How To Care For Your Antique Engagement Ring (2023)

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by Suzanne Sachs 5 min read



Antique engagement rings 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 antique jewelry is not, however, is indestructible, and it takes proper care to always keep an antique ring look looking its best.


In this guide, we will explain the following:

  • The Importance Of Inspections
  • Cleaning Options
  • Mild Dish Soap Cleaning
  • Quick Window Cleaning Shine
  • Vodka Soak
  • Professional Cleaning
  • What Not To Do To Your Antique Ring
  • Do Not Wear To The Gym
  • Do Not Use Harsh Chemicals
  • Take Off When Cooking
  • Try Not To Touch Center Diamonds
  • Store In Safe Place
  • Do Not Polish Antique Jewelry
  • Consider Insurance

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

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.


    Vodka Soak

    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.


      • Professional Cleaning

      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, sapphires, opals or other soft stones, and gentler cleaning methods will be needed to avoid damage on these stones.



      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 To The Gym

      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 Use Harsh Chemicals

      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.

        Take Off When Cooking

        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.

        • Try Not To Touch Center Diamonds

        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.


        • Store In Safe Place 

        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.


        • Do Not Polish Antique Jewelry

        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.


        Consider Insurance

        Your 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.


        Vintage Engagement Rings For Everyone:

        No matter which era is your favorite, these time-honored rings have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations.

        Find The Perfect Engagement Ring:

        Vintage rings are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and faceting. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of unique engagement rings today!

        Suzanne Sachs

        Suzanne has always believed vintage rings can change lives. She's been in the jewelry industry for over 35 years, working with vintage jewelers, diamond dealers, diamond cutters, and gemologists. Suzanne started Artdecodiamonds in 2000 and understood the demand for vintage rings throughout the world. She ultimately started in 2014, and understands each vintage ring is a reflection of you – your history, your relationships, your style, your elegance and is honored to have the opportunity to help you showcase your flair in a unique and exquisite way.
        Press Love:

        Thrive Global

        Art Deco Emerald Ring

        Contact Suzanne

        If you love vintage or eco-friendly jewelry please feel free to contact Suzanne or browse our collection of eco-friendly vintage engagement rings.


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