December 30, 2014

Here are the do’s and don’ts in caring of your championship rings:

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Ring

The above photo recently showed up on Twitter. This looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

Someone is about to season a chicken while wearing their Seahawks Super Bowl ring! (Probably a joke, but who knows?)

Nothing good is going to come of this (except perhaps a great testing meal).

Here is what a lot of time and years collecting championship rings have taught me about caring for championship rings and how to make your sports rings look great:

1) Don’t wear the rings everyday! Especially if you are not the original recipient of the ring, since other than spending a lot of money you would not have had the ring anyway.

Championship rings, especially the ones form the last decade or two are so large they constantly get banged around. Gold is a soft metal and very easy to damage with small dents, scratches, and dings. Keep in mind, especially 14K gold which is softer than 10K gold, the rings can wear down over time and the fine details on the ring can soften (blur) or worse, wear off.

2) Don’t let a jeweler machine-polish and buff the ring! Buffing the ring by machine will improve the look of the ring, however, you are removing a significant amount of gold! If a ring is 50 grams and contains dings and scratches, it may wind up losing 5% or more of it’s weight and just like a ring that is worn too much, the details may be lost or significantly softened. There are many ring collectors who keep notes of ring weights (I know I do) and will pay significantly less money for a ring that is 5-10% lighter in weight than it should be. More than 10% means I won’t buy the ring at all.

3) One of the worst things you can do to your championship ring is to clean it with an ultrasonic cleaner. Made sure you tell your jeweler (and never use one at home) not to use this device on your championship ring. Most championship rings have a black antique finish on the sides of the ring. The black finish helps to make the fine details stand out. Over time the black finish does come off. Using an ultrasonic cleaner will accelerate the black finish coming off much faster. So please remember, never use an ultrasonic cleaner on a championship ring.

4) The best way to clean a championship ring is for the jeweler to steam clean it. Not only does the gold color start to lose it’s shine and luster over time, but the diamonds loose their sparkle too. The reason the diamonds loose their sparkle is that jewelry settings can often obstruct cleaning efforts, and oils, grease, and other substances such as hair spray adhere to a diamond’s surface. When I acquire a ring, the first thing I do is head to my jeweler and have him steam clean the ring. The gold shines again, and the diamonds sparkle. The ring looks new again and I always marvel at the before and after difference! Keep in mind that a steam clean will not eliminate scratches and dents but if the championship ring is in good condition, it will look just about brand new after a steam cleaning.

5) If a championship ring does have surface scratches, I will have my jeweler lightly hand-buff the ring. This can eliminate many of the light surface scratches and soften the dings. While you will lose a little gold, unlike the machine buffing mentioned above, the loss is minimal and the ring will look much better after this process.

6) If a championship ring would look better having the antique finish redone please be aware that this is a risky proposition: There’s a good chance that your jeweler may not even have the black substance or have experience doing this. Furthermore, if he over applies the finish and does not remove the excess finish properly, you will lose many of the fine details of the championship ring.

The details are still on the ring, they’re just hidden beneath a layer of black finish. So if you are thinking of having this done, discuss this with your jeweler, and make sure he knows to remove the black finish enough to show the details. A huge help is if you can present him with a blown up picture of the championship ring with the proper balance of black finish. The large picture will show the details An example of the balance needed is the Lombardi Trophy often shown on the sides of Super Bowl rings. The trophy always contains tiny engraving on the trophy and often you need a magnifying glass to read it. With a proper picture, the jeweler will know he has to remove enough of the black finish to retrieve the tiny engraving details found on the ring.

I hope you find these tips useful.

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