How to Store and Protect Your Jewelry
Jewelry that is worth giving is worth protecting. You are not just safeguarding metal and gems; you are securing the symbols of special events. The memories are as precious as the gems themselves. To maintain lustre and keep them from damage, you want to make sure you clean, store, and protect your jewelry correctly.
Keep It Clean
Before you store your jewelry, make sure it is clean. Body oils, sweat, and lotions can lead to tarnishing and other possible damage, so you should clean it after each wear. At the very least, use a polishing cloth to remove residue.
It is important to know HOW to clean different metals and gems. For example:
- can be cleaned with a 15-minute soak in a solution of warm water and mild dish soap, then a light scrub with a soft-bristled brush. To finish, simply rinse in clean warm water and dry with a soft cloth. This same method can be used to clean your diamonds.
- Tarnished silver can be cleaned with everything from aluminum foil and laundry detergent to ketchup. Baking soda, distilled vinegar, cornflour, and toothpaste are other common household items that can be used to clean silver.
- Softer gems like emeralds and rubies can also be cleaned with mild soap and warm water and a very soft cloth, but be sure to take extra care not to scratch them. Warm water and mild detergent can be used to clean pearls. Do not submerge them in the water, but rather dip your soft cloth in the solution and clean the pearls gently. Never use vinegar on pearls.
How To Store Jewelry
One of the best ways to store jewelry is to buy a quality jewelry box that is lined with a soft fabric and has slots for rings, hooks for separate necklaces and bracelets, and an area for earrings and other jewelry. Rubber earring backs can cause silver to tarnish. Costume jewelry should always be stored separately.
If you choose to store your jewelry in an ordinary box or container, make sure you wrap each piece of jewelry in eyeglass cloth or anti-tarnish paper. Whenever possible, use the pouch or box the piece came in. Often, the fabrics are specifically treated to protect that particular metal or gem.
Hanging jewelry organizers can be great space savers and make it easier to find the piece you want to wear, but take care with the plastic as it can damage some soft metals and gems. Also make sure you keep this in a spot that will not be in direct sunlight or extreme heat, as both can damage soft gems like emeralds and rubies.
Sorting for Storage
It is recommended that you sort your jewelry by type (rings, necklaces, earrings, etc.) as well as by the metals and gems of the piece. This lowers the risk of damage from a hard diamond on a soft gold, for example, and makes it easier to find and keep track of your beautiful items.
How Do You Keep Jewelry Safe at Home?
Getting a jewelry box with a lock might help you keep a fellow household member from “borrowing” your favorite pieces, but in the case of theft that lock will do nothing. If burglary is a concern, you may not want to store all of your jewelry in one place that is easily taken.
A home safe is the best way to store jewelry, as long as you have cleaned, sorted, and wrapped it properly. For extremely valuable pieces that could be the target of theft, it is best practice to keep them in a safety deposit box.
You should always insure your fine jewelry. Take dated photos of each piece and file them with a written description that includes when and where it was purchased, the original cost, and the certificate of authentication when available. It is advisable to have both a hard copy and an electronic file.