Whether you recently got engaged, are looking after an heirloom or simply want to ensure that your diamond wedding band or engagement ring doesn’t succumb to wear and tear, learning how to polish up diamond jewellery at home is a valuable life skill on all accounts.
If you’ve been dodging giving your ring a clean for a while, the fact that your band and diamond settings can be breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses and other grime should speed along your visit to the sink. Not to mention that one of the greatest culprits for taking the shine off of a diamond ring is an accumulation of dead skin. Shudder.
Add to that the fact that most of us are coating our rings in hand sanitiser every time we wash our hands and it's no surprise your diamond has lost its shine.
With those filthy facts in mind, here’s what to do, and what really not to do, to keep your diamond ring in brilliant condition.
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1. Stick to Soap and Water
You might be surprised to learn that diamonds actually aren’t demanding when it comes to taking a bath - gel soap, baby shampoo or washing up liquid diluted in warm water will do nicely. Avoid creamy formulas as they’re likely to leave a film behind on your gem or band.
2. Buy a Baby Toothbrush
Don’t be tempted to wield a brillo pad to buff your diamonds – Rachael Taylor, jewellery journalist and co-founder of The Jewellery Cut, explains why a ‘softly softly’ approach is best when it comes to teasing away dirt:
“The simplest and easiest way to clean a diamond ring at home is with a very soft toothbrush and some soapy water. Dip it in, give it a little brush to loosen the dirt and restore the shine, and then dry with a soft cloth.”
3. Give It a Long Soak
Or at least a 20 minute soak in soap and warm water. This will help to dislodge gunk without too much manual effort on your part. For extra gleam, soak your ring in white vinegar for five minutes before rinsing. Just be sure to steer clear of anything stronger…
4. Avoid Abrasive Cleaners (Even if They Look Legit)
Diamond ring cleaning hacks abound on the internet, but they’re best taken with a pinch of salt (apart from vinegar). Everything from beer to ketchup is purported as a ring cleaner, but stronger or quirkier definitely doesn’t mean better when it comes to giving your ring a new lease of life.
Steer clear of baking powder, toothpaste, acetone, household cleaning products and most definitely bleach. Harsh cleansing agents may damage your ring, lowering its value and causing settings to become loose.
5. Keep It Regular
A once-a-week clean is ideal for most rings. If giving your ring a weekly spa day seems a bit much, Rachael has a shortcut up her sleeve:
“I always keep a stash of Diamond Dazzle Stiks in the house and I take them with me when I travel. The portable cleaning brushes are pre-filled with micro-fine cleansers and polishing agents designed specifically for diamonds.
“They’re really simple and quick to use; just wet your ring, click to release the formula, work it over the diamonds, rinse and go – you’ll see the results instantly.”
6. Give Your Bling a Break
To maintain the razzle dazzle it’s also key to give your diamond ring a day off every once in a while. It’s not necessarily the case that you should keep your diamond ring just for ‘best’, but Rachael recommends reevaluating how and where you wear it.
“The key to looking after a diamond ring and ensuring that it looks bright and beautiful for a long time is respect.
“Many people think of diamond engagement rings as everyday items, because there is an established idea that once it is popped on the finger during the proposal, it should never come off. While you should enjoy your ring every day, you should also devote time to taking care of it, as you would do other precious jewels,” she says.
So when should you give your ring a breather to keep it cleaner? Rachael shares her schedule:
“I always take my ring off when I sleep (constant contact means that skin builds up in the settings), cook and I don’t wear it in the shower so as to avoid it being blasted with harsh chemicals or getting soap stuck in the settings.
“You should most definitely take it off if you are about to go swimming, climbing, gardening or have a nail appointment booked – these activities and situations could scratch, chip or dislodge your diamonds. While diamonds are tough, they aren’t indestructible, and the gold or other metals they are set in are even more susceptible to harm.”
READ MORE: What to Do If You Hate Your Engagement Ring
7. Be Wary of Lotions and Potions
Hand cream, fake tan and makeup can all undo your good work in the ring cleaning department so take your ring off if you have a glow-up planned. It’s also advisable to remove your ring if you’re using lots of hand sanitiser - the bug-killing formulas can damage your diamonds in the long-term.
8. Go Pro
Take your diamond ring to a jeweller for an MOT once or twice a year, depending on your lifestyle (if your job is hands-on you may need to drop in more frequently). If you return to a jeweller that made your ring, a yearly service may be free, but even if not it’s always worth the trip, according to Rachael:
“A jeweller will not only give your ring a deep clean but will also check the settings to ensure that all of your diamonds are safely held in place. They can then make any repairs necessary.”
It’s also best to leave techie cleaning methods to the experts. While ultrasonic jewellery cleaners can be purchased online for home use, the soundwaves, vibrations and bubbles that produce such radiant results can displace or even crack diamonds in your ring. A professional jeweller will know exactly what kind of TLC your unique ring requires and clean it up in a jiffy, without the risk of damaging your diamonds. This is especially important if your diamond ring is an antique, vintage or contains coloured stones.
9. Beach, Please
If you’ve got a beach honeymoon planned, you may want to take Rachael’s number one diamond ring no-no into account before you leave the hotel room.
“My absolute ‘don’t’ is, please, please don’t wear your ring when you go swimming in the sea – it is so common for rings to slip off in the water and be lost forever. There’s a reason why metal detectorists flock to beaches – don’t give them something new to hunt for.”
Not only is there a risk of your diamond ring going on an eternal swim, but fine sand particles could also scratch gems when you’re on the shore. All in all it’s not worth it on any level. Store your diamond ring in the safe and enjoy charging into the waves both ring and worry-free.
Dreaming of the beach? Check out the 50 best honeymoon destinations for 2021.