So you got engaged, the proposal was perfect, and the ring is everything you asked for (because you helped pick it out). Now you’re going to be spending the next few weeks/months staring at your hand constantly and angling your hand just so in photos so you can not-so-subtly show off your ring. And you’re probably never going to want to take it off, which makes sense, but in order to keep it in mint condition, you’re going to have to remove it from your finger on certain occasions. They say diamonds are forever, but they won’t be if you’re not taking proper care of your ring. We’ve asked wedding and jewelry experts Kelly Villarreal from Ada Diamonds and Mary Claire Newcomb from Here Comes the Guide about when you should be taking off your ring and how to keep those diamonds shining bright.
1. Working Out
Kelly Villarreal suggests that when breaking a sweat and handling machinery in the gym, it’s best to have your precious ring removed… even if that means its presence can’t be used to deter creepy gym bros from hitting on you. She explains, “Lifting heavy objects or pushing into your hands can put pressure on the base of your ring, causing it to compress or bend out of shape. In extreme circumstances this can lead to fractures and breaks in the metal.” Yes, this even applies to those of us who don’t identify as Crossfit queens or bodybuilders. No amount of calories burned is worth a dent in a band that is supposed to last you forever. Not to mention the fact that your fingers tend to swell after an intense sweat sesh. Just put it in a safe place before you leave the house, and be thankful your attempt at a Kayla Itsines workout didn’t cost you thousands.
2. When Your Hands Will Be Wet Or Submerged
My wedding ring fell off in the shower. Instantly broke down. I’m just a skeleton with skin now. Take care of your health folks.
— Special Agent Smith (@ItsMrSmith) June 2, 2019
Villarreal emphasizes that it is very important to be mindful of your ring when, “doing the dishes, doing laundry, cooking, waitressing/bartending, house cleaning, or swimming.” She explains, “cleaning products and harsh chemicals (such as chlorine) can cause build up on diamonds and dull the polish/rhodium from the metal of your ring more quickly.” Ideally, you should try to milk the fact that you’re donning a precious gem 24/7 and use it as an excuse to avoid the housework that might endanger it…but when that excuse stops working (and the stack of dishes in the sink start driving you crazy), store it in a safe place.
The diamond needs its beauty sleep just as much as you do. Villarreal warns that when sleeping, “the prongs of your ring can catch on your sheets, or rings can be knocked against things in your sleep, damaging prongs or causing diamonds to become loose or fall out.” There’s really no point in risking damage to your ring for the sake of leaving it on while you get your eight hours—one of the only times you won’t be able to show it off. Plus, we all read that story about the woman who swallowed her engagement ring in her sleep, right? Let that be a cautionary tale for you.
4. When Applying Lotions Or Cosmetics
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Just like other chemicals, cosmetics and other products can cause your ring to lose its shine. Villarreal explains that when applying products with your ring on, “it can wear away the polish and rhodium more quickly.” She adds, “Lotions and cosmetics also result in build up over time that dulls the look of your diamonds, or in cases of small melee diamonds, can completely cover over stones.” And finally, she advises, “Keeping your ring away from these products, along with regular cleaning, can keep rings sparkling brilliantly for much longer.” Truthfully, I’m probably never going to remember to take my ring off before applying hand lotion, because I do that approximately 50 times a day. But knowledge is power. The more you know, and all that.
5. When Wearing Gloves
If you’re going to listen to any of this advice, listen to this. You wear gloves more often than you’d think, especially if you live in a place like New York, where winter lasts for more than half the year (or so it seems). Mary Claire Newcomb declares, “Ski gloves and rings are archenemies, since your ring size naturally decreases when it’s cold outside—leading to a loose ring that can easily slide off.” I’m going to go ahead and equate “ski gloves” to regular-ass winter gloves because I’m not bougie enough to go skiing often enough to have special gloves just for that. And it’s not just when wearing cold-weather gloves that you should take your ring off; in addition to winter gloves, Newcomb says, “Gardening gloves can accidentally pull an engagement ring off upon removal.” She adds, “And for those in the medical profession who wear latex gloves, oftentimes the prongs of the ring get bent over time as they get caught on the latex material.” I guess this means that I’m never wearing gloves again. The idea of keeping my engagement ring in a jacket pocket for the sake of wearing gloves seems far more dangerous than subjecting my hands to the winter cold.
6. When It’s Not Insured
Your diamond ring is probably expensive, and just as you would treat anything valuable, get insurance! Newcomb recommends, “Look into homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, or straight-up jewelry insurance for that baby. It’s super inexpensive and a lifesaver when needed!” Like, don’t be an idiot. Just think about all of the things you have insurance for that you care much less about! I don’t know about you, but I would happily forego dental visits for the foreseeable future if it meant protecting my new diamond. If Taylor Swift can insure her legs, you can surely insure your engagement ring.
7. When It Doesn’t Fit Properly And/Or Is Damaged
I know you want to wear your ring, but if it doesn’t fit properly, it’s an easy fix and you’ll get back to wearing it ASAP, promise. Newcomb explains, “Whether it’s too big or too small, you can damage an ill-fitting ring (or even worse, lose it) quite easily.” She points out, “if something is already amiss with your ring, don’t take chances—just take it to a jeweler as soon as you notice it. Wearing it could make a simple fix a more difficult one in the end.” If you are anticipating a proposal from your hopeful forever-plus-one, take this as a cue to make sure he knows your ring size (or, in the case of my boyfriend, realizes that rings have sizes). If you’re too traditional to help him pick out the ring,
you shouldn’t be fine, but at the very least help the guy out by leaving some of your rings around the house so he has something to reference.
8. When You’re Traveling
It takes a lot to take off your engagement ring but safety and security should always take priority. There are two main reasons to take your ring off while traveling: potential damage and unwanted attention. If you’re traveling on a bachelorette party, chances are you’re going to be getting a lil’ too drunk, making your ring a liability. Keep in mind, most insurance companies will only let you take out one major claim so don’t waste it on something as preventable as this. Traveling foreign countries is another time you’ll want to leave your ring at home. You’re inadvertently drawing attention as a tourist, don’t give someone a reason to make you their target.
Images: Jad Limcaco /Unsplash; @ItsMrSmith/Twitter; betchesbrides / Instagram (2)