Not so long ago in this forum, we discussed the best ways to clean your diamond rings. Now we’re going to chat about an issue which is closely related, but does involve additional specific information and advice. This time around, we share with you our 10 (expert) tips on how to store diamond jewellery. You’re welcome!
What are your most precious possessions?
In Australia, we know all about living with the threat of bushfires. Many Australians have had to make the gut-wrenching decision to salvage what they could, in a very short space of time; throw it into a suitcase and then evacuate, leaving the house to be destroyed in flames - knowing they’re about to lose the rest of the hundreds of things collected, cherished, inherited – possessions which speak to a person’s whole life experience and journey. Such a loss is heartbreaking. For some victims of housefires, they barely escape with their lives, and are unable to save any possessions.
Sorry to start out on a disturbing note, but we wanted to convey a genuine sense of this sort of predicament – to get you to really think about it – what would you save?
(Got your attention too, didn’t it!)
Traditionally, the most common top three answers (in no particular order) have been: jewellery, photos, money.
Now, perhaps your mobile phone is more important than old photo prints in a shoebox? Everything’s on your mobile, isn’t it? Maybe you don’t really keep cash around much anymore, so as long as you have your wallet… or maybe all that is stored on your phone now anyway?! Laptops and tablets are a common top answer these days. Making the top ten are also wedding dresses, artworks, musical instruments, clothes, toys and books.
Although the list changes slightly with the times, one item is a sure bet; everyone includes jewellery in the top 1 or 2 things they grab, if the house is burning down. Jewellery items are, without a doubt, the most important possessions for a vast majority of people.
But, despite our diamond rings and other jewellery counting as our most precious possessions, their well-being is often overlooked. Just like we often fail to prioritise our own well-being, so silly!
Just as you should make it your first concern to look after your own physical and mental health, it should be a high priority to care properly for your most beloved possessions. Many folks don’t, which is why we thought we would offer some specialist advice. Please read on to learn more, in our 10 (expert) tips on how to store diamond jewellery.
Think inside the box
OK, this is an oldie but a goody: keep it in the box it came in! If your diamond engagement ring and wedding ring came in boxes, keep them! Most decent jewellers will have good quality boxes which are designed to hold rings and other jewellery. In some cases, boxes are custom made for individual items of jewellery. These little (or not so little) boxes have special notches and grooves to keep the jewellery secured and stabilised; they are lined with soft material and have a strong seal. Storing your rings and necklaces and earrings and bracelets in the boxes the came in is ideal.
But it’s just not as simple as that
We hear you sigh. Some of your jewellery didn’t come in a box. You inherited it. Or bought it at an auction. You tried to keep all the box your purchases came in, but some got lost somehow (the boxes, not the jewellery). You kept your favourite ring in a box, which you used most days, and the constant opening and closing caused it to eventually become damaged and then it broke. Or, “I can’t keep the boxes from everything I buy or my home would look like a cardboard warehouse and there’d be no room to move!”
Ok, we get it, even with best intentions, keeping the original box doesn’t always work out, for various reasons. But don’t worry, there are other excellent ways to store your specials.
Let’s get down to basics then. Original box or whatever, these are the crucial elements for decent diamond ring storage:
High and Dry
Ideally in a small box, but critically your diamond ring needs to be stored in an enclosed space which is totally dry. It must be out of the sunlight, air, humidity and other air-borne troublemakers. Not only is this a safe way to keep the diamond protected, but importantly it prevents the metal from becoming tarnished, which is basically a sign that the atoms in the metal are breaking down or oxidising. That sounds worse than it is when you say it like that. Tarnishing can be cleaned up without too much of a problem, but you want to avoid letting it happen. Most of all – don’t leave jewellery in a place where it’s going to cop full sun – like a windowsill or on furniture next to a window. In the long run this could discolour the metal.
Diamonds, and all precious gems, can get scratched and damaged. Even though diamonds are amongst the hardest materials on the planet, they are still susceptible to scratching. Scratching can occur if they get knocked or scraped by another object when you are wearing them. Also, jewellery can get scratched by other jewellery, if they rough and tumble together. Obviously, you want to avoid damaging your jewellery when you’re wearing it, but occasionally accidents will happen; this is understandable. However, allowing your jewellery to pitch around together and scratch each other where it’s stored – that’s just not looking after it properly.
