Class Ring Care: 7 Simple Tips for Jewelry Cleaning and Maintenance

jewelry cleaning

Class rings are beautiful keepsakes. They are mementos of your time at school and reminders of all the wonderful memories you made there. When you put on your class ring, you want to look down at it and smile fondly in remembrance of all the people that helped make you who you are.

You don’t want to look down and get grossed out by how much dirt and tarnish has accumulated on it. 

This is why jewelry cleaning and maintenance of your class ring are so important. It enhances the ring’s shine and brilliance so that you can enjoy it for years to come. 

Wondering how to keep your class ring looking its best? Check out these seven tips that are sure to make your keepsake sparkle. 

1. Maintain Your Class Rings

Propper maintenance is the best way to ensure that your class rings stay gorgeous and shiny for years to come. 

Whenever you’re not wearing your rings, store them in a clean and dry place. Soft, cloth-lined jewelry boxes are great for preventing accidental scratches and dents. Store them separately from other pieces like necklaces to avoid tangling, scratching, and breaking. 

Some class ring designs have intricate and ornate stones. These rings should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off when you get dressed. This prevents them from accidentally getting tangled up in garments and breaking. 

Avoid wearing your class rings during extreme weather. Depending on what your ring is made of, exposure to extreme heat or cold can damage the metal and stones. 

If you have to go out during a blizzard, either leave your rings at home or store them in a purse or pocket, then put them on once you reach a safe destination.

Forgo the rings entirely if you plan on participating in extreme sports like skiing or snowboarding. This negates the risk of damage, loss, and injury.  

Similarly, don’t ever wear your high school or college class ring in a pool or hot tub. The metals in your ring will fade or corrode if they are exposed to harsh chemicals like chlorine. 

Finally, make sure that you inspect your class rings often. Try to catch any potential damage before it becomes more severe. Small repairs will cost significantly less than major ones. 

2. How Often You Should Clean Your Class Rings

With the hectic pace of day-to-day life, cleaning your class rings is easy to overlook. But regular cleaning helps prevent gunk, tarnish, and other nastiness from building up. 

So how often should you clean your college or high school class ring? The answer depends on several factors. 

First is what the class ring is made out of. Rings made of sterling silver require regular cleaning and polishing to remove tarnish. Gold rings, on the other hand, can go a little longer between cleaning sessions. 

How frequently you wear your rings also factors into how often you need to clean them. If you wear your class ring every day, you should clean it frequently. If you only wear it to special events and occasions, you don’t have to clean it quite as often. 

Along those lines, the more often you wear your ring, the more it is exposed to dirt, grime, and chemicals. Rings that you wear daily have to weather the elements every single day. Regular cleaning is crucial for keeping these pieces looking their best.  

Your class ring will most likely come with maintenance instructions. These are your guide to how and how frequently you need to clean your piece. Make sure you read through these instructions thoroughly so that you know exactly when and how to clean your rings. 

It’s up to You

Ultimately, how often you should clean your class rings comes down to your preferences. 

Some people chose to clean their rings daily to maintain their appearance and shine. If you decide to take the daily cleaning route, make sure you are using gentle products that are safe for use on the materials that your ring is made out of. Polishes that add a protective layer to the ring are great choices for daily cleaning. 

Cleaning your class ring weekly is another great option. This removes any dirt, grime, or tarnish that has accumulated throughout the week. This option is perfect for people who wear their class rings every day. 

If you don’t wear your rings quite that often or are just plain busy, monthly cleaning will also suffice. Opt for products that provide long-lasting results and take the time to deep-clean your piece. 

Cleaning your class ring regularly is the best way to keep it in perfect shape. However, be wary of home remedies and jewelry cleaning life hacks like using toothpaste. 

Use only verified products and safe DIY methods to clean your class rings. If you have questions about a particular method, consult the instructions that came with your ring, or get in contact with the company that you purchased it from. You can always talk to a local jeweler if you’re still unsure. 

