Six ways to protect your rings in cold weather

In winter, as temperatures drop, our fingers shrink, posing a risk to sentimental jewellery, such as engagement rings.

The cold can make it easier for rings to slip off unnoticed, leading to potential loss or damage. A recent study by Pandora UK reveals that 68% of Brits are unaware of the risk of losing rings in winter due to skin fluctuations, and 41% have experienced ring loss or damage due to changes in finger size.

To help keep your jewellery safe, Sarah Rowlands from Pandora UK shares six tips to safeguard your rings from winter weather damage, particularly if they are loose.

1) Secure rings with smaller bands

As our fingers shrink in cold weather, our rings become looser and are more likely to slip off. If you notice your ring feeling looser, place a smaller sized ring above to secure it in place or remove it temporarily until it feels secure again. Alternatively, you can wear your ring on a different finger. 

When asked, 33% of Brits shared that they would use nail varnish and/or glue to resize a loose ring at home. However, Sarah warns that you should never apply glue or nail varnish to your ring to make it fit as this can damage your ring’s band and the gemstone. Your ring may be sensitive to the chemicals, causing discoloration or irreparable damage.

2) Remove precious rings when going outdoors in adverse weather

When wearing your ring outdoors, be cautious of potential damage, such as chipping or scratching the diamond, especially as sudden temperature changes can affect certain gems, such as diamonds, peridots and amethysts, by making them fracture on the inside.

To ensure its safety, it’s advisable to remove the ring and store it securely. Additionally, the risk of losing the ring in snow increases as finger sizes change, making retrieval challenging if it slips off.

3) Avoid exposing jewellery to extreme temperatures

Cold temperatures cause gemstones, including diamonds, to contract rapidly, while warm temperatures make them expand. To safeguard these from damage, it is recommended to allow them to gradually acclimate to different temperatures by placing it in a protective case or leaving it off for an hour to acclimate on its own.

Furthermore, it’s advisable to keep diamond jewellery away from direct heat sources, including heating pads, ovens, or fires, as abrupt temperature fluctuations can lead to internal fractures, resulting in thermal shock.

4) Avoid wearing rings under gloves

When taking off gloves, exercise caution to prevent inadvertently pulling off your ring, especially if it has become loose due to the weather. It is recommended to remove rings before putting on gloves to minimise the risk of loss.

Wearing your engagement ring with gloves also poses a potential risk of the gem falling out, as the ring’s prongs may catch on the material and loosen the stone’s setting in the process.

5) Ensure the prongs holding the gemstone in place do not become loose

As a crucial element of engagement rings, it’s essential to regularly inspect the prongs securing our gems. As temperatures drop, the likelihood of snagging rings increases, especially with the prevalence of knitted clothing. 

To ensure the security of your gem, gently shake your ring. If you hear rattling, it indicates a loose gem, and the prongs should be professionally tightened.

6) Clean your rings regularly in the winter to prevent build up

Although applicable year-round, it becomes even more crucial to regularly clean your rings in winter due to the additional factors that can potentially damage your ring such as thermal shock from cold temperatures. A general guideline is to clean your rings at least once a month to prevent dirt buildup.

Before cleaning your ring at home, check if it is suitable for home cleaning, specifically your ring’s metals and gems. If you can clean it at home, avoid any harsh substances, such as vinegar and baking soda, and clean the rings softly to avoid accidental scratches.

One way to clean the ring at home is by using warm soapy water and a new, soft bristle brush to gently scrub the nooks and crannies of your ring to lift dirt and grime in the hard to reach areas. If the dirt is stubborn, soak the ring in the water for roughly 10 minutes and try again.

Another method is to use an at home jewellery cleaning solution which can be bought on the high street. Check the solution is suitable to use for your ring’s metal and gems, and then dip your ring in for two minutes for a quick clean. 

Dirt accumulation can scratch or dull the gems in engagement rings. Removing it not only restores the brilliance of the gems but also facilitates the detection of any imperfections that may require attention.

Pandora sells a jewellery cleaner set which is designed to be used on all types of metals and gems, and includes everything you need including a soft polishing cloth.