Sparkle & Shine: The Ultimate Guide to Jewelry Care & Storage (with Checklist!)

Andreea Draguleasa
March 21, 2024
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Have you ever rummaged through a tangled mess of necklaces, only to find your favorite one tarnished and dull? Proper jewelry storage is the secret to keeping your precious pieces sparkling and ready to wear. This guide will unveil the secrets to organizing, cleaning, and storing your jewelry like a pro, so you can ensure your favorite treasures stay beautiful for years to come!

With years of experience both behind the counter and at the bench, Sandra Barreiro, the owner of Kinoro Jewelry, has seen it all. From sparkling diamonds to delicate pearls, she’s learned that not all treasures are created equal and each demands its own kind of TLC. Many folks think one box fits all, but she’s here to tell us otherwise and we’ve taken notes for you — the do’s and don’ts of jewelry care, if you will. 

Organize Jewelry Like A Pro

You know how we all have that one drawer that’s a complete mess? Imagine that, but with your favorite jewelry. Not a pretty picture, right? Well, damage to these precious items isn’t just about them losing their shine aka tarnishing. Scratches, dents and warping can also sneak in when they’re not stored right. And trust us, fixing a tarnished silver bracelet is a walk in the park compared to smoothing out a dent in your beloved ring.

Take it from Barreiro, who once had a customer in distress after their diamond ring and sapphire necklace decided they couldn’t get along in the same storage space. The outcome? Sadly, scratches on the sapphire. “It’s a perfect example of how not separating jewelry can cause damage,” Barreiro added.

Separate Jewelry by Material

Metals are like people; they need their personal space to stay in tip-top shape. Here’s how to keep them from messing with each other:

  • Gold and platinum: Besties they are not. Keep your gold treasures away from tough platinum pals to avoid scratches. Gold, especially the higher karat ones, is softer and more prone to getting dinged.
  • Silver: Loves to tarnish. Wrap it in anti-tarnish cloth to keep it from turning into a science experiment.
  • Plated jewelry: It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Treat it gently to keep the disguise intact for as long as possible.
  • Gemstones: These beauties need a cool, dark spot.
    • Diamonds, the hardest of them all, should live solo to prevent them from turning your other jewelry into their scratching post.
    • Pearls, turquoise and amber? Treat them like the delicate flowers they are, away from the rough crowd. Moreover, according to Barreiro, “Pearls must be kept in breathable bags to avoid drying out.”

Separate Jewelry by Type

Just like socks and underwear have their own drawers, your jewelry deserves the same VIP treatment.

  • Bracelets: Fine ones stay in their bags, while bangles and chunky ones can hang out on a bar or rod. Just don’t throw them in a pile unless you want a bracelet battle royale. Pro tip from Barreiro: Pearl bracelets are best laid flat, as hanging them can stretch and break their threads.
  • Necklaces: Tangles are the worst. Wondering how to store delicate necklaces to avoid that? Keep them clasped and happy in their original packaging or on a jewelry tree where they can’t start fights. Again, pearl necklaces are best laid flat, like their bracelet counterparts.
  • Rings: They like their own space and the boxes they came in are your best bet. Wondering how to store rings if you don’t have their boxes anymore? While ring cones may be tempting, you risk side scratches when stacking rings, so the special compartment of a jewelry box is a much better choice.
  • Earrings: Keep these little guys apart in their original boxes or pinned on a fabric memo board.
  • Brooches: Pin them on an old jacket retired from use or a dedicated cushion, well spaced out. Think about all the damage their pins can do to each other.

Cleaning Jewelry 101

  • Before storing your jewelry, it’s important to give it a quick cleaning to remove dirt, oils, and lotions that can cause tarnishing.
  • Use the appropriate cleaning solution based on the type of metal or gemstone.
  • Always pat your jewelry dry with a soft cloth to prevent water damage.

So here’s what you need to keep the damage at bay — consider it your cheat sheet:

Silver Silver polish and a soft cloth
Gold Mild soap and warm water
Plated A soft cotton cloth for a gentle wipe or a dip in warm soapy water
Gems A soft brush and warm soapy water


Step-By-Step Clean-Up for Non-Plated Jewelry

  1. Add a dash of baking soda or a drop of gentle dish soap in warm water.
  2. Use a soft brush or cloth to apply the mixture and scrub gently.
  3. Rinse with a quick dip in clean water.
  4. Let the jewelry air dry on a paper towel. Patience is key – they need to be 100% dry.
  5. Grab a polishing cloth and give it a final buff for that extra shine.

Best Place to Store Jewelry

Treasured jewelry deserves a safe and sparkling haven. Here are three main options:

  • At Home: Aim for cool, dry, and dark locations like closets. Store silver in airtight containers or with anti-tarnish strips. Use velvet-lined boxes for additional protection and avoid plastic bags that trap moisture. For pearls, choose a soft fabric pouch away from heat and harsh chemicals.

  • Climate-Controlled Self-Storage (Use with Caution): This option is better for rarely-used pieces, not everyday valuables. Consider the risks: theft, environmental damage, and loss outweigh the benefits for irreplaceable items. If absolutely necessary, choose a highly secure and climate-controlled unit.

  • Safe deposit box: For irreplaceable or high-value jewelry, a safe deposit box at your bank offers the ultimate security.

Expert Tips for Shine and Security:

  • Store in a cool, dry place: This prevents tarnishing and protects delicate materials like pearls. Climate-controlled storage is ideal for long-term storage.
  • Use airtight containers: Especially for silver, airtight storage helps prevent tarnishing.
  • Choose velvet-lined boxes: Velvet lining prevents scratches and keeps your jewelry organized.
  • Ditch the plastic bags: Plastic traps moisture and can accelerate tarnishing. Opt for breathable fabric pouches for delicate items.
  • Catalog your collection: Photograph and document your jewelry for insurance purposes and to track storage location.

By following these tips, you can create the perfect storage solution to keep your jewelry sparkling for years to come.

Jewelry Box Ideas and Alternatives

Choosing the right jewelry box or support can be as important as the spot you choose to store it. For instance, you may want to know how to store bracelets that you don’t have the original packaging for. Here are a few suggestions:

Necklaces & chains
  • Boxes with hooks or padded bars that allow each piece to hang separately
  • Jewelry trees or carousels
Rings & earrings
  • Boxes with small, individual compartments or slots
  • Boxes with broad, flat compartments or drawers + soft pouches for additional protection
  • Bars or rods on a flat surface or hanging
  • Jewelry trees or carousels
Silver jewelry
  • Anti-tarnish bags
  • Boxes with added or built-in anti-tarnish strips
Pearls & other gemstones
  • Soft-lined drawers or individual soft pouches


By following these simple jewelry care and storage tips, you can transform your collection from a tangled mess into a sparkling treasure trove. With a little organization and the right storage solutions, your favorite pieces will be ready to shine for years to come!

Want to keep these handy tips at your fingertips? Download our free, printable Jewelry Care Checklist to stay on top of your jewelry organization and cleaning routine!

And if your sparkling collection has simply outgrown its current home, don’t forget to explore our secure and affordable self-storage options! We offer a variety of unit sizes to perfectly accommodate all your belongings, big or small. Find self storage near you today!


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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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