Your diamond engagement ring is one of the most valuable objects you'll ever own, even if only in terms of its sentimental worth. But what's the best way of cleaning it? Expert jeweller Lewis Malka has the answer.
When someone asks you to marry them and presents you with a beautiful diamond engagement thing, what that person wants most of all is for you to say the word ‘Yes’ (hopefully like you really, really mean it) and that you’ll wear it for the rest of your days.
That’s the plan. And if the plan works, then your diamond engagement ring will soon become something beautiful that, for the most part, you won’t even be aware you’re wearing.
But even though it might seem like a ring just sits on your finger doing nothing, its component parts still make it a very delicate object – and for something so relatively fragile, it takes quite a lot of punishment over the days, weeks, months and years.
Think about how often you knock your hand against something, the applause at every show or school performance, the salt and grime from your skin (not to mention the dead skin cells themselves – with apologies to anyone who might be eating while reading this), the soap residue from doing the dishes, the manipulation and stress you put on it merely by taking it off and putting it on ...
It all mounts up.
And yet this is a piece of jewellery that, quite apart from the sentimental value it holds, is financially valuable as well. Diamond engagement rings come in all shapes, all sizes and with all price tags – often for many thousands of pounds, and so it pays to look after it well.
But what’s the best approach when it comes to looking after this amazing piece of jewellery that’s so precious to you?
There are two types of cleaning when it comes to ensuring your engagement ring always looks its best. There’s the day to day cleaning that you can do at home, and there’s the professional cleaning service a jeweller like me can provide.
The truth is, you’re going to need to use both approaches if you’re serious about looking after your ring well.
There’s no definitive advice on what your day-to-day cleaning routine should be, but as a decent rule of thumb, you’ll want to clean your ring once every couple of weeks using some warm water and good quality washing-up liquid.
Hold the ring between your thumb and forefinger and then use an old toothbrush to gently tap the underside of the setting and brush away any small amounts of loose dirt. Dry it with some kitchen roll – not with tissues or toilet roll, which tends to leave fibres behind.
Make sure all soap is removed – dried soap residue, hand lotions and cooking ingredients make up the most common forms of dirt found behind the diamond.
Sometimes you might find that all your ring really needs is a thorough rub over with a polishing cloth.
I’d recommend you bring your ring to me twice a year to be professionally cleaned. Jewellers use ammonia-based products to clean jewellery pieces, and we’re trained how to do that in a way that preserves the life of your prized object.
Tempting though it may be to look for online advice and tutorials about using ammonia to clean your jewellery, don’t give in to it – you can cause damage to yourself and your engagement ring if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
When you bring the ring to be cleaned professionally, I can also check the setting to make sure it’s stable, and adjust it if it isn’t, which means you’re far less likely to lose the stone as the years of wear take their toll.
Finally, make sure your diamond engagement ring is valued regularly and insured for the correct amount. I’ve lost count of the number of clients who’ve had a piece of jewellery valued once soon after they bought it only to find, when the piece is lost or stolen years later, that the valuation and insurance cover doesn’t match its true value.
Looking after your diamond engagement ring doesn’t need to be a chore – and being organised about it will pay dividends in wearing something that always looks fabulous.