It’s been seven months since I gifted my partner, Lev, with a ring by Jewelry by Johan (or Distinctly Johan): a jagged titanium band with a meteorite inlay. I’m glad to be able to say that Lev still really enjoys the ring aesthetically and has gotten into the habit of wearing it daily (he says if he walks out of the house without it, he feels like something’s missing. Hah! That’s sort of like how I feel naked when I’m missing the weight of my purse 😛 )
Back when we were choosing the ring, I extensively perused Johan’s policies, so we were aware that the meteorite would rust overtime. However, since Johan also outlined how to clean and seal the meteorite, I felt really comfortable making the purchase. As is, in our time of ownership we’ve cleaned the ring twice. The first time was in early June (four month in) – the ring must have gotten exposed to a cleaning solution and had gained a sudden layer of rust over a couple of days. We used Johan’s suggested process and were happy with the results.
It’s been three months since and the rust has started building back up at the folded over titanium edges. Lev hasn’t noticed it much and wasn’t bothered by it, but he agreed to clean the ring early for the sake of pretty documentation. 😀
To slow down the rusting process, and to generally care for the ring, Lev consistently takes the ring off for: cleaning/dishwashing; showers; eating messy foods; indoor climbing – basically anything abrasive that would wear away the titanium, or anything likely to bring the iron meteorite into contact with corrosive chemicals.
He does however wear the ring while jogging, or biking in gloves and finds it comfortable. Also, the titanium edges sit flush against the meteorite, and have never caught on anything (something that I was a little worried about).
Meteorite Cleaning Process
In this particular attempt, we tried hard with photography, and not so hard with cleaning. During our first try in June we had to repeat the step of meticulously scrubbing the meteorite with a toothbrush twice – this helped us get all the difficult rust spots in between the titanium edges. During this attempt, however, we lazed out and performed the steps only once – so you’ll be able to see some rust deposits remaining in our AFTER photos.
Step 1: Pick an old toothbrush. Using regular toothpaste, gently scrub the meteorite. Whether you’re being sane and doing this over a sink, or being a show-off and risking it on a balcony railing, take care not to drop the ring.
Rinse the ring off with water, brushing off the remaining toothpaste particles.
Rinse the ring under a small stream of water. Check the jagged edges for any remaining rust. Repeat the whole of Step 1, aiming for those hard to reach spots, until you’re satisfied with the results.
Step 2: Using 90% alcohol (common rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy), soak the ring for about 10 minutes in a cup to drive away moisture.
Remove the ring from the glass and dispose of alcohol in an acceptable way. Set the ring down to dry on a paper towel – the remaining alcohol will evaporate, leaving the ring dry.
Step 3: Place the dried ring in a glass. Pour over oil (free of water or chemical cleansers) – we like to use as little as possible, just to cover the ring entirely.
Sway the cup around to help coat the ring surface with oil. Leave the ring in for a couple of minutes. Then take the ring out and dab it dry.
Here are the results – several hours after the cleaning, with the ring completely dry. (At this point, the ring is on my hand, and I’m using an i-phone for photos). Our conclusion: the outcome isn’t perfect, but we know we CAN get it perfect with a little more diligence. To Lev, the maintenance effort for this ring does not feel time consuming, and is worth having the meteorite inlay. He assures me that even with hindsight, he’d choose this ring again.