Engagement rings and wedding bands are beautiful reminders of your love and devotion to that special someone you chose to spend the rest of your life with. These rings are likely the most stunning and valuable pieces of jewellery you own and something you wear with great pride and adoration. Traditionally, these bridal sets should be worn every day for the rest of your lives together. Yet, this does not mean you should never take the rings off. Your engagement ring and wedding band need special care because it is figuratively and precious – figuratively, it is precious to you due to its deeper meaning.
In contrast, it is made of easily damaged precious metals and stones. Therefore, you should proactively avoid wearing this valuable jewellery during situations that could easily cause you to lose or damage it. So, that leaves us with an interesting question, when should you remove your engagement ring?
Remove your ring when you are doing any water activity.
Did you know that when you are swimming, boating, rafting, etc., your body’s temperature decreases? It’s because you are surrounded by cool water. To keep your core nice and toasty, the blood flow will change, and your outer extremities (like your hands) will shrink in size. This could cause jewellery, like your precious engagement ring, to fall off.
To make matters worse, if it falls off in the ocean or a pool, it will be near impossible to find again. So to play it safe, do not wear your engagement ring in the pool.
Showering & Washing Your Hands
You’re not the only one to wonder, “can I shower with my engagement ring?” And we’re here to put the matter to rest once and for all with a big no, please, don’t. It’s just not worth the risk and wear. Slippery skin means that your ring can suddenly conduct a dark, down-the-drain disappearing act, and soaps and exfoliating washes can dull and damage your diamond.
The same goes with washing your hands (and washing dishes), but don’t get in the habit of removing your ring when in public bathrooms. You may not think you could ever leave without it, but it’s possible and again just not worth the gamble. Only remove it when washing at home.
We’ve heard one too many horror stories of diamond rings getting lost in the ocean to ever say it’s okay to wear it while enjoying a day at the beach. Swimming (in cold water especially) can cause your body temperature to drop and actually make your finger size shrink, meaning it’ll be way easier for your ring to wiggle its way off. Saltwater is also a ring foe and can create a film.
Swimming is also a big no-no in terms of ring-wearing, and not for the same reasons. Many think wearing rings while swimming is safe as long as the ring is not loose. This could not be further from the truth as not only does cold water shrink one’s fingers, causing the ring to fit looser and slip off, but most water, including chlorinated and saltwater, can alter the colour and texture of the metal. Your ring, and all jewellery for that matter, should be kept as far away from any pool, ocean, or sea as possible. At best, your ring could just change the way it looks from the chlorine and salt exposure – at worst, it can fall off your finger completely and be lost forever.
The pool is also a no-go. Chlorine and other chemicals in pools will erode certain ring materials and metal alloys. For example, with white gold wedding rings, the rhodium will degrade in chlorine and turn it yellow.
Whether going to the beach or pool, just make sure you put your ring away at home first. Don’t make the mistake of setting it by a towel or in a beach bag. If you forgot to leave your ring at home, it’s best to keep it on to avoid loss or theft and just try to remember for next time.
Remove your ring when you are working out.
There are a few reasons you’ll want to take your ring off when you are working out. First of all, contrary to what you might have heard, real jewellery is not invincible. Weight lifting and applying pressure to the engagement ring (or, someday soon, the wedding band) could cause the metal to warp and bend. That will change the size and fit of your ring, and, in the case of micro pave bands, could even cause a diamond to pop out. Yikes!
Secondly, wearing rocks on your finger could cause injury to yourself and those around you. If you are playing sports or hitting the gym, there is a very real chance that your ring could get snagged on clothing, get caught on heavy equipment or stationery fixtures and even scratch another person.
We understand that you might like to keep your ring on at the gym—it does a great job deterring unwanted attention. If that’s the case, we suggest picking up an inexpensive silicone ring to wear in your engagement ring’s place while you work out.
