Your wedding and engagement rings are a symbol of you and your partner's love for each other. They're also pretty valuable, with the average engagement ring costing $5,000 and the average set of wedding bands costing $1,900.
Although you might want to wear your rings always and forever no matter where you go, there are some places and some times when you will want to take them off to protect them from the elements and reduce the risk of loss.
If you've got a busy and activity-filled summer coming up, these tips for wearing your wedding ring will help you decide when to take off your engagement or wedding rings and where to put them when you're not wearing them.
When to Take off Your Wedding Ring
The precious metals and gemstones found in many engagement and wedding rings are exactly that: precious. They need love and protection from the elements and specific conditions. Whether your summer plans have you headed to the shore or spending a lot of time at picnics and barbecues, here are a few times when it's a good idea to remember to take off your wedding ring.
1. Before Going to the Beach
A lot of newlyweds ask, "Can I wear my wedding band to the beach?" If you're planning a day at the Jersey shore or have a weekend-long or week-long beach trip planned, your best bet is to take your ring off before you hit the sand or splash about in the ocean. If you're going to the shore for the day, it's a good idea to take your ring off before you head out and leave it safe and sound at home. If you're staying in a beach house or hotel, you can leave your ring in your room.
Why take your ring off before you hit the sand? For a few reasons, the first of which is the sand itself. As much as people love the beach, you've got to admit that the sand can be pretty annoying. It gets everywhere — in your hair, between your toes, in between the pages of your beach read. Sand can also get stuck in any detail work on your ring, potentially scratching the metal or gemstones.
If you plan on body surfing or splashing around in the ocean's waves, it's even more important for you to take your ring off and leave it in a safe and secure spot. The ocean's salt water might smell delightful and feel refreshing on a hot summer's day, but it can also corrode your ring.
Another reason to leave your ring safe and sound in your hotel room or at home before a beach trip is that doing so reduces the risk that it will slip off your finger. If you've ever run into the Atlantic Ocean in May, June or July, you know the water can be chilly. The cold can make your fingers shrink slightly, which can lead to your ring slipping off your finger while you swim.
2. Before Getting Into a Pool
Whether you have a pool in your backyard, visit a community or public pool or spend some summer days lounging poolside at a friend's house, we recommend taking your wedding band and engagement ring off before you put on your swimsuit. Just like the cold ocean water can cause your fingers to shrink and make it more likely that your ring will slip off while you swim, so can the cold and refreshing water of a swimming pool.
Another reason why it's a good idea not to wear your wedding band in the pool is the pool water itself. Swimming pools often contain either chlorinated water or salt water. Chlorine can damage the metal and diamonds in your ring or cause the metal to change color. Salt can contribute to corrosion and might also discolor your ring.
3. Before Gardening
If you like to garden, you know there's no better feeling than sinking your hands into the soil or picking the fruits and vegetables of your efforts. Even if you wear gloves when you're gardening, it's still a good idea to take your wedding ring off before you get to work.
Like the sand at the beach, the soil in your garden can get into the detail work of your ring, making it dirty or causing damage. It can be tricky to get the tiny particles of dirt out of the ring. There's also a slight chance that you'll lose your ring if you wear it while working in your vegetable garden or making the flowers at the front of your house look beautiful.
4. Before Cooking or Using the Grill
All those summer picnics and parties mean someone's going to be cooking up a storm or grilling the day away. If you're that person, don't forget to take your wedding and engagement ring off before you fire up the grill or get started preparing your next culinary masterpiece.
There are a few reasons you'll want to take your ring off when you're cooking or doing any food preparation. For one thing, you want to avoid exposing your ring to ingredients that can potentially damage it. Acidic foods, such as vinegar and lemon juice, can take the shine off. Sticky foods, such as your secret-recipe barbecue sauce, can make your ring dirty.
If you not only cook but also wash up as you work, there's the chance that your ring will slip off your finger, into the dishwater and potentially down the drain. To avoid having to call a plumber, slip your ring off and put it in a secure spot before you get to work in the kitchen.
5. Before Hitting the Gym
Since the weather tends to be warm and sunny and many people have more time off from work, summer tends to be a more active season. If your summer months find you spending more time at the gym, participating in exercise classes or playing outdoor sports such as tennis or baseball, don't forget to take your ring off before you work up a sweat.
The precious metals used in many wedding rings, such as gold, are soft metals. If you wear your ring while participating in an activity that puts pressure on it, such as sports or CrossFit, there's a chance that it will become misshapen. Another reason to take your ring off before you play a sport or exercise is to protect it from your sweat. Sweat tends to be salty, and salt can damage the metal of your ring.
