Wedding World 003: 13 Times To Take Off an Engagement Ring
in the last post I walked you through the phase of wearing a ring. Today I'm going to talk you through when to take off your engagement ring. I had to seriously Google this and my hope is that by reading this post, maybe you'll get some of the answers I was searching for.
After the first few days of being engaged and enjoying the warm feelings, came the logistics of caring for this new piece of prized jewelry. I honestly have to say that this is one of the most sentimental pieces of anything I own in my life, and one day I might share why that is. But anyway, I was feeling SUPER committed to taking care of this thing like my life depended on it. I was infatuated with this new symbol of love that I would get to wear forever. I swore I was going to be the best ring-wearer ever and that I was never going to take this thing off.
Aside from doing dishes, that is.
Oh! Or kneading bread dough.
Or lifting weights...
Or cleaning the bathroom...?
When are you supposed to take off an engagement ring?
I felt a pit in the bottom of my stomach. The thought of taking this thing off hit me hard for one main reason. I knew the best place for safe keeping was for it to stay on my hand. Words of wisdom from other friends, family and my jeweler told me so. So why was I feeling so nervous about taking my ring off? Well, this week's theme says it all:
What if I lost my ring when I took it off?
Seriously. That is one of my deepest fears: losing this ring. I think loss scares me so much in part because it truly is a custom, heirloom ring but also because it's the single object that holds the most meaning in my life. So with that question of what to do if I lost my ring, came another thought.
When do I absolutely have to take this thing off?
Once I caught my breath after spinning down the pit of anxiety, my mind started spinning back to my original question.
"When do I take this thing off?"
...Google should be my second best friend with all of these wedding and ring questions. Cue tons of searches. Success! This lovely post from BRIDES.com was actually super helpful in letting me know when to remove the ring for safe keeping. That said, I still had some unanswered questions about when to remove my ring. So here are some times when I realized it would be smart for me to take off my engagement ring:
1. Outdoor Activities
The first thing that stands out to me is taking your ring off during any extreme outdoor activity. The reason is because the particles outdoors can lodge in the setting of your ring and make it more loose over time. Below are some activities you might seriously want to consider leaving your ring at home for:
- sand volleyball: diving into gritty sand over time can either scratch or damage the plating on your ring
- swimming: always, always, always take off your ring ANYTIME you go swimming. Water can often cause your fingers to "shrink" especially if it's colder than your body temperature (which averages 98.6). So unless you're constantly swimming in a balmy 98 degrees, plan to keep your ring safe at home.
- hunting: for those enjoy the outdoors, taking your ring off before you go hunting is smart. Most likely because if you're wearing gloves, and if it's during cold weather, you run the risk of your ring slipping off when you take off your glove. And for the parts of hunting that require you to care for game, getting your ring contaminated with animal fluids is not only unsanitary, but also pretty unappealing.
- fishing: same goes for fishing, except this time you're combining water AND a type of hunting.
- boating: I'm sensing a theme here. Anytime you're around water, it's smart to leave the ring in it's case or in a safe, protected place.
Anytime you use lotion to moisturize, it's smart to take off your ring until you either rub in all of the lotion or wipe off any excess with a towel. Lotions can build up a film on the band of your ring, or get lodged into the setting if you're not careful. This includes anytime you get massages where the masseuse massages your hands with an oil or lotion. Additionally, anytime you moisturize your face, you probably squirt the serum into your palm. It's smart to take your wedding ring off for this too.
I love a tidy house as much as anyone, but anytime I'm anywhere NEAR plumbing, I take off my ring. I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard about dropping a ring down the drain, tub, or full washing machine. This includes anytime you're washing dishes (even with gloves on), submerging your hands in chemicals near a drain, cleaning toilets, or scrubbing sinks. Best to be on the safe side and put your ring in the predetermined place where it's safe.
This may be somewhat controversial, but I have heard of some brides purchasing a "travel" ring that closely resembles their real ring but is considered a faux gem whenever they travel internationally. I think that if you're considering international travel, this may be a smart thing to do, especially if you plan on taking a tour of the lesser well-known areas of an unfamiliar city.
5. Lifting Weights
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take off your engagement ring (or at the very least layer it between two Qalo rings like I did in the picture above, more on this in another post) when you're lifting weights. I made this mistake, and despite two buffing sessions, can still see a small scratch on the underside of my band. Most weight bars have little notches in them to assist with grips, especially when using bars for deadlifts or squats or other high-power lifts. You know all the blisters that hardcore lifters sometimes get? The calluses that are built up are because those grooves slowly cut away at the skin. That's why you'll see gloves floating around the industry. And since most ring bands are gold (a notoriously soft metal), the grooves WILL scratch your band and leave you seeing dents and scratches. Don't make my mistake.
Some brides differ on this but I always take my ring off when showering (cue the drain fear *shudder*). This is in part because I actually use this time to clean my ring and put it in the soaking solution my jeweler gave me. Because then after I shower, I can lotion up and let everything dry without feeling like I'm getting gunk all over my ring, and I've done it a service by giving it a nice little cleaning. It's more a habit and personal care routine than a must, but keeping your ring away from drains is always a smart move.