Working Out & Playing Sports
Exercising is fantastic, beneficial activity. However, your diamond will not just get knocked around as you run, cycle, or do yoga, but it will also be affected by your work out sweat. Platinum and gold are soft metals to some extent and can bend upon impact. If your ring is banged enough times, your diamonds might even fall out. Therefore the next time you head out to the gym or the basketball court, make sure you leave your ring at home.
If your ring is vulnerable while sleeping, then you definitely shouldn’t wear it while playing contact sports (or sports like tennis, baseball, or golf), or while doing exercises that involve handling or lifting weights—especially if it’s made with more delicate, micro pavé stones. Free weights can scratch, chip, or loosen stones, and your finger can get pinched! Also, sweat may react with metal and cause an allergic reaction.
If it’s a cardio day and you’re jamming to your favourite playlist on the treadmill or sweating it out in a spin class, and you have no known allergies to certain alloys, it’s probably safe to keep your ring on. Let it serve as a nice distraction to make time fly and get you to that finish line. Otherwise, keep it safe at home and reunite with it as a reward after your shower.
Like going to the gym, any sport involving your hands means your ring can come into contact with hard surfaces such as tennis rackets, golf clubs, or even bowling balls. You’d also be surprised by people who assume a padded boxing glove will provide protection – this is not the case. If in doubt just take the ring off; maybe securely store it on a chain around your neck, so it’s never too far away. This will ensure there’s no possibility your ring will become misshapen.
Remove your ring when you are applying lotions or soaps.
That sound, you hear? It’s your ring clinking its way down your drains and taking your hopes and dreams along with it.
One of the biggest culprits of diamond ring dullness is build-up caused by lotions, moisturizers, sunscreen, oils and other emollient beauty products. Make it part of your beauty routine to safely store your ring when applying moisturizing and other beauty products. Don’t put it back on until after you’re done doing your hair. Otherwise, it can easily snag, which can work to loosen the setting besides simply not feeling good.
Lotions and soap lather could make your hands slick to the point where your ring may slip from your fingers. Exfoliants and scrubs could damage the surface of your ring band, and product build-up can dull your diamond. Keep a ring dish near your kitchen and bathroom sink so you can get into the habit of taking your ring off and easily finding it right away.
Even those who are careful to remove their rings during aggressive activities don’t usually think twice about taking off their diamond jewellery when they get ready to go out on the town. After all, what harm could a little body lotion, perfume, or hair spray do?
Well, the answer is a lot! The lotion is especially harmful to jewellery as it can take away from your stone’s brilliance and lustre. You might not notice it at first, but over time, a cloudy layer of film will build upon your stone and your gold. Although perfume is not applied directly on one’s ring, it is still a chemical that can eventually build-up, especially if you are also applying other things with your ring on. The same goes for hairspray, which can also leave residue on your ring.
If this is a new habit you are trying to create, please be extra careful not to forget it when you are washing your hands in public places (restaurants, airports, work and so on). You may decide that you ultimately do not want to take your ring off every time you wash your hands—and that’s okay, too! Be smart and know when it is the right time to take the ring off or when to be attentive when you are washing it simply.
Specifically, do your best to keep your ring away from lotions, cosmetics and hair products. These products will leave a residue or film on your engagement ring, which will quickly reduce the ring’s brilliance and clarity.
Remove your ring if things are about to get dirty.
If you are working in the garden or sitting at the beach, remember that dirt and sand can get lodged in your stone. It gets stuck in the tiniest of crevices and could even loosen your settings.
Beaches and gardens are more great examples of places where losing your ring means it may be gone forever. Play it safe and leave your new engagement ring behind when you are exploring the great outdoors.
Cleaning & Yard Work
It’s highly recommended that you wear rubber gloves while handling cleaning products to protect your hands, so you definitely need to keep your ring safe from the abrasive, harsh chemicals found in common household cleaning agents. Bleach, for example, oxidizes metals. A mantra to remember: what makes your bathroom mirror shiny makes your diamond ring dull. The same goes for gardening, which requires a lot of activities that can put your ring in harm’s (or dirt’s) way.