6. Before Enjoying BBQ
Ever notice that the foods you enjoy in the summer tend to be on the messy side? Barbecue is delicious enough to make you want to lick your fingers, but also messy enough that most people serve it with wet wipes. Watermelon and other fruits are juicy, which can make your hands and fingers sticky. Then there's ice cream, which can melt if you don't eat it quickly enough, getting all over your hands.
If you know you're headed out somewhere, such as a picnic, where the food is going to be tasty but messy, your best bet is to slip your ring off and leave it at home. That way, it won't get covered in fruit juice, melted ice cream or barbecue sauce, and you won't have to head to the jewelers for a special cleaning.
7. Before Applying Sunscreen or Other Types of Lotion
It's always a good idea to wear sunscreen, whether you plan on spending a lot of time outside or are simply traveling to your car and back to your home or office. It's also a good idea to wear moisturizer and lotion to keep your skin soft.
When you put on sunscreen or lotion or use any cosmetic product, it's a good idea to slip off your wedding ring. Sunscreen and moisturizer can make your ring look dull or create a film over the metal.
Don't worry though — you won't have to go without your ring for long. Once the sunscreen or other cosmetic product has soaked into your skin, you can slip the ring back on and head out to work or on your other errands. Of course, if you're going to the beach, the pool or a picnic, your best option is to keep your ring at home for the day.
8. Before Cleaning up After a Picnic or Party
It's the end of the day on Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day and you've just hosted a super fun party or picnic. Time to clean up, but before you do, make sure to slip off your wedding band or engagement ring and put it somewhere safe. Whether you're washing dishes, wiping down tables or other surfaces or using any sort of cleaning product, you want to avoid having it come into contact with your ring.
Another option is open to you if you need to clean up after a party and want to protect your wedding ring at the same time: Hire a cleaning service. They'll sweep into your home after your picnic or other event and help make things look good as new.
9. Before Completing Any Home Improvement Projects
While some people look at summer as a time of relaxation, others see it as a time to check items off the home project to-do list. Whether you've taken a day or two off to paint your living room or are using your weekend to put your guest room or home office in order, don't forget to protect your wedding and engagement rings first.
You don't want to splash paint on your ring accidentally, nor do you want to damage it when you're picking up heavy objects or furniture. You also don't want to risk losing your ring in the middle of a physically strenuous or taxing DIY project.
Where to Put Your Wedding Band When You're Not Wearing It
Once you've taken your engagement or wedding ring off, where should you put it to keep it safe and sound? Your wedding ring and engagement ring might be among the most valuable items you own, so it makes sense to store them securely when they aren't around your finger.
If you remove your ring or rings while you're still at home, one of the best places to keep them is in your bedroom, either in your closet or on your dresser. You can place the rings in a small dish or ring holder or keep them in a ring box.
You can use the boxes your rings came in or purchase a painted ceramic box. If you have a larger jewelry box that has fabric-covered compartments for holding rings, it can be a good storage option. A box that locks can give you some additional peace of mind that your ring is safe.
Another option, if you don't have a ring holder or box, is to keep your rings in small fabric pouches. Choose a bag made from a soft fabric, such as silk or velvet. If you keep your rings in a pouch, it's best to store each one in its own small bag so that they don't rub against or scratch each other.
If you're out and about when you realize you're still wearing your ring and shouldn't be, you aren't out of luck, nor do you have to turn around and head home to take it off. Instead, keep either a ring box or a small pouch in your larger bag so that you can slip your ring off and tuck it away for safekeeping before you go near the sand or water. If you're going to a public place, such as a pool or beach, see if you can rent a locker and store your bag in it until it's time to go home.
How to Care for Your Engagement and Wedding Rings
Even if you baby your wedding and engagement rings and treat them with a lot of extra care, there may come a time when they need a little more TLC. If your wedding ring looks a little dull or like it has lost a bit of sparkle, it could need cleaning.
You can clean your ring at home with some gentle dish soap, warm water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse and dry the ring entirely after washing it so that the soap and water don't leave a film. Another option is to bring your ring to a jeweler for a professional cleaning. Your jeweler can also repair any damage to the ring or resize it if your fingers have gotten larger or smaller since you got married.
Mountz Jewelers understands that your wedding and engagement rings mean a lot to you. We'd be happy to help you take the best possible care of your rings, whether you purchased them with us, inherited a family heirloom or got them elsewhere. If it's time to give your rings a cleaning, request an appointment with us today.