3. Jewelry Cleaning for Silver Class Rings

Sterling silver is a popular choice for class rings because they are attractive, affordable, and pair well with almost any outfit. 

Unfortunately, silver tarnishes over time. This occurs when silver combines with sulfur-containing substances in the air and creates silver sulfide.

Silver sulfide appears as a thin, dark layer on the surface of a silver piece. This formation is what we call tarnish. It makes the silver look dark, dirty, and aged. 

Even if you’re extremely careful with your silver class ring, tarnish is going to form. After all, there’s no way to protect it from the air itself. Fortunately, tarnish is easy to remove if you do it often and correctly. 

The best way to clean tarnished silver rings and keep them from re-tarnishing as quickly is with high-quality silver polish. These polishes contain ingredients that dissolve and remove the silver sulfide layer.

They also leave behind a protective coating that slows the chemical reaction down. This layer keeps your ring looking clean and shiny for much longer. 

Tarnish-removing wipes are another great solution, especially if you’re in a hurry. Disposable silver wipes are relatively cheap and perfect for giving your class ring a quick polish before you run out the door. 

Treated, multi-layer cleaning cloths are another excellent option. These cloths typically have one side treated to remove tarnish, and another side to shine the silver. This is a more eco-friendly solution to disposable wipes. 

DIY Tarnish Remover

There are tons of home remedies out there that claim to be able to remove tarnish. Unfortunately, many of these methods do more harm than good. They expose your silver ring to chemicals that can eventually cause it to corrode and break down. 

But if you’re strapped for time and need a DIY silver cleaning remedy, here’s one that we can confirm is both safe and effective. 

Prepare a mixture of 2 Tbsp baking soda and 1/2 cup white vinegar. It will foam and fizz when combined but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. 

Leave your silver class ring to soak in the solution for no longer than three hours. Wipe it down with a clean cloth when you’re done and the tarnish should come right off.  

4. Jewelry Cleaning for Gold Class Rings 

Unlike silver, pure gold doesn’t naturally tarnish and get dark with just exposure to air. However, daily exposure to dirt, grime, and chemicals can make your gold class ring lose its luster. 

Most class rings are not made with pure gold. Pure or 24 karat gold is a very soft metal that scratches and dents easily. 

To ensure the longevity of class rings, most of them are made of gold alloys. This is gold mixed with other metals to increase its hardness and strength. Depending on the percentage of other metals mixed in with gold, there is a chance for gold alloys to develop tarnish. 

The best way to clean your gold class ring and remove any accumulated tarnish is to use a specialized cleaning solution. These cleaners are formulated specifically to clean and shine gold without harming the metal.

If you’re looking for a safe and effective DIY gold cleaning solution, we’ve got you covered. 

First, mix a bit of blue Dawn dish detergent with warm, not hot, water. Then, add a few drops of ammonia. 

Place your gold class ring in the solution and let it soak for about five minutes. Give them a gentle bath by swishing them around a few times in the bowl. 

Remove your ring from the solution and place it on a clean cloth. Carefully clean the ring with a new, baby-size, soft toothbrush. This helps you get into cracks and crevices to dissolve dirt and grime. 

Once you’re done, place the ring in lukewarm water to rinse. Finally, dry it off with a clean, soft cloth and leave it out to finish air-drying. 

Avoid tarnishing or damaging your gold ring by steering clear of chlorine and soaps with unknown ingredients. 

5. Cleaning Class Ring Gemstones 

Many class ring customization options include adding gemstones to the piece. These additions can make class rings look elegant and classy, but present unique cleaning challenges. 

If your class ring contains a genuine diamond, ruby, or sapphire, it’s safe to clean it at home. You can even use the same solution that we detailed in the gold cleaning section. You can also use a bit of Windex and a soft toothbrush to polish up these three stones. 

However, you should never use this solution on any gemstone that isn’t a diamond, ruby, or sapphire. Other stones like emeralds, opals, and turquoise are too delicate and porous. The water, soap, and ammonia solution can cause serious damage to them. 

