If you’re lucky enough to have inherited or bought some antique jewellery, then you know how stunningly beautiful and special it is. Antique jewellery is a unique gift to give, as each piece is unlikely to be found anywhere on the high-street today.
One very important part of owning antique jewellery, however, is knowing how to properly store it. Unfortunately, you can’t wear all the jewellery you own all of the time, so it’s important that you get the storage options right. Let’s go over the basics of how to store your most precious pieces of antique jewellery.
Pearl jewellery is among the most popular antique jewellery, as well as one of the hardest to properly store. It’s not that storing pearl jewellery is some great effort, but you can’t just keep it in the same jewellery box as the rest of your baubles.
Antique pearl jewellery needs to be kept in bags made from soft material like silk or suede. Pearls are an exceptionally soft material, and can easily be scratched or otherwise damaged by being stored with other jewellery pieces. The sharper metals of your other jewellery pieces can easily affect your pearls, so be sure to keep them apart.
If the only antique pearls you have are a pair of earrings or something similarly small, a separate bag isn’t essential, but it is necessary to keep them in a separate compartment of your jewellery box.
Enamel jewellery is somewhat similar to pearl in the sense that it damages much easier than other common jewellery materials. Scratching, cracking, and abrasions are commonplace damage that enamel faces, particularly antique enamel.
When storing your antique enamel jewellery, similar rules to pearl storage apply. Softness is the key, as you want your enamel to be cushioned as much as possible when storing it. Temporary storage places like the trinket dishes that have become increasingly popular in recent years are not typically ideal for enamel storage.
Often, they are made of glass or other hard materials that are more than likely to damage your enamel jewellery if it’s kept in there. You can keep a couple of small jewellery bags in your trinket dish for easily damaged pieces to be stored temporarily without risking damage.
Antique silver jewellery is very beautiful. Dependent on its age, it may have developed an attractive patina – a slight discolouration that shows the age of the item. Storing silver jewellery requires a little attention, however, as it is more prone to being ‘dirty’ looking through prolonged oxygen exposure.
Keeping your antique silver jewellery in the open air isn’t the best plan for anyone who doesn’t want their jewellery to be overly tarnished. Instead, an air-tight container like a proper jewellery box is a good way to store it without it getting damaged.
Silver is relatively scratch-resistant, and so separate soft bags and cloths aren’t essential for properly storing antique silver jewellery. A lot of jewellery boxes are lined with fabric like felt, and one of these is a good idea for silver jewellery. Although it is less likely to scratch than the previous entries, it still benefits from some soft treatment.
Each gemstone is rated on the Mohs scale of hardness to quantify how tough and hardwearing it is compared to other gemstones. This scale is hardly scientific, but it is helpful for figuring out how to store your antique jewellery.
Diamonds, being one of the strongest natural materials in the world, are the highest ranked on the Mohs scale. This means that they are capable of scratching all of the gemstones that are beneath them in the ranking. With that in mind, your antique diamond jewellery should be stored apart from the rest of your antique jewellery to prevent damage. Antique jewellery pieces like cluster rings – that feature a central gemstone surrounded by diamonds – can be stored in small jewellery bags to keep the central stone from being damaged by the other diamond pieces.
If you group your jewellery by gemstone, you can keep multiple pieces together in different sections of the same jewellery box without having to worry about them coming into contact with and damaging one another.
Antique jewellery is beautiful and deserves to be well-loved and well-looked-after. Using the tips given here, you can be the responsible and proud owner of an excellent selection of antique jewellery. Just don’t forget to get it out and show it off every once in a while!