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Jewelry Care Guide: How to Protect Your Treasures for a Lifetime

Engagement and wedding rings are everyday jewelry, and everyday jewelry can really take a beating. So, it’s good that diamond (the stone most commonly used in wedding jewelry) is the hardest substance on earth. But that doesn’t mean diamonds, or your setting, are indestructible.

We’ve pulled together an exhaustive list of Dos and Don’ts for taking the best care possible of your fine jewelry.

Let’s start with the Don’ts. You’ll be surprised how many there are.

Around the House

• Don’t garden while wearing your ring. It’ll get dirty, damaged, or worse, fall off and get lost.
• Don’t clean your house while wearing your ring. Cleaning solvents are tough on metals.
• Don’t wear your ring in the kitchen. Hard surfaces, such as countertops, can chip stones or damage metal. Food particles can get stuck and get your ring dirty. Think about that the next time you make meatloaf.
• Don’t shower with your jewelry on. Don’t let anything down the drain that you might want back. Soap and shower gel leave a film on diamonds, making them dull. Plus, prongs and earrings can get caught on towels.
• Don’t sleep in your jewelry. Prongs and earring posts can get caught on bed sheets and are susceptible to bending. Earrings, like socks, have been known to disappear into another dimension, never to be seen again.

At Work

• Don’t wear your ring at work if your job involves physical labor. You could catch a prong or chip the stone.
• Don’t wear around metal file cabinets. One wrong knock at the wrong angle on a hard surface can chip a diamond or gemstone or damage the metal.

Double Row Rollover Twist Diamond Engagement Ring in 14k White Gold

In and Around Water

• Don’t wear your jewelry in a hot tub. The chlorine can affect the metal.
• Don’t wear your ring swimming. Your fingers shrink when cold and could cause the ring to slip off. Plus, see above for the chlorine issue.
• Don’t wear your jewelry at the beach. Sand is abrasive and hard to dig through should your jewelry fall off. Additionally, sunscreen can dull the luster and shine of many gemstones.

At the Gym

• Don’t work out with your jewelry on, for obvious reasons, but also because perspiration can sometimes cause an allergic reaction with the metal, especially if you’re allergic to certain alloys. Wearing your ring while lifting weights can scratch the metal. (An ancillary don’t: Don’t leave your jewelry in your locker unless it’s locked.)

Bezel Halo Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring in 14k White Gold

The DOs:

In Your Jewelry Box

• Do keep your jewelry in separate soft bags in your jewelry box so they don’t scratch each other. Diamonds can easily scratch other diamonds, as well as other stones and metals.
• Do think about reserving certain gemstone jewelry, such as emeralds, for special occasion wear only. Emeralds are relatively soft stones, thus more susceptible to damage than harder stones such as diamond, sapphire, and ruby.
• Do wear your pearls often! The natural oil in our skin helps keep the pearl lustrous. But be sure to treat them with care. Because they are relatively soft, and can be easily scratched, pearls should be stored in a soft bag when not being worn and wiped clean with a soft cloth to remove any residual cosmetics or perfume that can affect luster.
• Like pearls, wear your sterling silver jewelry often and polish it on a regular basis. It helps to cut down on the amount of tarnishing between wearing. Also store silver in an airtight jewelry box or bag (you’d be amazed at how well a Ziploc baggie works in this situation) as exposure to air leads to more tarnish.

Lifestyle Considerations and General Maintenance

• Do have your jewelry (especially your wedding jewelry) checked a minimum of once a year, which means ensuring the stones are secure and inspected for any issues arising from normal wear. Again, something Blue Nile offers on all the jewelry we sell for the life of the piece.
• Do consider a secure bezel-set ring if you have an active lifestyle or certain careers, such as a hairstylist. Bezel settings don’t have prongs, which can get caught or bend, and the stone is surrounded by metal, which means it’s less likely to be affected by sharp blows. A diamond set on a high prong is most at risk for damage. Delicate pavé or micro-pavé settings with very small prongs are most at risk of loosening or falling out.
• Do consider having your engagement and wedding rings soldered together to extend their life and minimize repairs and maintenance. Wear and tear can occur if the two rub together excessively.
• Do make sure your ring fits you well. Luckily, we resize most Blue Nile jewelry free of charge. No reason not to get that taken care of.

Blue Nile Studio Empress French Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring

• Do have your white gold pieces re-plated with rhodium by a Blue Nile jeweler when they start to look a little less bright. Rhodium is a hard, white metal in the platinum family that protects white gold and keeps it looking white and shiny.
• Do enjoy the natural patina that platinum takes on over time. A light buff by Blue Nile jewelers can restore the shine lickety-split.
• Do get your jewelry insured by Jewelers Mutual with special coverage above and beyond your renter’s or homeowner policy.

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