Engagement Ring 101: Expert Care Tips for a Lifetime of Sparkle

Getting engaged is a truly lovely thing; there's no doubt about that. But when my now-husband asked me that very significant question six years ago and I overcame the initial shock as he proceeded to place a vintage diamond ring on my finger, I had a sudden pang of dread. I'm clumsy by nature, and in a flash, I was given the most precious object I'll likely ever own. To wear all day, every day, and not break. Or throw out with the recycling. Or somehow set on fire. It was—and still is—a lot of pressure for the person who, at last count, has misplaced her bank card on seven separate occasions, to take on. I realised I had no idea how to care for an engagement ring—which, unless you happen to be in the business of diamonds, is common for most who find themselves recently engaged. 

Which is why I decided to speak to someone who knows what she's talking about when it comes to fine ring upkeep: Irish jewellery designer Chupi Sweetman. Having founded her namesake brand Chupi in 2013, she has since gone on to win countless industry awards for her nature-inspired creations and has made many a dream come true with her beautiful settings and unique stone selection

Throughout her career, she's made thousands of engagement rings, so it's little wonder that she's discovered some pretty excellent tips and tricks for keeping them looking their best. So make like Shirley Bassey and ensure your diamonds really do last forever with Chupi's expert guide on how to care for an engagement ring.

Pro service: 
“I suggest to all my customers that they should have their ring professionally cleaned once a year. It’ll keep it looking it’s best, and they’ll likely check the setting while they’re at it, which is paramount for preventing any stone loss.”

Do it yourself: 
“In between professional cleanings, use baby soap and an old toothbrush to spruce up my jewels. It sounds so odd, but it really works! Baby soaps are super gentle, and as old toothbrushes tend to have soft bristles, the combination will make your jewellery sparkly again without using harsh products.”

Look for clouding: 
“If your stone ever looks hazy or cloudy, it’s likely something is stuck underneath it and it will require a deep clean. You should do this as soon as possible as what’s lurking behind it could be damaging the stone’s surface.”

Avoid open drains at all costs: 
“It sounds obvious, but so many engagement rings are lost as they’re being cleaned over a sink where the drain hasn’t been plugged. Even if you think the holes are too small for it to fit through, it’s not worth the risk.”

Taking a dip in the pool? I don’t think so: 
“Harsh chemicals can gravely affect the quality of your diamond—even a mildly chlorinated pool can cause irreversible issues. Chemicals are also capable of eroding metal and dulling its shine, so I recommend even plain wedding bands sit a pool session out. The same goes for any cleaning sessions—chemicals found in most household polishes and bleaches can ruin fine jewellery. Marigolds at the ready…”

The beach? Not much better: 
“Aside from the fact it could be easily lost—the term needle in a haystack is an understatement—sand has a tendency to get into even the smallest gaps in settings and can be a real endeavour to get out. Plus the beach often equals sunscreen, which can cloud your diamond.”

If in doubt, insure: 
“As it is so precious and holds so much sentimental value, insure your ring. You'll need to provide a description of the ring—its cut, carat weight, and metal—written up by a jeweller. Take photographs from every angle, too; they’ll be invaluable should the worst come to worst, and a talented designer could even re-create the ring now gone.”

Beware the chill: 
“Being out in the cold causes your fingers to shrink, which may cause your ring to loosen slightly. If you feel it moving around too much, put it somewhere safe if you can. Take particular care when taking gloves off, too, as loose rings can get caught in the material.”

Hitting the gym:
“As a rule, I say it’s best to take off any jewellery when you’re working out, particularly if your regimen involves heavy lifting. Any intense pressure applied to the band can cause it to bend. Pavé band owners should be particularly wary of this as the diamonds could simply fall out if the band is compromised in any way.”

Dish it out: 
“Keep ring dishes around the house, so if you do need to take them off, you know where to find them. There are so many cute ones out there, so you can make a real focal point of them around your home.”

Now you know exactly how to care for an engagement ring, let’s take a moment to appreciate these diamond sparklers.

Yet to get engaged? Then clue up on 2019's top engagement ring trends—just in case.