Like cleaning, the garden has many hazards for your sparkling possessions. Not only can the earth and dirt become embedded into your ring setting but the work itself can cause unwanted stress and strain on the ring itself causing the ring to misshapen or stones to become loose – or even fall out. Gripping onto your garden tools and appliances places a constant pressure on the back of your ring setting, which not only puts the ring in danger but could cause unfortunately injury to your hand. Keep it indoors to be safe.
Remove Your ring when cooking and preparing food.
It can be easy to forget: remove your ring before handling any kind of raw or ground meat. The last thing you want is for your brilliant symbol of eternal love to become bacteria-ridden. Sanitation is the new sparkle when it comes to your ring and working in the kitchen.
Remove your ring when cleaning around the house.
We recommend that you take off your beautiful engagement ring when you clean your home because everyday cleaners, solvents and detergents can easily damage the ring. Household cleaners may contain chemicals like chlorine, bleach and bromine which wreak havoc on precious metals and gemstones. The more metals mixed in the alloy, like white gold versus yellow gold, are more susceptible to contamination. Areas of your ring where metal was bent and formed can also invite corrosion—so prongs and settings are vulnerable. Of course, not all cleaners will dramatically destroy your ring-like, say, bleach would, but even gentle cleaners could invite discolouration, tarnish and film.
If you’re not wearing cleaning gloves, then take the ring off!
Cleaning Dishes, Your Home, Your Car, etc
You certainly don’t wear your best clothing in your closet when you are doing your house or car cleaning! The same logic applies to not wearing your diamonds when you are doing these either. Not only can your diamond ring suffer greatly from being knocked hard against a counter, corner of a table, or other firm surfaces, but it can also get damaged from the various cleaning solutions and tools that you use. We’re not just talking dents and scratches but permanent damage to the diamond, it’s setting and even the colour of the metal. Cleaning solutions take off your white gold rhodium coating, so you may find your gold turning a shade of yellow as the rhodium coating gets rubbed off. Bleach and cleaning fluids = bad.
Working with Tools or Equipment
We’re going to keep this one short because it’s pretty horrifying, but we’ll leave you with this: google “degloving” and “ring avulsion” and view the graphics with caution. It’s not a pretty topic, but it’s an important hazard to be aware of. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Painting & Other Projects
As a general rule, home renovation projects are one of those “when not to wear your engagement ring” moments. The last thing you want is to give your ring an accidental makeover with specks of paint or get it caught between a hammer and a hard place.
Remove your ring when sleeping.
When going to sleep at night, why not keep your ring box next to your bed and put your diamond to rest as well. While you’re asleep, you can move around unknowingly, and you could accidentally catch your ring on the fabric of your bedding – which may cause the setting to become loose. Also, depending on how you sleep, you may put unnecessary pressure on the ring, which can cause long term effects on the stability of the set overall. A bedside ring box is an ideal reminder to take it off at night (or for an afternoon nap!).
Remove your ring when you are gently cleaning it.
For lasting shine, your new engagement ring will require a bit of maintenance. If it isn’t shining at its very best, then you are defeating the purpose of wearing a diamond in the first place. Therefore, every few weeks, take a moment to clean your beautiful ring gently. Inspect the prongs and settings for asymmetry and rattling sounds or work with a professional jeweller. To clean the ring, drop it into a bowl or mug mixed with warm water and gentle dishwashing soap. Let it soak for a few minutes then pat it dry or, if needed, gently brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
By the way, we are recommending that you soak it in a dish for a reason—let’s keep your ring as far as possible from open drains, shall we?
Now, this is one we can easily get behind! Taking your ring off for a check-up every couple of years is always something we recommend. Sending your ring back to where you bought it for assessment enables the craftsman who made it to check everything is in order. They can ensure that all claws are in place and no stones are loose as well as give your ring a thorough clean and polish to return it bright and sparkly as new. Most jewellers can even provide an up to date insurance valuation for you too.