Jewelry is a great way to accessorize an outfit. It can dress up a casual look and transform an elegant outfit into something even more magnificent. With several types of jewelry available to choose from, it can be hard to limit your collection. However, the more you own, the less often each piece gets worn. Similarly, when improperly cared for, jewelry can quickly tarnish and become less than aesthetically appealing. So, how do you make the most out of your jewelry collection without experiencing the frustration of tarnish? Through proper storage, cleaning, and everyday wear. Regardless of the size of your collection, here’s everything you need to know about how to store jewelry so that it doesn’t tarnish.
Why Does Jewelry Tarnish?
Tarnish is the buildup of a thin layer of corrosion on the surface of certain metals. It’s usually caused by exposure to moisture, oils, acids, and even air. Over time, and increased exposure, the metals react and begin to wear down. This creates the tarnished appearance. It’s all based on chemical reactions, but with the proper storage, you can limit the exposure to these types of reactants.
There are also several factors that determine the speed at which jewelry tarnishes. This includes how you care for them, the composition of your skin, and the environment around you. A good example of this is when you wear a ring and find that it’s turned your skin green. This is caused by oxidation of metal that’s trigged by the acid in your skin. Some people, therefore, experience this more than others.
How to Properly Store Jewelry to Avoid Tarnish
Regardless of if you store your jewelry at home or in a self-storage unit, there are some steps you should take before putting them away. Although keeping things that you wear often at home is fine, if you plan to utilize long-term jewelry storage a climate-controlled unit is the better option. To prepare each piece for storage, both in the short- and long-run, consider the following tips.
1. Thoroughly Clean and Dry Jewelry
Prior to putting away your jewelry to be stored, always take the time to thoroughly clean and dry them. Cleaning your pieces will help remove any buildup before it has a chance to get worse, but taking the time to completely dry each piece is the key to reducing tarnish. Follow specific instructions on how to clean each type of metal, as what you use for silver may be different from what you’ll need to clean your pearls. Although there are some jewelry-specific cleaners available, oftentimes you can get the job done using common household ingredients.
2. Separate Jewelry by Metal Type
Some metals can cause chemical reactions with other types of metals, so it’s in good practice to separate your jewelry by metal type for storage. This can help reduce the risk of tarnishing caused by interaction with your other pieces of jewelry. Some of the most common types of jewelry include silver, fine jewels, pearls, diamonds, and costume jewelry.
Best way to store silver —silver is usually best stored in a box that’s lined with felt, as this absorbs excess moisture and helps keep the metal in good condition. You should polish your silver jewelry at least twice a year to remove any buildup or premature signs of tarnish.
- Best way to store fine jewels —jewels need to be kept away from direct sunlight, as the UV rays can lead to damage. A good option would be a jewel-specific jewelry box. They should also be stored in a very secure area, as they tend to be the target of theft.
- How to store pearls — pearls are very porous item. When they interact with moisture, they begin to slowly deteriorate. To avoid this, try keeping your pearls inside of a wooden box that’s lined with felt. Never put your pearls in plastic bags and always store them in climate-controlled areas.
- How to store diamonds — diamonds should be stored separately from one another, as they can easily scratch other types of metals. Keep them in felt boxes specific to the type of jewelry it is (i.e., ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings).
- How to store costume jewelry — costume jewelry can be stored a little less carefully, as its value is far lower. You can utilize a display stand for everyday wear, but if you need to store things long-term, try using a jewelry box and keep them separate from other types of metals.
3. Consider Purchasing Jewelry Boxes
Jewelry boxes were created to help keep your pieces clean and free of tarnish over the years. They’re airtight, making it impossible for airflow to corrode the metal. This means that they also reduce the risk of your metals interacting with outside elements and potentially harmful substances.
Jewelry boxes are a great option to help reduce the risk of tarnish and will add a layer of security when you need to place things into storage. Jewelry boxes were also designed to help ward off moisture, making them even better at protecting your jewelry over the years.
4. Add Chalk or Silica Gel Packets
When getting your jewelry ready for storage, you can take an additional measure of security by adding silica gel packets to the boxes. This is especially beneficial if you’re using jewelry boxes that aren’t 100% airtight, or if you plan to put things away for longer periods of time. Small backs of chalk or silica gel packets will help absorb any moisture that your jewelry is exposed to within the container it’s in. This, in turn, helps keep the storage container cool and dry, which lead to optimal conditions for your jewelry. While you’ll need to change the chalk or gel packets roughly every month or so, the added effort will go a long way in helping reduce the risk of tarnish on your jewelry.
5. Avoid Storing Them on Display Racks
Although displaying your jewelry on racks makes for nice aesthetics in your room or closet, doing so can expedite the rate they tarnish. Display racks offer no protection to your jewelry at all. It allows them to be exposed to whatever’s in the air in that room. Even if the air is purified and remains at a stable temperature, mild fluctuations in humidity levels along with environmental toxins or even just the air itself will lead to tarnish over time. Although it makes grabbing your jewelry to pair with an outfit a breeze, it’s not worth the long-term hassle.
6. Utilize Climate-Controlled Storage
Finally, whenever you’re going to be putting your jewelry away for longer periods of time, always opt for climate-controlled storage. This ensures that your jewelry isn’t exposed to extreme temperatures over the years. It also keeps humidity at a constant, manageable level, which is important to reduce the risk of moisture exposure. Humidity is the biggest accelerant when it comes to tarnishing, so make sure that your storage facility offers climate (not only temperature) control.
Always Safeguard Your Jewelry Storage
Regardless of if you choose to store your jewelry at home or at a self-storage facility, you should consider purchasing additional jewelry insurance. Costume jewelry usually isn’t worth the added money, but fine jewelry, precious metals or stones, diamonds, and pearls should be insured to protect you from worst case scenarios. This can help you insure the cost of jewelry in case of theft, damage, or other incidents. You can add jewelry insurance to your homeowners or renters’ policy, or extend coverage amount if it’s already included. If you plan to store your jewelry in a self-storage unit, make sure to discuss it with your insurance provider to ensure that coverage is extended to that location.
For a self-storage facility that you can trust to store your jewelry and other sentimental items, look no further than The Lock Up Self Storage. All of our units are climate-controlled and temperature-controlled, giving you the perfect year-round temperature and humidity level to keep jewelry in the best condition possible and reduce the risk of tarnishing. The Lock Up also has state-of-the-art security measures, so you can rest easy knowing your things are in good hands. Our security system includes 24/7 video monitoring, individually coded access gates, a full perimeter alarm, and motion-sensor lighting systems. With a variety of storage unit sizes and flexible leasing options, you’ll always find what you need at The Lock Up. To learn more about your local facility, or to find the perfect size self-storage unit for your needs, call us at 1-866-327-LOCK today!