Keep Jewelry Untangled and Ready-to-Wear
What a Mess of Jewelry!
Storing Your Jewelry
What's in your jewelry box?
Do you have a lot of jewelry but only wear a few pieces (or none) most of the time?
- Keep your jewelry dry and clean and it will last many more years.
- Include an anti-tarnish strip in a mostly airtight jewelry box. I put one in each drawer and change them out for new ones per the manufacturer's advice. I put extra-special pieces in two layers of plastic bags to ensure air-tightness. Anti-tarnish strips, and tiny plastic bags, are available at most stores that sell beads and other jewelry-making equipment.
- Don't polish your jewelry unless you need to (every polish removes precious material), and make sure you're using the appropriate polishing method. Most jewelry store associates, especially during non-busy times, are happy to explain which method of cleaning and polishing or de-tarnishing is best for a particular piece you've brought in. If you'd prefer, I'm sure they would be happy to polish it for you for a small fee (or free in some stores, especially on slow business days, while you wander around and hopefully buy something).
- Off-topic tip: Be sure to have jewelry with embedded precious and semi-precious stones inspected regularly--you don't want to lose that brilliant diamond or topaz because a prong came loose.
Fasten the Clasps
Down-Size Your Collection
Reduce the amount of jewelry you have. Take a hard look at the jewelry you have. Do you really need it all? Do you wear it? Is it clearly from a past decade and not "timeless"?
- Perhaps that plastic-seashell necklace strung on fishing line, the one that your teenager gave you at four-years-old, can be donated to someone who will wear and appreciate it as much as you appreciated the thought of it. If you're hesitant to get rid of unnecessary jewelry for sentimental reasons, photograph it--then you can have your memory, and someone else can create a memory, too.
- If it's expensive jewelry, photograph it and sell it--then you can have your memory and money in your pocket, too. (You saved the original receipt with your jewelry box, right?)
- Have a jeweler re-work the good pieces you never wear into something you WILL wear. (Like that engagement ring your ex gave you...)
- Ask yourself: is it time to hand down family heirlooms to your children? That's another way of reducing the amount of jewelry you have (and you can possibly borrow it back if you really need to).
- Time for a garage sale! If you have extra jewelry to get rid of but not much else, find a neighbor who is having a garage sale and simply ask if they will sell your pieces, too. Consignment shops and pawn shops are other options. Note: Use caution when you see ads saying to send in your gold jewelry and you'll be paid top-dollar: have the piece appraised first, and assume such places are disingenuous: look to quality jewelry stores to appraise and give you a fair price for your jewelry. Remember, "If it sounds to be too good to be true, it probably is."
Right-Size Your Jewelry Box
Now that your jewelry collection is appropriately sized, make sure your jewelry box--or whatever you use to store jewelry--is appropriately sized and convenient for you, too. If you spend more than 3-4 minutes finding and untangling a piece of jewelry to wear, your jewelry storage situation is insufficient and needs to be looked at.
There are several solutions to this problem.
- Your first thought is probably of the pricey, multi-drawered pieces of (typically) dark old-fashioned wood that are ever-popular and timeless. These pieces are to be displayed and loved and also handed down to the next generation when the time is right. However, the high price tags on these intricately crafted pieces of furniture may turn you away, and your décor or space may be inappropriate for those you find. Luckily, there are alternatives.
- One woman I know stores her small jewelry collection in her closet on a hanger in a clear-fronted, white-backed hanging storage organizer designed for frequent travelers. It's just the perfect size for her collection because she can clearly see everything at once and she never worries about tangles because every piece has its own zippered compartment.
- I make, collect, and sell jewelry as a hobby, so I have a very large collection, most of which I wear regularly. I decided that the best choice for me, to end morning frustrations with tangled masses of chains, was to buy several professional jewelry sales cases with lots of drawers, optional inserts to divide the drawers, and customizeable labels for each drawer. They aren't attractive, they're made of pressed cardboard, and they aren't practical for some people. But, with their functional nature and their approximately $50 price tag, compared with several multi-hundred-dollar jewelry armoires that I'd have to work into my décor instead, they fit the bill for me and live on a shelf in my walk-in closet. Here is a decorative one that would look dashing on any dressing table: http://www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?pn=H202764PK. You can see that there are all kinds of price ranges even within the jewelry making and selling industries, and I encourage you to check out several such sites before making your decision (even the "cheap" ones are pricey if you have a lot of jewelry).
- Don't forget--truly expensive or irreplaceable jewelry should, whenever you're not wearing it, be stored in a safe, either a well-hidden home safe or a bank's safety deposit box. If you have a home safe, make sure that it can't easily be found or simply hauled away. (Safes with rollers are often just rolled up a ramp into the thief's truck.)
Rotate Your Collection
If you have a lot of jewelry and wear a lot of it, consider rotating pieces in and out of your main jewelry box. By that, I mean to pick a set of day-to-day jewelry that is complete and compliments the other pieces in the collection. Use that selection of jewelry for several weeks or months out of your main jewelry box, then when you're tired of that set of jewelry go back to the full set and pick out another complimentary set of jewelry from which to choose on a day-to-day basis. It will save you lots of time getting dressed, you know your jewelry all matches, and you know that your other favorite pieces are still available for future use in a day-to-day collection of jewelry.
Note: For special occasions, by all means: raid your entire collection of jewelry until you get the perfectly matching set you're looking for. Keep in mind this will take time when getting dressed and ready, however. Ideally, plan your outfit--including jewelry--a day in advance for special occasions.
Is Your Jewelry Box the Right Size?
Is your jewelry box the right size for the amount of jewelry you have?
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© 2011 Laura Schneider