Diamonds are tough but they need looking after. Photo by Bill Bogenschutz

Whenever I sell an antique or vintage engagement ring, I give its new owner a list of instructions for its care. Diamonds might be hard, and gold and platinum strong, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be damaged.

As I said in my last blog, I’m passionate about condition. I like to do my bit to ensure that a ring in good condition stays that way.

First off, some don’ts. Don’t shower, sleep or do housework with your ring on. Don’t exercise, swim or do yoga or the gardening with it. And don’t wear it while washing up! (A customer in Texas who just bought a pretty Edwardian diamond ring from me said she was thrilled to hear that. The ring wasn’t coming off, she said – so the dishes would from here on have to be her husband’s job …)

Everyday chemicals and cleaning products can damage or discolour precious metals. And moisture is the enemy of jewellery – that goes for all jewellery, not just the antique or engagement kind.

A splash of water won’t hurt most gemstones – though those that are foil-backed (and these aren’t suitable for everyday wear, as engagement rings must be) should be taken off before washing your hands. I know I’ve received odd looks in public facilities for my habit of placing a precious old ring between my teeth before turning on the tap!

It’s important to clean your ring regularly, as grime can harbour moisture and let bacteria thrive. Use a jewellery cleaning dip: most retail jewellers stock tubs of this. If you don’t have dip, toothpaste or dish detergent work well too. A soft brush or cotton bud can help dislodge the dirt.

Rinse well, but be sure there’s a plug in the sink. And dry your ring thoroughly, using a towel or something absorbent.

Finish by polishing it with a soft cloth – either a jewellery cloth or one that’s suitable for wiping glass.

I recommend that you put your ring on just as you’re leaving the house, and take it off as soon as you get home. It needs to have its own safe spot separate from other jewellery – place it in a soft pouch if you need to store it for any time.

And rings need regular check-ups by a professional jeweller: this is a complimentary service I offer for all the jewels I sell.

Does anyone have any other tips?