged customer who lost the ring swimming as it hadn’t yet been sized to fit and it was never found. Depending on the setting and size difference, resizing your ring will be an easy process that takes less than a week, and it's well worth it for the peace of mind! Resizing can be a little more complex for rings with detailed bands or stones set into the band as these have to be moved and reworked. In these cases, you can add a small ring under the existing ring. The tighter ring will fill out the larger band, keeping it in place.
Do examine your diamond on a regular basis, note if there are any fibres caught in the claws as it might need its claws checked by your jeweller. It is good to get your jeweller to check the claws every now and then, particularly if it is an older ring, antique or vintage. If you have a white gold diamond ring, it is recommended that you get it rhodium plated every 12-18 months dependent on wear. Aim to give your ring a home clean once every week or so, with a professional clean in a jeweller’s approximately once every six months. Avoid any hard household cleaners such as bleach, acetone or chlorine coming into contact with your ring as it can damage the base metals in your ring.
Some stones are more easily damaged than others, whether it's the risk of scratching, damaging the shine or even destroying the colour. If you've said I do to a ring with an Emerald, Pearl, Opal, Coral, Tanzanite, Turquoise, Vermeil, paste stone or Peridot setting, then do not apply the above techniques to any item listed in the caution section! This also rings true with costume jewellery. Be sure to know what the make-up of the piece is before you begin cleaning.
If your tastes have changed and at some point you decide you would like to repurpose your ring, this is always a possibility at any good jewellers. It is only natural that tastes change over time and even better that you can use what you already have to make a new creation. Whether it's restructuring the band, adding new details or taking the stones out and putting them in a brand new setting or finish; A good jeweller will be able to tell you the options, give their advice and maybe even inspire a design you would have never considered before! This is an heirloom piece that you'll wear for the rest of your life and possibly pass down to future generations so don't be afraid to adapt it as your style grows!