This is an informative article about caring for your jewelry. I’ll be keeping my snark to a minimum, but not eliminating it entirely. I’m doing this so that you can bookmark this article and refer back to it many times without the jokes getting stale. Also, I’ll be periodically changing the product placement for the article to different links, so check back often to see where the links go. No need to thank me, I just like to keep stuff exciting.
To start off, let’s say you have some special jewelry. It’s sentimental, expensive, or just nice stuff that you really like to wear. If you don’t have any, get some here and come back to this article later. Below, I’ve answered your biggest questions on jewelry care.
1. “Where do I store my jewelry?” You want to keep your jewelry safe. So rule number one is to store it somewhere nice. The ideal place to store jewelry is a fabric lined box, which can be bought pretty cheaply from places like eBay.
Why fabric lined? It’s soft, comfortable, doesn’t scratch, and if you’re like some people I know you like to keep your jewelry in drawers to make it more manageable. When you open and close drawers, and you have glassware, you can chip your jewelry. Fabric can help things not slide around.
2. “But I’m super cheap, what then?” Egg cartons. No really, slice off the part that’s divided up for a dozen eggs (Or go nuts and get the bulk ones that hold 24) and throw that in a drawer, place one set of plugs in each egg hole. Pretty sweet, and for standard earrings and such, you can punch them right through the cardboard. For bracelets, watches and rings, get a box of finishing nails and either put the nails right in the wall, or nail them into a wood cutting board from your local thrift store and hang that up.
You can also use a shoe box with a long towel folded up. Like a kitchen type towel. You fold it a bunch of times, each fold about an inch wide and stuff the bottom of the box with it. The result is a lot of crevices to safely stuff jewelry.
3. “Do I wash it before I put it away or when I take it back out?” Both. That way it’s always clean. This not only helps you avoid weird crusty things, and infections and whatnot, but also keeps your essential skin oils from causing any weird tarnishing or discoloration.
4. “What do I wash it with?” Depends on what it is. For most jewelry, warm water and a little soap is great. If it is water sensitive like wood or bone, go with a damp cloth with a little soap and dry quickly. Most materials don’t like alcohol, so probably avoid that. Wood should be oiled periodically, particularly after cleaning or really anything that gets it wet. Silver can tarnish, so periodically you’ll need to buff it again with a cloth.
5. “What about when I’m swimming/bathing?” Most jewelry is okay, probably don’t want to do this with your wood and bone stuff, they don’t like water much. For metal/acrylic/glass stuff, go ahead and leave it in. For plugs, maybe wear earskins or take them out. I know people who have lost them while swimming somewhere. If you’re going in the ocean, copper, silver and brass can all oxidize faster with things you’ll run into in ocean water.
If you’ve ever sunbathed while wearing metal jewelry, you’ve probably already learned that it heats up a lot and can burn you. If you haven’t done that yet, don’t do that.
6. “Should I inventory my jewelry?” I’m just kidding, this is like no-one’s question. But the answer is yes. Over the years, you’ll get more jewelry. It’ll get nicer and nicer. Eventually your jewelry collection may include special pieces that are worth money, or just a lot of pieces worth a little money. Two hundred pairs of $20 plugs are worth $4000. In case of fire, robbery, whatever, it helps to have that info for the insurance people.