Some people might tell you to take off your ring when cooking. I feel like unless you're standing over a vat of oil to deep fry something where splashes may get on you (um... ow), you can keep your ring on while cooking. Baking, however, is another story. Anytime you need to knead (...haha) dough, take off your ring. The goo and flour will easily lodge itself in the spaces between the gem/diamond and the setting and be tough to get out, especially once it dries and crusts.
8. Skin Irritation
Another time to take off your ring is when it is starting to irritate your skin. How do you know when it's beginning to irritate your skin? There are four signs:
- too tight: if you push up on the bottom of your ring while it's on and cannot see any light, chances are your ring is too tight.
- too red: if you start noticing a fine red line on your finger where the band sits, it could be because the ring itself is too tight (see above) or because of lack of airflow. If air can't get in between the band of the ring and your skin, it may cause irritation and inflammation, causing a ring of red to form around your finger. Of course, this could just be your finger forming a slight callous if it's the first few weeks you're wearing it, but if it persists you may want to consider letting your finger "breathe" for a few hours a day.
- too puffy: this goes along with if your ring is too tight, but if your hands are simply too puffy, it could be a sign to give your fingers a break. Sometimes temperature or barometric pressure or hormones can cause fluid retention and fluctuation in our hands throughout the day, and if you're like me and wake up with puffy hands, even just taking your ring off for a few minutes to give your hands time to shrink may be helpful.
- too itchy: this goes along with a red line or irritation, but if your finger suddenly becomes itchy where the ring sits, it could indicate that your skin is not getting enough oxygen or cannot shed the dead layers of skin (ew, I know). This is a great time to give your hands a few minutes of time without jewelry.
9. Children's Play
A great time to take off your ring is when you are playing with children. Meaning that anytime your hands come near playdough, finger paint, shaving cream, slime, or mudpies, it would be smart to remove your ring. I have a friend who works with me in early childhood education who once picked up her ring from her jeweler after a cleaning. They asked "so...what was that purple stuff we found buried in the setting?" and she told them that it was playdough. Badge of educator honor, right there.
10. Manual Labor
Another time you may wish to leave your ring inside is anytime you're doing hard, manual labor. Think things like gardening, wood working, sawing, chopping wood, etc. Not only could your ring get caught in equipment (omg, omg, omg) but it could also result in dismemberment (...I'm getting nauseous). Please don't risk getting your ring caught in heavy equipment and just leave it off.
Believe it or not, another time I take off my ring is when I go get salon manicures. This is because when they file your nails, the dust can get in the setting and I don't feel comfortable with that amount of dust. So some solutions are to either take it off or flip it around so that it is upside down, with the diamond or gem by your palm. This way the majority of the dust does not get in the setting.
12. Weather Extremes
Most jewelers will tell you that your ring should fit 80% of the time. Cue my last post when I couldn't figure out HOW my ring should really fit. Those jewelers must have been from temperate climates where the weather and temperature is predictable and stable. For those brides or friends who live in states that switch from 30 degrees to 70 within a week (where my fellow Midwesterners at?) or from humid to dry, TAKE NOTE. My friend once told me her jeweler said your ring should really fit 60% of the time, especially in states that vary in intensity of weather patterns. So if you know that the weather tomorrow will be -12 and you need to run tons of errands that require you to constantly put your gloves on and take them off, you may want to consider leaving your ring at home.
13. Ring Cleaning
This is definitely a time I feel totally fine taking off my ring, and it's when you're cleaning it. If you're like me, maybe your jeweler provided you with a soaking solution that you can use to put your ring in and then scrub it gently with a soft bristled brush. My jeweler provided the soak free of charge, told me I could clean my ring as often as I wanted, but should put NOTHING but my ring in the solution. This is because any metal other than gold, like silver, can oxidize the liquid solution and cause it to eat away at your ring (yikes). So ask your jeweler if they have a scrub to provide free of charge. Chances are if you or your loved one spent hundreds or thousands of dollars, they'll have no problem handing over a $5 jar of cleaning solution. If your jeweler does not have a solution on hand, you can make a homemade cleaning solution. Simply use water and dishwashing liquid in 3:1 ratio, scrub with soft bristled toothbrush 1x or 2x per week, and wallah! Check with your jeweler for sure before you make your own solution, as you don't want to get buildup on your ring by using an improper soap.
PURPOSEFUL REMOVAL IS A GOOD THING
Now when I think of removing my ring, I get a little less worried. Mostly because I know that by purposefully removing it, I'm protecting it in the long run. By preventing bumps, scrapes, and gunk from building up, not only am I preserving an heirloom but I'm keeping it in good condition. And the condition I like best is knowing that it's sparkle symbolizes a lifetime of joy ahead of me.
I hope these tips spark joy and relief for you, just as it did for me.