The best thing you can do to prevent diamond jewellery from being scratched or damaged otherwise, is to keep it in a soft spot. Even when in their own box – for the ultimate protection – keep the ring in a little soft bag as well in there.
Or, if you’re keeping jewellery together in a larger box or case, you should individually wrap each item in separate soft cloths – these might be velour or velvet or cashmere or other lovely soft fabrics. You can buy different sized soft cloths and little bags. They usually come in rich dark colours so you can see your gleaming jewellery in stunning contrast when you unwrap them.
If you like keeping jewellery together in a larger case, then get one which has lots of little compartments. All the little spaces should be lined with a nice soft material. Better still is to wrap each different piece where it sits in its own pigeon hole – the cloth will tend to keep the item from moving around as well, which is what you want. Especially if you are moving the box or case around or travelling with it.
Before you put your diamond jewellery away in its nice cosy wee home, be sure to give it a bit of a rub and a quick check. Were you just in the bathroom perhaps? You want to make sure there’s no moisture or cosmetic product on your ring or necklace when you put it to bed. This is a really good habit to get into, as well. A quick daily buff is a good way to keep your treasured pieces looking their best for longer (before they need proper cleaning).
Keep clean with clean
If you’re storing an assortment of jewellery together, you want every piece in there to be clean and tidy. Did you know that if there’s a grubby old item in there (maybe costume jewellery or a corroding copper necklace you got from an op shop years ago?), the smell and even the yucky molecules can infect the whole case and transfer to the other items. Also, every now and again, you should check the condition of the jewellery box/case. Is it clean throughout? Or are there bits of grit, sand or dirt in there? If so, you need to take everything out and give it a thorough vacuum.
Diamonds are different to other gemstones
As mentioned above, diamonds are super hard. They rank at 10 on the scale of hardness, called the ‘Moh Scale’. Now, whilst this a big part of the reason why people are obsessed with diamonds – their durability and eternal nature – it can also be a problem for the diamonds’ cousins; ruby, sapphire, emerald etc. They are not as tough as diamonds. So, if you keep them all alongside each other, it’s possible that the diamond could scratch the others. Therefore, better to keep your gemstones all separately. Don’t pile them up together please.
Keeping your jewellery in a safe is a good idea. This is the best way to stop jewellery from being stolen of course. And it’s also nicely shielded from sun and air and humidity. But pieces should not simply be dumped unprotected in a big old steel safe, no thank you! You need to either store the jewellery in a soft lined case within the safe, or, get a safe which has an insert which is designed for storing jewellery. Make sure your valuable jewellery is properly insured. If you’re not sure, ask your jeweller about insurance. They should be happy to assist you in this matter.
OK, this is not about diamond rings, but just a tip for free. Do you have dozens of fun necklaces which you’ve collected from when you were a youngster, or on holidays, or which were friendly gifts? They can be a headache to store. What you don’t want is a big tangled mess of them. This looks terrible, is an irresponsible way to care for them and is likely to cause breakages. We suggest hanging them on hooks. There are few ways you could do this. Many jewellery cabinets or ‘armoires’ will have hooks on the sides, for this purpose. Also, you can buy different sorts of stands. Make sure you get a larger stand, don’t skimp on this. You need to have your necklaces hanging vertically, without kinks or knots.
On the Road
When you take jewellery travelling, you need to think extra carefully about how you’re storing it. Firstly, it is a good idea to photograph the pieces you are taking before you pack. This way, if there’s (God forbid) any problem, you can show the insurance company exactly what you were carrying.
Your suitcases can get knocked around big time, so the jewellery needs to be packed thoughtfully into a small case – fill it out with soft cloths or whatever works, so that the items are not rattling around in there. You want them to move as little as possible. Put this carry case in the middle of the suitcase, surrounded by clothes. Use the safe in your hotel room, when you arrive at your destination.