Do You Need To Clean Your Engagement Ring?

When you accept your true love's proposal and you’re gifted an engagement ring, you may never want to remove it. It's likely your most precious possession, so it makes sense you want to wear it 24/7. But, you might be wondering: Do you need to clean your engagement ring? Because wearing something constantly probably means it'll get dirty.

However, the thought of taking your engagement ring off might shock you. I mean, who wouldn't want a piece of beautiful jewelry that symbolizes their union with their partner, sitting pretty on their finger? Sure, I totally get the feminist view point on engagement rings — that it's kind of archaic and sexist that tradition dictates that the woman in a hetero relationship wears an engagement ring, whereas the man's ring finger remains bare — but you could get your sweetheart an engagement ring too.

In the early days, there's a heck of a lot of flashing your ring at friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and anyone who vaguely knows you. So it might seem a little weird if you're caught sans engagement ring, especially if someone asks to see it. While there's certainly nothing wrong with removing your engagement ring for a specific reason (such as getting it cleaned) being seen in public without your ring finger jewelry could set the rumor mill spinning.

So do you really need to clean your engagement ring? Or can you leave it to its own devices? I spoke with some experts to find out.

"Diamonds are hydrophobic," explains Ali Galgano, gemologist and private jeweler at Serpentine Jewels, in an email to Bustle, "which makes them magnets for dirt, dust, and oil (especially from your fingers), so avoid touching your stone unnecessarily."

"If left uncleaned, a thin cement-like layer will build up on the surface of your diamond and obstruct light from entering its surface, dulling its sparkle. Light coming through a brilliant stone also masks the internal imperfections that almost all stones have, so the cleaner the diamond, the more perfect it appears," she elaborates. According to Galgano, you definitely need to clean your engagement ring.

So how can you tell if your ring is due for a clean? Galgano advises, "If you haven’t cleaned your ring in a while, hold it up to a light and take a look at it from the bottom — chances are that you won’t be able to see clearly into the stone. This is due to all the lotions, dead skin, and everyday substances that we transfer to our stones, which develop into a hardened film (gross!)." Pretty gross indeed.

For a clear cut answer on how often you should clean your engagement ring before it gets grubby, jeweler Constance Howarth of Constance Isobel, recommends over email, "I personally wouldn't clean my ring more than once a month. I would always take it off before doing any jobs, such as gardening or baking, where dirt could easily get into the setting."

Of course, you can clean your engagement ring at home, but if you prefer to entrust your ring to the pros, Howarth explains, "Many jewellers use professional ultra sonic cleaners to help clean up high quality diamond jewelry. These are perfect for diamonds as they are the hardest stone and will not be damaged in this machine."

But, if you fancy giving it a go yourself, she says, "You can buy smaller, less powerful versions of these from hardware shops to have at home, however if your engagement ring has any other type of stones alongside the diamond, for example an emerald or ruby, I would be very cautious in placing these in the ultra sonic, perhaps only for a few seconds at a time."

"Do not put soft stones such as pearls and amber (etc.) in the machine," Howarth warns.

"It’s likely that your engagement ring is one of the biggest purchases your partner has ever made," says Galgano, "and both you and he/she are very proud of it. Respect the love (and financial resources!) that went into it by caring for your diamond with regular maintenance that will maintain its beauty."

To summize: You need to regularly clean your engagement ring if you want it to stay sparkling. Besides, nobody wants to show off a grimy engagement ring!

Images: Ben White (1), Jeremy Bishop (1), Alisa Anton (1), jesse orrico (1), Giulia Bertelli (1) /Unsplash