3 Ways You Can Damage Your Engagement Ring and How to Prevent Them

Know how to keep your sparkler out of harm's way.
The Knot
Updated Sep 28, 2018

Take a look at that engagement ring on your finger. Dang—it's gorgeous, isn't it? Not to mention a special reminder of your commitment to one another. And beyond how much you adore your ring, it's also one of the most valuable investments your partner (or both of you) will make, so it's extremely important to take care of it properly to ensure the stone and metal retain their brilliance—and last a lifetime. Read up on common ring hazards to watch out for and how to keep yours from getting ruined.

1. Bending and Stretching Bands

More couples are choosing platinum, yellow gold or white gold settings for engagement rings. Platinum is one of the toughest metals you can find, so you won't have to worry about it bending or stretching. Gold and silver, on the other hand, are softer and more malleable, making them more susceptible to bending or stretching. The main culprits of this kind of damage are as everyday as you can get: catching the ring in a sweater, blanket or carpet. If a prong grabs the fabric and you yank your hand away quickly, it could result in a misshaped band. The only way to avoid this is by being as careful as possible. If your ring does snag something, don't pull away quickly.

2. Scratched Metal

Platinum rings are less likely to scratch because they're extremely durable. Small scrapes or nicks can be repaired with polishing, which can be done by most professional jewelers. If the damage is more significant, it might be more difficult to fix because of the density of platinum. On the other hand, gold and white gold are softer, so while they're more susceptible to damage, they may be easier to repair.

3. Loosening Prongs

The risk of losing a stone in a pronged setting depends on the way the piece is constructed. Most prongs will loosen slightly over time from everyday wear and tear. Some typical culprits include catching the prong on a sweater or hitting your ring against a countertop or door by accident. If you notice one prong is loose, take it to your local jeweler right away. Once one comes loose, the others are likely to follow. Every few weeks give your sparkler a quick once over to ensure that gorgeous stone is sitting snugly in its place.

When to Remove Your Engagement Ring

Whether you're into horseback riding, mountain climbing or swimming, serious activities—especially those that are outdoors—can wreak havoc on your engagement ring. If you're really active, you could increase the risk of banging your ring up against something that may cause the prongs to loosen, scratch the metal or worse. To prevent this from happening, leave your ring at home when partaking in these activities. Another option: Get a necklace in the same metal as your ring and hang the ring around your neck while working with your hands (think pottery or gardening).

You should also consider removing your engagement ring when you go to the beach, lift weights, do any heavy cleaning or take a bath or shower. We know, it kind of sounds like we're telling you to never wear your ring—but ring damage is often caused by a series of smaller dings, snags and scratches over time rather than one big one all at once.

How to Properly Care for Your Engagement Ring

Harmful chemical substances, like hair spray, chlorine and cleaning supplies, can mar the metal and decrease your ring's brilliance, as can everyday dirt and dust. Avoid harsh substances at all costs and take off your ring if you're using them. To keep your ring spick and span, clean it yourself gently, but regularly at home (say, once or twice a month) with a jewelry cleaner or DIY remedy (read here to find the one you need). Don't forget to read the directions carefully—some jewelry cleaners can damage delicate stones like emeralds, turquoise, opals and amethysts. Finally, at-home cleaning is a must, but you should also take it to a jeweler for a professional cleaning and damage inspection at least once a year. Think of it this way: You regularly brush your teeth to keep your smile healthy, but you still need to see the dentist every once in a while for a professional check-in. The same goes with your wedding and engagement rings.

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