Why You May Want To Rethink How You Store Your Jewelry

"A kiss on the hand may be quite continental," goes the lyric of a popular song, "but diamonds are a girl's best friend." This line pretty much states the obvious that goes back countless years ago, that women and jewelry go hand in hand. Since women love wearing their fortune on their sleeves, it's no wonder that jewelry never fails to be one of the most prosperous retail markets. For instance, the state of Maharashtra in India saw the largest retail jewelry consumption in 2020, totaling 9.2 billion USD, per Statistica.

Most women put a premium on having a jewelry box where they store their well-curated jewelry collection over the years, whether it's made from gold, porcelain, or shellcraft. From practical daywear for work purposes to style-elevating bijouterie for special occasions, jewelry is a woman's lifetime investment that she proudly wears on herself or passes on to her offspring. Although jewelry plays a significant role in a woman's life, many people — from novice collectors to million-dollar diamond curators — make a variety of jewelry storage blunders that cause their prized possessions to corrode despite infrequent use. If you're having these problems, it might be an indicator that you're storing your jewelry the wrong way and shortening its shelf life. Here are some tips on storing and maintaining your treasured jewelry items.

Store metal jewelry separately

One mistake that many jewelry owners commit is to store metal jewelry together, which can result in friction and oxidation. "The issue is if you put two metals together, you create, basically, a battery; a galvanic cell where these ions will transport across one another, and that'll lead to corrosion," material sciences and engineering associate professor Marcus Young tells HuffPost. As a result, your jewelry items will be vulnerable to chipping and a duller finish. Jewelry items made of silver and copper are highly susceptible to tarnishing, and keeping silver items together with other metals can speed up the oxidation process. Dissimilar metals may scratch one another when placed together due to their varying degrees of hardness.

According to the Royal Mint, although gold doesn't tarnish easily, it should never be stored with silver or any tarnished metal to avoid scratching. Platinum, which is softer than gold, shouldn't be stored together with gold. Before storage, sort articles of jewelry into different piles to distinguish between silver jewelry, costume jewelry, and fine jewelry. In terms of storage, keeping your diamond, gold, platinum, and silver separately in airtight containers or capsules with soft lining will help protect them from humidity, scratching, and tarnishing. To be extra sure, throw in some anti-tarnishing strips to shield them from tarnishing.

Store fine jewelry at room temperature

To maximize the shelf life of your precious stones, store them at room temperature out of direct sunlight, per SN Queens. To prevent them from premature rusting and discoloration, keep them in an area with consistently low humidity rather than a place that is extremely hot or cold. Make sure your jewelry is clean and dry before putting it away because even a small amount of moisture can cause the metal to tarnish. Keeping tarnished and untarnished jewelry together can hasten the tarnish of both.

To keep the sparkle of your jewelry, make sure to do some jewelry cleaning at least once a month or every two weeks, depending on how often you wear it and how dirty it is, per diamond expert Andrew Brown (via Martha Stewart). To add a protective shield to your jewelry, spritz it with a coat of hypoallergenic protector spray. When going to a swimming pool or a hot tub, leave your jewelry at home. The reason being is a caustic chemical like chlorine will cause damage to your jewelry and cost it its shine. Additionally, remember to take off your jewelry before going to sleep because wearing jewelry while you're tossing and turning will cause undue stress on the item and make it fall apart faster.

All jewelry pieces have the potential to tarnish when exposed to moisture, oxygen, and acids. Through correct storage and maintenance, they can tarnish more slowly and retain their brightness for longer