We cherish our jewelry and all it represents. Your favorite pieces might express romantic love; or signify an achievement, like your class ring. Sometimes jewelry feels like spiritual armor that protects us. Other times it's an empowering and indulgent symbol of our wealth.
Regardless of what a piece means to you, eventually, you'll need to take it off. Today, we're going to teach you how to organize and store all different kinds of jewelry, from your most expensive luxury jewelry to fun silver pieces. And whether you choose to store your jewelry in safes, in jewelry boxes, or in a designated area of a well-organized closet, your cherished items will look better and last longer with proper care.
- Notice we mentioned a few different places to store your jewelry. Keep that in mind as we move forward. Some pieces need special care, and well-organized jewels aren't stored together.
We'll need to start with a little science lesson because the way you organize jewelry will depend on its hardness and durability.
Store your diamonds and gold individually — it's science!
Your most expensive, fine jewelry pieces are crafted of diamonds and gold. Many people assume these pieces should be stored together because they're the most costly. That's not true.
We've all heard that diamonds can scratch glass. They can scratch any natural substance. Diamonds are the hardest natural material found on earth. They boast a ranking of 10 on Moh's Hardness Scale. So store your diamonds apart from all your other jewelry!
That's why diamond marketing masters De Beers — they hold most of the world's colorless diamonds in inventory — coined the "diamonds are forever" marketing phrase.
It's also the reason diamonds are so popular for engagement rings. A good diamond will withstand lifetimes of daily wear.
Never test a diamond by scratching something. Most diamond simulants are harder than glass, too.
Gold, on the other hand, is very soft. Depending on its purity, gold is somewhere around 4 to 4.5 on the hardness scale. The purer the gold, the softer it is. Store 18k, 20k, 22k, and 24k pieces in individual plastic or velvet bags. They are very easily damaged! An 18k gold ring will scratch a 20k bracelet as they bump together in a jewelry drawer.
Once you've separated diamonds and gold, it's time to tackle your pearls.
Organize pearl jewelry with extra care.
Pearls are very soft. Closer to a 2.5 on Moh's hardness scale, pearls are as durable as your fingernail. They scratch easily and can be damaged by any other jewelry piece, including 24k gold and other pearls.
- Pearls are sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, so store them in your dresser or bedroom closet.
- Don't lump several strands of pearl jewelry together in one bag or box.
- Keep each strand in a silk bag or individual compartment of a drawer or jewelry box.
- Never store pearls in a box in the basement, attic, or garage.
- Never store pearl strands by hanging them on a hook, even in a tall jewelry box. The silk cord and knots will fray, and you risk breaking the strand.
- Due to their delicacy, don't put pearls in off-site storage unless it's temperature controlled.
- Expensive, luxury strands — we're talking about $10,000 and up — should be insured and kept in a safe or safe deposit box at the bank.
Less expensive pearls are just as beautiful. They're fun to display in dishes or velvet trays for aesthetics. Even damaged pearls can become lamp pull chains, costume jewelry for kids, or crafts. So if you find some damaged strands as you organize jewelry, don't toss them.
Organize gemstone jewelry by hardness, not color.
It's tempting to organize jewelry by color, but it's folly. A green emerald will scratch green jade every time you open your jewelry drawer.
- Gems in the corundum family include ruby and sapphire. These tough stones sit at about 9 on Moh's scale, topped only by diamonds. A pair of ruby earrings probably won't damage each other, but they will damage all softer stones.
Aquamarines, emeralds, and beryls are next on our hardness scale, with hardness scores around 7. Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires damage them, but they'll scratch softer stones in the quartz family, like amethyst and citrine, and especially opal. All the more reason to place every piece in a solitary compartment.
Organize your opal jewelry with extra care.
Opals are mesmerizing! They're also more delicate than pearls. The unique play of light that creates a universe of glittering color in good opals is called "opalescence." Water molecules inside the stone cause it. Opals are harder than a pearl, but the water content and crystal structure make them unstable in the long run.
- Eventually, all opals will lose opalescence unless they are stored with water.
- To store solid opals for a long time, place them in a plastic bag with a cotton ball treated with a few drops of distilled water.
- The water will create humidity in the bag, so the water in the opal won't "dry out."
- Due to their delicacy and water content, the lifetime of opal is only a few human generations.
But what about silver? Have you ever owned a gorgeous piece of silver that tarnished and became unsightly? How disappointing!
Organize and store silver jewelry correctly to reduce tarnish.
Sterling silver is 92.5% pure. The remaining 7.5% is other metals, often including copper. Silver will certainly scratch gold and can be scratched by diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Wipe your silver before storing it, and keep it in a low humidity area of your home to battle the onset of tarnish.
Ultimately, it's always best to store expensive pieces or particularly meaningful gems individually. This will prevent chains from getting tangled and keep one piece from damaging the next.