Caring for Antique Engagement Rings!
An antique engagement ring can be a work of art with delicate filigrees, unusual settings and extraordinary craftsmanship. It can also be a precious family heirloom with a long history and priceless sentimental value. What an Art Deco diamond ring is not, however, is indestructible, and it takes proper care to always keep an antique ring look looking its best.
The Importance of Inspections
Before you try any special care, cleaning or adjustments to an antique ring, a thorough, professional inspection is essential. A jeweler experienced with antique rings can spot any potential weaknesses or excessive wear in the setting that could lead to stone loss or misalignment. An inspection can also determine what types of stones, metals and accents your ring has in order to recommend the proper care without risking discoloration or damage. Even after your initial ring inspection, annual examinations are recommended to be sure there are no changes through ongoing wear that could devalue your ring.
Cleaning Options for Antique Engagement Rings
Accumulations of oil and dust can dull any ring, and antique rings are especially vulnerable because older stone cuts may not be as brilliant to reflect as much light. Furthermore, detailed antique settings can more easily trap debris that could lead to scratches, chips or other damage that will take away from your ring's beauty. There are several options for cleaning an antique ring to keep it lustrous and brilliant.
Before using any cleaning method, use a soft, dry brush such as a clean artist's paintbrush to dislodge and wipe away any loose debris. This will ensure there are no large particles that could get trapped in the ring or cause scratches during cleaning.
Mild Dish Soap Cleaning
Mix mild, grease-cutting dish soap into warm water and allow your ring to soak for several minutes. Then use a soft, clean brush – an old, worn toothbrush is ideal – to gently scrub the ring. Scrub from different angles to get into every crevice of the setting, but do not force the brush's bristles into tight spaces where they may get stuck or snagged. After scrubbing, rinse the ring in clean, running water and dry it well.
Quick Window Cleaner Shine
A spritz of streak-free glass or window cleaner can help bring the sparkle back to your ring in a flash. Allow the spray to soak for a few seconds, then wipe the ring off with a clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel. Do not use tissues with lotion in the fibers, however, or you risk leaving grimier deposits on the stone instead of cleaning the ring
Alcohol can help strip grease and buildup from your ring, and soaking your ring for a minute or two in vodka can cut through unsightly deposits. Please note that this does not work for just any type of alcohol – only vodka will do! Soak the ring briefly, then use a soft, worn brush to scrub away any remaining debris. Rinse the ring with clean water and allow it to dry before wearing it again.
At least 2-3 times per year you ought to have your antique ring professionally cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner. This will dislodge any deep-seated debris and remove all buildup and deposits, and it is a good time for your jeweler to inspect your ring as well. Note, however, that ultrasonic cleaners are too harsh to use on pearls, emeralds, opals or other soft stones, and gentler cleaning methods will be needed to avoid damage on these stones.
While any of these cleaning methods can help keep your ring looking glorious, one cleaning option should always be avoided with antique engagement rings or any type of antique jewelry. Never deeply polish your ring, or you risk removing the delicate antique patina that has developed over decades. This patina gives an antique ring a rich, lustrous vibrance and ought to be celebrated rather than disguised.
What NOT to Do to Your Antique Ring
In order to provide your Art Deco engagement ring with the best possible care, you need to do more than clean it properly. You also need to know what not to do in order to protect your ring, such as…
• Do not wear your ring when going to the gym, gardening, cleaning the house, playing sports or doing any heavy labor. These activities might involve bumps and rubs that could easily chip, scratch or dent the ring or its setting.
• Do not wear your ring when using any harsh chemicals, such as chlorine, silver polish, hairspray or other aerosols. These chemicals can dull the ring or cause discoloration or damage to the metal.
• Do not wear your ring when cooking or baking when you will have your hands in flour, cooking oil or other grease or foods. These substances can quickly cause buildup and tarnish on the stone and setting or get lodged in the ring's detail.
•Do not touch your stones or setting, including when picking up, putting on or removing your ring. Instead, handle the ring only by the band to avoid depositing skin oils and fingerprints on the stones or setting.
• Do not toss your antique ring into a common jewelry box where other rings or stones might rub and scratch on the more delicate surface. Instead, use a dedicated ring dish or the original box to store your ring safely when you aren't wearing it.
Your vintage engagement ring is a special investment, no matter what it cost. The ring not only represents your amazing relationship, but has a unique history and can be difficult to replace if it is lost, stolen or damaged. To protect that investment, you may want to consider insuring your ring. Some home insurance policies can be updated to cover jewelry, or you can investigate a special policy that applies only to your ring or all your jewelry. Depending on the policy, insurance may also be able to cover resizing or resetting your ring if the prongs wear out. In order to get an appropriate policy, it may be necessary to have your ring independently appraised as well as provide copies of your purchase paperwork.
An Art Deco engagement ring is an amazing piece of jewelry, and with proper care, you can keep it amazing for many years to come.