DIAMOND RINGS AND WEDDING BANDS SYMBOLIZE LOVE. HAVE YOU MADE A COMMITMENT TO SAFEGUARD THESE TREASURES?
By James Appleton
According to anthropologists, the practice of presenting a ring to a prospective bride dates back to ancient Rome, but our modern concept of an engagement ring took thousands of years to evolve. Rings crafted from gold became popular in the first century, but it took a royal suitor to spark the trend for rings adorned with diamonds. When Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477, his gift of a diamond ring sparked a trend among the European aristocracy. By the Victorian era, rings adorned with diamonds and other gemstones became synonymous with romance, love and matrimony.
The archduke could not have foreseen that his choice of ring would help to inspire a global jewelry market that is expected to grow from $279 billion in 2018 to over $480 billion by 2025. While the diamond industry has for decades encouraged couples to set aside two months’ salary for an engagement ring, survey results indicate that American buyers spend about two weeks’ salary, around $6,000, on average.
Whatever the price tag, wedding jewelry is a significant investment that requires careful maintenance and protection. Here are five important recommendations:
5 Tips to Protect Bridal Jewelry
- Don’t remove your ring in public: While it’s important to wash your hands in a public restroom, avoid removing your engagement ring or wedding band while cleaning up. This minimizes the risk of leaving your jewelry on the edge of the sink or dropping it down the drain.
- Avoid unnecessary wear and tear: Diamonds are one of the hardest natural materials, but that doesn’t preclude the risk of chipping. Remove and safely store your ring before hands-on activities such as gardening, washing dishes, exercising or moving furniture. This also helps minimize the risk of damaging or scarring the metal setting.
- Keep your rings clean: Legend has it that Elizabeth Taylor cleaned her diamonds at home with warm water, a toothbrush and gin, but jewelry experts advise against cleaning your engagement ring with household materials. In fact, colored gemstones may be permanently damaged by harsh chemicals or rough handling. Professionals will gently and thoroughly clean your treasured jewelry with steam.
- Schedule regular maintenance: Have you ever mysteriously lost a stone out of a piece of jewelry? It can happen without warning. By the time you realize the stone is missing, it’s usually long gone. Scheduling an inspection at least once per year with a professional jeweler is the best way to ensure the prongs are tight, the diamond is secure, and there are no chips in the stones or hairline
cracks in the shank itself.
- Purchase insurance: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage for an engagement ring, wedding bands or other fine jewelry. Standard homeowners policies provide limited coverage, perhaps only $1,500, for lost or stolen property, and that’s after the policyholder covers the deductible. In addition, these policies generally only cover named perils. In contrast, specialized collectibles and jewelry insurance policies may include all-risk coverage at limits of up to $1 million with the option of a zero-dollar deductible. Another benefit of a stand-alone collectibles insurance policy is the fact that it is not tied to your homeowners policy. In today’s insurance market, filing a claim against a homeowners policy may leave you vulnerable to premium increases when it’s time to renew your policy. In a worst-case scenario, the policy may be declined for renewal. With a separate collectibles policy, claims do not affect your homeowners premiums or loss history, and they are not reported to an industrywide database like CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange).
Your engagement rings and wedding bands are symbols of one of life’s most precious moments. Properly caring for, maintaining and insuring your treasured pieces are important factors in keeping them safe, maintaining their value and providing peace of mind for you. Before opting to insure your bridal jewelry under a standard homeowners policy, take some time to research specialized insurance policies that may be a better fit for your needs and ultimately provide a more appropriate level of coverage.
JAMES APPLETON is Director of Sales, Special Risk, for Phoenix-based MiniCo Insurance Agency and manages the company’s collectibles insurance program.