If the thought of wearing a huge diamond on your finger intimidates you, don't worry—we've been there! Getting engaged brings on a flurry of new emotions, including getting used to wearing an engagement ring. As a marker of one of the most special moments of your life, an engagement ring is a big investment and you'll want to do everything to keep it in tip-top shape.
"The biggest thing to remember is that jewelry is a work of art and it's pretty delicate," says Rachel Akmakjian, jewelry expert and designer. "People think diamonds and metals are indestructible but that’s not true."
Meet the Expert
Rachel Akmakjian is a Chicago-based jewelry designer behind the brand Ariane Diamonds, as well as the Director of Jeweler Relations for BriteCo.
Thankfully, with the right products and habits, you can keep your rock resilient. With Akmakjian's help, we rounded up the most important items that will preserve your ring. From a cute ring dish for your vanity to a fireproof safe for more protection, your sparkler will be all set.
Kate Spade Bridal Party "Miss" to "Mrs." Ring Dish
From washing the dishes to scrubbing your bathroom, Akmakjian says you should take off your engagement ring whenever you are doing anything that could damage your ring physically or chemically. She even recommends removing it before bed, as your fingers can swell during the night. She suggests keeping ring dishes in different areas of your house so you'll always have a safe place to stash your jewels.
Price at the time of publish: $31
Working out is great for your body and mind, but it's not ideal for your ring. Not only can the sweat interfere with the gemstone and metal, but the actual act of lifting weights can dent your band (true story!). If you are going straight from the office to a workout class and need a safe place to store your rock, consider the Bandit bracelet. Rather than letting your ring fall into the abyss of your tote bag, you can keep it safely on your wrist. The spandex bracelet has a zipped pocket to store your valuables. It feels just like a regular hair tie and comes in fun prints and colors to match your outfit.
Price at the time of publish: $30
Dawn Dish Soap
While you can buy a special solution to clean your ring, Akmakjian says you can just use supplies you already have at home. All you need is to add some dish soap to a mug of hot water and let your ring soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a soft, old toothbrush to polish it, and then let it air dry or pat it with a soft cloth.
Price at the time of publish: $2+
SentrySafe Fireproof and Waterproof Safe with Digital Keypad
For longer periods of time, Akmakjian advises keeping valuable jewelry in a fireproof safe, like this one from SentrySafe. Not only does it keep the contents safe up to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, but it's also is watertight for 24 hours. Though a fire or flood may seem unlikely, the last thing you want to worry about during an emergency is where you put your ring.
Price at the time of publish: $300+
Smythson Ring Box in Panama
Whether you are traveling to your destination wedding or simply want a secure box to keep your ring at home, a quality jewelry box like this one from Smythson is a wise investment. Made from real leather, it's sturdy while being soft enough on the inside to prevent any scratches. The design is also sleek enough to use down the aisle.
Price at the time of publish: $190
What to Look for When Caring for an Engagement Ring
When taking care of your ring, it's important to think about the type of metal it's made of. Fine metals like 18 or 24k gold and platinum are known for its durability and can withstand sweat and water. Cheaper types of metals, like sterling silver or gold plated options, are more likely to tarnish over time. Regardless of the quality of the metal, it doesn't mean it's ok to swim or shower in your jewelry. Soap can easily build up on your ring and you can potentially loose it in the water. (Talk about pouring money down the drain!).
Even though diamonds are the hardest gemstone, they are not indestructible. Akmakjian says they can still be chipped and get easily dirty from things like lotions and soaps. "Diamonds are very attracted to oils—they are like best friends," says Akmakjian. "It doesn’t take much for your diamond to get dirty." That's why she recommends taking off your ring before putting on lotions and cleaning your diamonds at home regularly. Of course, diamonds are not in every ring, so be sure what ever cleaning method you use is safe for whatever gemstones you have.
Where should I keep my ring while traveling?
First and foremost, Akmakjian says you should consider what sort of activities you'll be doing on your trip. If you'll be spending lots of time in the water and sand–which is quite abrasive–you may want to leave your ring at home.
If you decide to bring your ring, she says it's safest to keep it on you at all times. "The safest place is for the ring to be on my hand or on my person," says Akmakjian. "Never check a bag with your jewelry. Always keep it in your carry on or on you." To keep your ring safe when it's not in your hands, invest in a secure ring box like Smythson Ring Box.
How often should I clean my ring?
To keep your engagement ring nice and sparkly, it's a good idea to clean it once a week at home. Then once or twice a year, you can bring it back to the jewelers for a professional cleaning and to ensure all the stones are tightly in place.
Do I need insurance for my engagement ring?
Just like with car or home insurance, engagement ring insurance is one of those things that you hope you'll never need to use, but when something does happen, you'll be grateful you have it. "This type of jewelry is emotional," says Akmakjian. "It’s very heartbreaking when anything happens to it."
She recommends shopping around for a standalone jewelry plan that best suits your needs and budget. Most engagement ring insurance policies cover rings against damage, loss, and theft.
Why Trust Brides
Emily Cieslak is an Assistant Commerce Editor and has interviewed many jewelry experts over the years as she's covered jewelry and jewelry trends. For this article, she interviewed Rachel Akmakjian, the jewelry designer of Ariane Diamonds and Director of Jeweler Relations for BriteCo.