How to Keep Your Engagement and Wedding Rings Sparkling

They're two of your most prized possessions, so you should keep your engagement ring and wedding band as shiny and sparkly as possible. Here is everything you need to do to keep your engagement and wedding rings safe and in good condition so you all can live happily ever after.

Insure Your Ring
Considering your engagement ring's sentimental--and monetary--value, you'll want to make sure it lasts a lifetime (if not several). First, insure the ring: Add a jewelry rider to your homeowner's or renter's insurance, or take out a separate policy with a specialty insurer like Jewelers Mutual. Familiarize yourself with the fine print; some policies will cover theft but not "mysterious disappearance," and others may not reimburse repair costs.

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What You Need to Insure Your Ring
You'll need to provide a description of the ring--its cut, carat weight, and metal--as appraised by a certified independent jeweler. Submitting a close-up photo of your ring is also a good idea. Extra precautions, such as laser inscription and home security systems, may qualify you for discounts.

Clean Your Ring
To keep your ring sparkling, clean it often to remove lotions, skin oil, and everyday dirt, which cloud it. You can soak the ring in warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Or soak it in equal parts ammonia and cold water for half an hour, and let it air dry. Any brand-name jewelry cleaner is another good option.

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Visit Your Jeweler
Ring maintenance should also include twice-yearly visits to your jeweler, who can check the integrity of the prongs on your setting. (Bonus: You can have it professionally cleaned then also.) A loose setting can lead to a dislodged diamond--so if you want to avoid a frantic search on all fours, consider seeing your jeweler as often as you see your dentist.

Other Ring Care Tips
It's also smart to take your ring off when doing anything requiring lots of work with your hands -- or involving water (such as dishwashing or swimming), since it can make your fingers shrink. Just remember to put the ring in a secure location (i.e., not on a ledge near the garbage disposal), whether in a kitchen drawer or a jewelry box. If you often take off your ring at home, consider an immobile safe or an unusual but memorable hiding spot. If you need to stash it when you're on vacation, store it in the hotel safe.

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