We always feel like we need to dispel a myth or tow when we talk about the safety of engagement rings. Firstly, just because something has a large quantity of metal built into it, it doesn’t mean it is indestructible. Secondly – and this is the big one – the common misconception is that the hardness of a diamond protects it from damage.
It’s perfectly true that you won’t scratch your diamond unless you use another diamond. But though they are hard, diamonds aren’t especially tough. To demonstrate the difference, imagine you have a thin sheet of hard caramel. To scratch it, you would need something harder than the caramel and we know that, with diamonds, there is nothing harder. But, if you hit it with anything pointed, even if the material is softer than the caramel sheet, it is likely to break. Hard, but not tough. It’s exactly the same with diamonds. The surface of a diamond is incredibly hard, but the structure of the carbon lattice which makes up the diamond itself has lots of weak points.
There are lines of weakness through the diamond, and edges are particularly vulnerable. With a simple impact strike in the wrong place, your diamond could easily split or even shatter. Before you start to panic, you’d need to be desperately unlucky for that to happen. But you should still take care of your ring anyway. Exercising whilst wearing your engagement ring is risky. Most exercise has some level of impact, and all involve sweating. Both can do damage, so why risk it?
General Dos and Don’ts
The biggest threat to the appearance of your engagement ring is dirt. And the biggest attraction for dirt is grease. Our skin is packed with natural oils. Everything we touch in the course of a day is likely to have a microscopic film of oil and grease which has settled over time. In short, we are covered in oils of one kind or another constantly. The problem comes when this oil transfers to your engagement ring.
Unless you clean your ring regularly, oil and dirt build up in every nook and cranny. Eventually, the pressure could build enough to split the diamond or even to pop it right out. And that’s just with everyday wear. Add the extra oils which get onto the ring when we sweat, and it really can be a recipe for disaster.
You should be cleaning your diamond engagement ring at the very least once a month. If you do a lot of activities which make you sweat heavily, then you should be cleaning it once a week. Do that, and each clean will be quick and easy. If you don’t, it will be long and difficult. Think of it as a Boeing 747. The plane will use a huge amount of fuel just getting up in the air. Once cruising, it actually uses very little. Once landed, it has to use all that fuel again to get back up. If it just cruised in the air forever, it would be a lot more efficient.
Running and Cycling Wearing An Engagement Ring
Despite the effort which goes into running and cycling, they are pretty low impact activities in terms of your body’s involvement. As such, the risk of damage to your engagement ring is pretty low, sweat and dirt buildup aside. It’s probably best, though, to limit the wearing of your ring in these activities to indoors. If the ring is a little loose on your finger, it will be like a bar of soap when your hands get hot and start to sweat. There is a chance, however slim, that the ring may fall off your hand.
Treadmills and exercise bikes do definitely carry fewer risks than running and cycling outdoors. This is true even just in a practical sense of what happens if your ring does come off your hand. The issue with the great outdoors is that there are lots of places your ring could land, never to be seen again. Indoors, this isn’t so much of a problem, of course.
We’re going to state the obvious here. If you’re doing any activity which involves actual contact (bag work etc.), then take your engagement ring off beforehand. Other gym work may not be quite so dangerous to the ring, but it is likely that, for a large part, you will be gripping things with force. Whether it’s free weights or weight machines, leg or bicep curls, your ring is at risk due to how tightly you hold the grips.
The metal used in engagement rings is actually pretty soft. Although high-quality yellow gold is a particular problem, even platinum is prone to flexing if enough force is used. Like any fine metal, over time, the constant flexing may be enough to snap the band. With yellow gold already prone to wearing thin, the damage can occur quickly.
If your ring is too tight to take off easily, then get it resized. When you swim wearing your engagement ring, several things happen. Even in a warm pool, your fingers will contract after prolonged contact with the water. This might be enough to let the ring slip off, and you won’t even notice. If it’s a cold water pool, then the danger is increased further. But that’s not all.
Every pool undergoes treatments to kill bacteria and to prevent the water from carrying parasites and other nasties. The chemicals used could damage all the parts of your ring. At the very least, regular exposure to the chlorine and whatever else is sued will dull the metal and may also cause dulling of the diamond itself. It’s also possible that the damage to the metal of the band will be permanent.
If you are lucky enough to live by the beach, then assume that sea water will do even more damage. Salt water is highly corrosive, and will permanently damage the ring if not cleaned properly after every exposure.
Yoga and Meditation
With low impact, low (physical) energy activities it’s okay to wear your engagement ring. There’s little risk of impact damage, and movements aren’t so fast that the ring is likely to fly off.
With yoga, though, given how involved your hands are, and how often they are placed on the floor for balance, it might be better to take your ring off.
Tai Chi is another low impact exercise method through which your ring is unlikely to suffer damage. It might be a martial art, but the technique is very slow and deliberate. As a result, it’s one of the safer exercise activities you can undertake wearing your wedding ring.
Your ring is precious. It doesn’t matter whether it cost ten dollars or ten thousand dollars. The important point is what it represents. So why would you risk damaging or losing it? If you can, take it off before doing any kind of exercise. If you can’t then either look to resize it or look for other exercises to do which reduce the risk of damage.
Also, much of the damage suffered by diamond engagement rings is a creeping menace, rather than an outright assault. If you don’t care properly for it, either by not taking it off or not cleaning it properly, you could well end up regretting it.
Exercise is great for you, but not so great for delicate – and often expensive – jewelry. Be sensible, and be aware of what can happen.