Storing something as special and as valuable as antique jewellery requires a little know how to ensure you do it right. Fortunately, the following five top tips for safe storage of antique jewellery pieces provide all the information you might need.
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
Direct sunlight can tarnish metals and the heat caused by sunlight can too dry out pearls causing them to discolour. Heat can also crack opals and ivory. Hence, it is imperative to resist the urge to leave antique jewellery out when not being worn. Despite how tempting it is to want to showcase items, this tip is also a good one because advertising the fact you have valuables is also inadvisable as it could increase the risk of being burgled or your home being broken into. Therefore, to keep your antique jewellery items safe and protected from both the sun and would-be thieves never leave it in view of a window.
Store Items Separately
Some precious metals are particularly delicate. This is especially true of silver and gold which were two of the most popularly, commonly and traditionally used valuable metals when creating jewellery now considered to be antique. Hardier metals such as platinum and palladium were not used often if ever prior to the industrial revolution because being so hardy it was impossible or near impossible to work with them by hand and of course prior to the industrial revolution jewellery was necessarily handmade.
Gold in particular can wear paper thin over time and becomes more likely to wear quicker the higher the carat and consequently the more valuable an antique gold item is. Then, to prevent unnecessary damage being caused to valuable jewellery pieces and help ensure they last another hundred years or more (ideally), always store every antique piece separately. This means placing earrings in separate folds of cotton or felt before storing.
Get into Good Habits
When putting an outfit together, getting dressed or changing an outfit it is not uncommon for people to lay out numerous jewellery pieces to mix and match with an ensemble. To ensure items do not become damaged whilst doing this, ensure to always replace your jewellery before actually getting dressed and to place any chosen items you intend to wear out of the way when spraying hair sprays, perfumes and using make up and lotions. Whilst a mist of hairspray is unlikely to do much harm to a diamond, the chemicals, films and ingredients used in many beauty products, especially those which contain alcohol or solvents, could damage precious metals and softer stones and materials such as pearls.
For this reason it is sensible to always store jewellery away from your dressing table and make a space for a jewellery box somewhere where you can lay out items, inspect, admire and pick between them without the risk of them being spilled on, sprayed at or dusted with beauty or cleaning products.
Store in a Closable Container
Jewellery boxes come in all shapes and sizes, which is good news as it means there is one to suit every room in which you chose to keep your antique gems and jewellery. It is advisable when shopping for any type of container in which antique and valuable jewellery is to be stored though to always opt for a jewellery case which is durable, sturdy and features compartments that arent likely to come open if the jewellery box is moved or dropped. This will ensure that as well as keeping your jewellery safe from the sun, air and being lost or damaged through being left out, the box itself will also protect items even if it is dropped or incurs a few bumps and knocks along the way.
Store in a Cool, Dry Atmosphere
Placing an antique jewellery item out of sight and in its own separate compartment, space, box or bag is not always sufficient to ensure it is safe from becoming damaged. It is imperative to ensure items are stored in a cool and dry atmosphere.
This means avoiding taking the advice given by many who suggest storing antique pieces in zip lock bags. As room temperature change naturally or because of heating and air conditioning this can result in condensation. Over time moisture can compromise, damage or tarnish metals. Hence, only ever use soft, breathable materials such as natural cotton or synthetic felt to wrap individual items before storing.