You might spend hours – sometimes even days or weeks – carefully considering what type of jewellery to buy. From thinking about materials and design to price and style, there’s a lot of thought that goes into a jewellery purchase. But you may not give much thought to how best to store this jewellery, to ensure it remains looking great. Storing jewellery properly is vital for extending the lifespan of your best pieces.
So what is the best way to store jewellery? It really depends on the type of jewellery, and the materials that each piece is made of. For example, beaded necklaces are best stored differently to chain necklaces.
Storing beaded jewellery
It may seem like a great idea to store beaded necklaces and bracelets by hanging them from hooks, much like you might do with a metal chain necklace. However, the style of beaded jewellery – beads threaded around a string or elastic – means that hanging pieces in this way can put too much pressure on the string, causing it to ‘give’. This can loosen the string, making your bracelet or anklet droopy. This can increase the risk of it catching or snagging, and make a necklace hang lower than intended. It’s a bit like hanging a wet wool jumper from the washing line and ending up with a woollen dress or tunic!
Storing jewellery with threading and beading needs special consideration. It’s best to store this type of jewellery flat so that it can’t stretch. Keep each piece separate from the next where possible, to avoid tangling. Storing in compartmentalised jewellery boxes, or in tiered storage, works well. And in situations where you aren’t able to keep everything separate, popping pieces into individual bags can help greatly.
Storing jewellery made of metals such as gold and silver is a little different, due to the qualities of the metals. Silver jewellery is well known for tarnishing when it’s been exposed to the oxygen in the air for extended periods. Keeping any silver pieces away from the air as much as possible is an important storage consideration. This includes silver accessories such as keychains, and jewellery with only small silver details. Silver jewellery will often be sold in a soft velvet bag to help with this; items using crystal beads can also benefit. But for silver jewellery that isn’t sold in such a way, simply popping the pieces into a ziplock bag and removing as much air as possible before sealing can do a good job.
Gold jewellery doesn’t tarnish, but gold is known for being a very soft metal that scratches and dents quite easily. This is something to think about when storing jewellery with yellow, white, or rose gold accents and features. It’s best to try and keep gold jewellery away from other metals that could scratch the piece, and to store this type of jewellery on a soft base that prevents it from becoming damaged.
Clean & dry
Perhaps the most important aspect of storing jewellery – no matter what type of jewellery it is, or what materials it’s made from – is keeping each piece clean and dry. Always dry jewellery after being outside in the rain, or showering, bathing, or swimming, before putting it away. Better still, remove it first. You can dry jewellery using a soft microfibre cloth to gently wipe away any damp or moisture.
However, just because an item is put away dry doesn’t always mean it will stay dry. High levels of humidity can cause condensation to form on cooler metals or beads, so try to store jewellery in rooms with excellent ventilation. Where possible, store it in cool, dark places such as inside a wardrobe. Popping each piece in a velvet bag, or on a piece of soft foam, can also help to absorb any moisture.
Cleaning jewellery before storing it is also important. Each time you wear jewellery, daily dirt and grime, including outside particles and natural body oils, build up on the surface of the item. This isn’t an urgent problem, but over time, abrasive particles can start to slowly wear the jewellery down. All jewellery needs a thorough clean every now and then. However, getting into the habit of quickly wiping down jewellery when you take it off each evening, before putting it away, can massively reduce the impact of daily dirt.
Extending the life of your jewellery
Storing jewellery isn’t just about staying organised and keeping your vanity table clean and tidy. It really can help to extend the lifespan of your favourite pieces, and help them look great for longer. Storing jewellery in a way that protects the materials and retains the integrity and design of each piece is very important. And the good news is that it’s not very difficult to store jewellery in a safe and effective way.