No matter how careful you are with beautiful diamond rings, they will eventually need to be cleaned. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get your hands dirty very often. The skin contains natural oils that can get into the setting and diminish a diamond’s shine, and then there are the everyday substances hands come into contact with – soap, shampoo, dishwater, skin lotion, sun screen, dust, makeup, and food particles can all affect the way a piece of jewellery looks over time.

Like homes, rings are best cleaned regularly. Little and often is best. Some people recommend all kinds of household items for jewellery cleaning, from toothpaste to banana peel, but it really should be kept simple. Make a solution with a small amount of mild liquid detergent in warm water. Soak the ring for a few minutes, then rinse under a tap (with the plug in the sink just in case it slips out of your grip). Let the ring dry out naturally rather than hurrying it with a towel – small pieces of fabric can easily get caught up in the setting and they can be tricky to remove.

Stubborn bits of grit and grease can be very carefully removed with the end of a toothpick. Use a plastic pick if you can find one, as these are less likely to splinter and catch than wood. Don’t use the end of a pin or a metal needle or you’ll risk scratching the metal of the band. Multi-stone rings that contain gemstones other than diamonds are also vulnerable to scratching. Diamond is hard, but not all precious stones are as durable.

In some cases a more vigorous cleaning is required. If you see any grime or grease trapped in the setting of your ring, it may need to be removed with a soft brush. Take care- delicate settings are easily damaged and while diamonds are incredibly hard, precious metals can be very soft. Be especially cautious with solid yellow gold, because this is much softer than white gold, platinum, or most other metals. It can scratch very easily.

Prevention is better than cure – keeping your ring clean is certainly easier than cleaning it. When wearing your ring, avoid liquids with ammonia in them and steer clear of chlorine. If you do want to go swimming in a public pool or scrub something with a bleach solution it’s best to take the ring off. Store it somewhere safely and wash your hands thoroughly before you put it back on.

Unless you have the right skills and the right equipment, it’s not possible to repair scratches and re-polish the bands on wedding, engagement, and eternity rings yourself, but a jeweller can certainly do this. Small blemishes in the metal can be repaired and smoothed over and the original high shine restored. Once every six months, a professional cleaning is recommended anyway. As long as it has only suffered the usual daily wear and tear, a jeweller should be able to make a piece of diamond jewellery look just as beautiful as it did when you first opened the box and tried it on.