Getting engaged is a wonderful thing, and the ring you now have is most likely gorgeous, but it also probably cost a lot of money, meaning you want to protect it and keep it nice. Enter Grant Mobley, gemologist and director of Pluczenik, one of the world's leading diamond companies, who can answer all the burning questions you now have about your stone and the band that came with it.
How do you clean the ring?
Every few months, you can take your ring to a jewelry store to have it professionally cleaned with steam. According to Mobley, most independent jewelers will do this at no charge. Doing this often is important because the cleaner will also inspect the setting to make sure none of your stones are loose.
In between professional servicing, you can clean your ring with dish soap and a toothbrush to keep it sparkling. Mobley cautions against cleaning gems like emeralds or opals this way, however, as they are more fragile than diamonds. For those types of stones, it may be necessary to get an ultrasonic cleaner.
Are there any household cleaners or chemicals that can harm the ring?
"As long as your ring is gold or platinum and diamonds, you can't really do anything to it with household products," Mobley says.
Is it a bad idea to wear my ring while applying lotion?
"It doesn't hurt the ring but that oiliness is going to make [the diamond] very dull," Mobley says. "Your ring will require cleaning more often." Mobley suggests having a special and stable area to place your gem while you lotion up. "That's one of the easiest ways to lose your ring—taking it off at the sink and then forgetting you've done that."
What about other serums, makeup, or hair products?
"There's really no skin product that is going to be damaging enough to hurt the ring," Mobley says. "None of these household items are going to be in contact for long enough to make a difference, typically." Like lotion, makeup or other products could dull your ring, so if you never take it off, you'll have to clean it frequently to keep it shiny.
Can I wear my ring in the swimming pool?
Chlorine won't affect a diamond, but if your ring is set in gold or platinum, keep it out of a swimming pool or hot tub. "The chlorine will make the gold porous—it reacts with it over time," Mobley says. "This can make the setting brittle and could break a prong. When I worked at a jewelry counter, I used to be able to tell if my customers owned a pool."
What about the ocean?
As far as chemical reactions with your metal settings or stones, there's nothing to fear from salt water. Nevertheless, Mobley advises against wearing it in the ocean. "The water is colder, which makes our fingers shrink. The ring is way more likely to fall off in those circumstances," Mobley says. "Once it is off of you the chances of finding it are almost nothing."
What should I do with it on vacation?
You either could leave it behind, in a safe spot in your house or apartment, or use the hotel's safe. "I use hotel safes all the time—that's really the only option if you brought your ring on vacation," Mobley says. "I've never had any trouble—you've got to put your valuables somewhere, and it's definitely safer than in the ocean with you."
What other precautions can I take to prevent losing it?
For one, develop habits around your ring: For example, Mobley says, always store it in the same place when you take it off. He also recommends buying a jewelry box, if you don't already have one, for the same reason. But the best thing you can do, as far as precautions go, is buy insurance. "People lose stuff constantly," Mobley says. "Jewelry insurance is surprisingly inexpensive, so it's a no-brainer."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.