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They're two of your most prized possessions, so you should keep your engagement ring and wedding band as shiny and sparkly as possible. Here is everything you need to do to keep your engagement and wedding rings safe and in good condition so you all can live happily ever after.
Insure Your Ring
Considering your engagement ring's sentimental—and monetary—value, you'll want to make sure it lasts a lifetime (if not several). First, insure the ring: Add a jewelry rider to your homeowner's or renter's insurance, or take out a separate policy with a specialty insurer like Jewelers Mutual. Familiarize yourself with the fine print; some policies will cover theft but not "mysterious disappearance," and others may not reimburse repair costs, says Donna Syverson, director of personal lines marketing at Jewelers Mutual.
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What You Need to Insure Your Ring
You'll need to provide a description of the ring—its cut, carat weight, and metal—as appraised by a certified independent jeweler. Submitting a close-up photo of your ring is also a good idea. Extra precautions, such as laser inscription and home security systems, may qualify you for discounts.
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Clean Your Ring
To keep your ring sparkling, clean it often to remove lotions, skin oil, and everyday dirt, which cloud it. You can soak the ring in warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, and scrub with a soft toothbrush, says Tracy Lantz, associate director of public relations at the Diamond Information Center. Or soak your diamond ring in equal parts ammonia and cold water for half an hour, and let it air dry. (Note: use this method with diamonds only; ammonia can damage other stones.) Any brand-name jewelry cleaner is another good option.
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Visit Your Jeweler
Ring maintenance should also include twice-yearly visits to your jeweler, who can check the integrity of the prongs on your setting, says Lantz. (Bonus: You can have it professionally cleaned then also.) A loose setting can lead to a dislodged diamond—so if you want to avoid a frantic search on all fours, consider seeing your jeweler as often as you see your dentist.
It's smart to take off your ring when you wash dishes, scrub the bathroom, or perform other tasks that require harsh chemicals or abrasive solutions often found in household cleaners. These can erode metal settings as well as dull their finish.
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Use Caution When Swimming
Cold water can make your fingers temporarily shrink, which means your ring has a better chance of slipping off when splashing around in the pool. Likewise, rough tides might knock it off during a romp in the surf.
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Safely Store Your Ring
A little extra caution goes a long way when storing your diamond ring. When you need to take it off, make sure to put it in a secure location, whether that's a kitchen drawer or a traditional jewelry box. Whatever you do, don't put it on a ledge where it might fall off or on the edge of the sink lest it slide down the drain. If you take off your ring often, consider an immobile safe or an unusual but memorable hiding spot. If you need to stash it when you're on vacation, store it in the hotel safe.
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Keep Your Diamond Away From Other Jewels
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, which means that they can scratch other gemstones and metal bands (and even other diamonds) if left to jostle around in the same jewelry pouch or box. For that reason, keep your jewelry—especially diamonds—in individual soft cloth pouches when you're not wearing them.