Things you should not do with your Engagement Ring

Your engagement ring isn't just a symbol of your union. It's also an heirloom in the making, a precious piece of jewelry that can be passed down through generations—if you take proper care of it. While you should already know to avoid opening boxes or attempting to pop bottle tops with your sparkler (trust us, people do try), there are a few unexpected, everyday activities that can put your ring in harm's way.

Don't Wear It During Vigorous Sports

Any activity that involves impact to your hands (from contact sports like volleyball to weightlifting) can bend or break the prongs that hold your stone in place, causing it to fall out of its setting. Similarly, experts warn against wearing it during water activities such as swimming, water skiing, or boating, as it's far easier for your ring to slip off when your hands are wet. There are many stories about rings getting lost in lakes and oceans. Even walking or jogging could put your ring in contact with the elements.

Don't Wear It While Cleaning

Ordinary cleaning materials won't damage your diamond (delicate pearls are another matter). During the cutting process, the stones are cleaned by boiling them in acid. This makes them impervious to chemicals. However, household cleaners such as bleach and common chemicals, such as acetone nail polish remover and chlorine from pools, can erode alloys in precious metals. So, to be safe, it makes sense to take off your ring while cleaning (just be sure to put it in a safe place in the meantime).

The same holds true if you go swimming, as chlorine can seriously damage your gold or platinum band.

Don't Leave It Unchecked

Even if you don't wear your ring while exercising, normal daily activity—say, fabric snags—can loosen prongs, putting your stone in danger of falling out. Our experts recommend regular checks by an experienced jeweler every six to 12 months to make sure the settings are secure. You can get your rings professionally cleaned at the same time. However, if you'd like to clean your ring yourself, our experts recommend using mild soap, warm water, and a soft-bristled toothbrush or a solution of five parts water, one-part ammonia (for diamonds).

And keep in mind to never use silver cleaner on anything that's not silver, Woolf-Willis says. Having your ring insured in case something does happen is a good idea as well.

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