Before I send each one of you off to a lifetime of happiness with your antique engagement ring, here are a few things you need to know to care for your ring:
Check the engagement ring's prongs.
You can do this yourself by holding the ring by your ear and gently shaking it. If you hear rattling take it off and have the prongs checked. In general it is best to have the prongs checked once a year by your jeweler.
Diamonds are not indestructible.
Diamond is the hardest substance, rating a 10 on the mohs scale. But, all that means is nothing can scratch a diamond except another diamond. Diamonds can chip and crack.
Especially antique diamonds, which generally have thinner girdles. Also, don't toss any diamond jewelry in a box where it can rub against other jewelry and scratch it.
Diamonds naturally attract grease.
That means the natural oils from your body, lotions, soap film etc. The best way to clean your diamond ring is to soak it in warm water with a drop of mild dishwashing liquid. I have a small tupperwear container I use. You wouldn't believe what will come out of a really dirty setting if you soak it for a few hours. Then use a soft soapy toothbrush on it. Rinse with warm water. I just hold the ring by the shank while rinsing, some like to place it in a strainer. Pat dry with a paper towel, or lintless cloth. When rinsing always be sure to plug the drain first! Or even better, transfer the piece to clear water in another bowl. When I clean my antique and vintage rings, I am always amazed at the amount of sparkle I was missing before I cleaned it. Even a thin film of oil or grease will greatly detract from your diamond's brilliance.
Chlorine is very bad for metal.
Chlorine causes pitting and discoloration to platinum and gold. The pitting will make the metal porous and brittle. So don't wear your jewelry while swimming in a chlorinated pool or when using chlorine bleach while cleaning.
Wearing your rings together causes abrasion.
This is a tough one, since many of us like to wear our engagement rings with our wedding band, and sometimes an anniversary band. And we love those stackable bands! It is a good idea to wear the rings separately or just your band(s) now and then to prevent constant rubbing. Absolutely don't wear them together when doing a rigorous workout involving weights, or any task where they will rub together quite a bit.
With a little care, your antique engagement ring will last your lifetime and many generations to come.