Because each gemstone has different characteristics, it’s smart to ask your jeweler what they recommend for cleaning your specific gemstone. They’ll be able to provide you with specific solutions that will help keep your stones shiny and safe. 

While you’re there, pick up a gem cloth. These cloths are treated for use on different gemstones and are great for giving your stone a quick and, most importantly, safe shine. 

6. Getting in the Crevices

Many class rings have a lot of tiny little crevices. They tend to accumulate the most dirt and can be very hard to reach with polishing cloths or wipes. 

Every so often, take time to clean out these little crevices. Soaking your class ring in one of the solutions we detailed above helps dislodge any grime that has accumulated.

Use a soft toothbrush to get inside these cracks and scrub the grit away. Pointed q-tips are another great tool for this. 

If there are still spots that you just can’t reach, take your ring to your local jeweler and ask them to clean it for you. Jewelers have specialized tools that are designed to scrub accumulated dirt out of tiny crevices in class rings. 

7. Take It to the Professionals 

When it comes to jewelry cleaning and class rings when in doubt, take it to the professionals. 

Local jewelers have many tools and resources that the average person doesn’t. They are incredible fonts of knowledge when it comes to precious metals, gemstones, and preserving your class ring. 

If your class ring contains a delicate stone, is made of soft metal, or you just want to ensure it’s maintained to the highest standard, take it to your local jeweler. Ask questions about how you can better clean and maintain this priceless keepsake so that you can enjoy it for years to come. 

Professional jewelers also carry many cleaning solutions. You can rest assured in the knowledge that these products will be safe and effective when caring for your class ring. 

Class Ring Etiquette FAQ

Now that you know how to care for and maintain your class ring, let’s talk a little bit about high school and college class ring etiquette and how to wear a class ring. 

Q: What hand do you wear your class ring on?

A: Traditionally, class rings are worn on the right hand, because wedding rings are worn on the left hand. 

Q: What finger does a class ring go on? 

A: Class rings are traditionally worn on the ring finger. However, there are no set rules to this. Your high school or college ring finger can be whichever one the ring fits most comfortably on. 

Q: Is wearing your class ring after high school appropriate? 

A: Class rings are designed to be worn both during and after high school. Some people wear their class ring until they replace it with their college ring. Others wear their class ring for the rest of their lives. Ultimately, it’s up to you how long you want to wear your ring. 

Q: What are some common class ring symbol meanings? 

A: Eagles represent pride, dignity, and freedom. Lions represent courage, strength, and overcoming adversity. Torches represent the light of knowledge and wisdom. A laurel garland represents honor and distinction. A coat of arms represents your school’s history and values. 

When and Where – Class Ring Q&A

Q: When should I order my class ring? 

A: In high school, most people get their class ring during their junior year. As the junior ring ceremony approaches, your high school will send out an order form that you can use to design your ring. You should order your ring in time to receive it at the junior ring ceremony. 

Q: When do you get a class ring in college? 

A: This varies based on your college’s traditions. Some colleges hold ring ceremonies each semester for students who have completed 90 or more credit hours. Others hold ceremonies for graduating seniors. Find out what your college’s traditions are so that you will know exactly when you need to order and receive your class ring. 

Q: Where should you wear a class ring?

A: This is entirely up to you. Some people wear their class ring every day. Others wear them only on special occasions. What’s important is that you never wear your ring during extreme weather or during activities like working out, as this can damage it. 

Q: Are class rings worth it? 

A: If you take care of your class ring, it will be a gorgeous heirloom that will last a lifetime. It is a reminder of who you are and where you came from. It is a unique piece that will hold special meaning to you. So in short, class rings are worth it! 

Taking Care of Your Class Ring

Class rings should be reminders of growth, learning, and time well spent. They should not be a dirt trap, tarnish, and other grit. 

These seven jewelry cleaning and maintenance tips are guaranteed to keep your class ring looking radiant whether you wear it every day or only once in a while. 

For more class ring cleaning tips, check out our other articles today. 

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