Take it Off: All About Jewelry Storage

Design Idea FD01 Bracelet
by Leslie, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

When you take off jewelry, what do you do with it? What should you do with it? Here are some of the ins and outs of jewelry storage that will help keep your favorite pieces looking their best.

First of all, jewelry needs to be kept somewhere dry. Usually a jewelry box or storage containers work, though some people also prefer to hang necklaces from displays. Especially if your jewelry is on the expensive side, it's a good investment to get trays or cases that close so people aren't tempted by the pretties.

Keep It Tidy

Wherever the jewelry ends up, it needs to be tidy. Cases with pull-out drawers make it easy to separate designs and stay organized. When jewelry gets jumbled, you risk tangling the stringing materials. Organization also prevents scratches, cracks and other potential damage to stones, pearls and more. Harder gems should always be kept away from gemstones (and all pearls) with a lower Mohs hardness since they will be easily damaged. Learn more about how your favorite stones rate with the ''Mohs Scale of Hardness'' reference chart. Aside from all those benefits, putting jewelry back in its place each time means it's easier to find what you're looking for and reduce the chance of losing pieces.

Be sure to consider the metal type when deciding on storage:

Gold is a malleable metal and can be fairly easily scratched by hard gems. It is recommended to store each piece of gold jewelry in the box it came in, an individual tray or opt for a soft pouch that will most likely fit much better in jewelry boxes or other containers.

Always make sure silver is dry before storing. Silver jewelry should never be stored with pieces that have rubber. Rubber contains sulphur, which can cause tarnish. It's best to store silver in a cloth, container or sealable bag with anti-tarnish strips inside even if the container itself is ''anti-tarnish''--you can never be too careful. Replace strips about every 9 months.

Other Metals
It's best to store each type of metal away by itself. It's also a good idea to include anti-rust or -tarnish strips corresponding to each metal type. Shine-On™ makes Coppertex® anti-tarnish strips specific for copper, brass, bronze or other copper alloys. They also have a line of Nox-Rust® anti-rust strips designed to inhibit rust from forming on ferrous metals such as mild carbon steel, cast iron, tin and tin-plated steel.

Keep It Clean

Now that you know some storage basics, there is a step you'll need to take before actually putting away the designs you were wearing. Gently clean each piece of jewelry after use. This may sound tedious, but the time spent will save you money and heartache by protecting your favorite pieces. Each type of jewelry should be cleaned in a specific way.

A clean, soft cloth is usually enough to remove dirt and sweat. Pick the right cloth by referencing ''Polishing Cloth Types and Information'' and learn how to use them with the ''Cleaning Metal and Jewelry with Polishing Cloths'' how-to video and instructions. As a note, NEVER use a cloth impregnated with jeweler's rouge to clean plated jewelry.

Liquid cleaners, steamers and ultrasonic machines don't need to be used each time, and should instead be used in regular intervals or when pieces start to look dingy. Note: NOT all jewelry can be safely cleaned with these methods. Correctly clean gemstone jewelry by following this ''Gemstone Cleaning Chart'' that lets you know which methods are safe for which stones. Interestingly enough, the oils from your skin are good for turquoise and cultured pearls, actually helping the polish. Use these helpful resources to learn more about properly cleaning your favorite pieces:

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