Learning how to clean silver jewellery is one way to ensure that it stays in good nick over time. Another way to ensure your silver jewellery remains a pinnacle in your jewellery collection for many years to come is by paying attention to how you store it.
Certain areas of the home and different objects can be magnets for tarnish, corrosion and other issues. This is because tarnishing is the result of a chemical reaction when the elements that are in fine silver and sterling silver jewellery are exposed to sulphur-containing gases in the air along with other metals. Fortunately, there are a myriad of safe ways you can store your silver jewellery to not only prevent tarnish and discolouring but also prevent tangles and even breakage.
So, without further ado, here’s how to store silver jewellery when you are not wearing it to ensure it will stay looking good as new for many years to come.
How To Store Silver Jewellery Overview:
- Where to Store Your Sterling Silver Jewellery
- How to Store Silver Do’s and Don’ts
- How To Store Silver To Prevent Tarnishing
- 3 Best Tools to Prevent Tarnish on Your Jewellery
- The Best Way to Store Silver
Where to Store Your Sterling Silver Jewellery
Most of the silver jewellery worn by people today is either fine silver or sterling silver. The pricier option of the two, fine silver jewellery is silver in its purest form. Containing around 99.9% silver, fine silver or pure silver is a lot softer and delicate than sterling silver. Sterling silver on the other hand is generally more affordable and durable than precious fine silver. This is because sterling silver is only made up of around 92.5% silver while the other 7.5% is generally made up of copper or zinc.
Due to their lower price point and durability, sterling silver jewellery tends to be the more prominent jewellery in people’s collections. But because of their different chemical compositions, how you store sterling silver jewellery can vary from how you store fine silver jewellery given the way they react when placed into certain environments and with other chemicals can be very dissimilar. This is why it is extremely important to know where to store your sterling silver jewellery and why it may be different to how you store your other silver. Here are some ways you can store your sterling silver jewellery to protect it from becoming damaged or tarnished;
1. Zip Lock Bags
Plastic zip lock bags are not just a great way to keep your lunch and snacks fresh but your jewellery as well! Tarnishing occurs in sterling silver jewellery when it is exposed to sulphur-containing gases in the air as well as moisture. Storage bags like zip-lock bags work by keeping out the air from your home and therefore helping to avoid it coming into contact with your jewellery.
When sealing your jewellery into a ziplock bag, open a small area of the seal and make sure to squeeze out any remaining air from the bag. You should also check the material of the baggie as some of the materials used in them can be somewhat abrasive on some of the more delicate silver, causing it to become scuffed and even scratched.
2. Use Anti-Tarnish Bags
If you have a lot of sterling silver in your jewellery collection, you should consider investing in anti-tarnish bags. Anti-tarnish bags are generally made from soft microfibre materials such as 100% virgin low-density polyethylene (LDPE), cotton flannel or plastic that is specially treated to prevent tarnish, corrosion and discolouring.
Usually more durable and environmentally-friendly than disposable plastic and zip-lock bags, most anti-tarnish bags are formulated to protect the materials of your jewellery. Some anti-tarnish bags will even change colour when it is time for them to be replaced. However, one thing to remember when storing your jewellery in anti-tarnish bags is to always store your sterling silver separately from your other jewellery.
3. Away From Sunlight and Wood
We all know how powerful the sun and its UV rays can be, so it’s only natural that too much sunlight can leave your sterling silver jewellery worse for wear. So, when storing your sterling silver jewellery, you should always avoid leaving it in areas of the home that come into contact with a lot of sunlight. This includes areas like window seals, sunrooms, rooms with skylights or large windows and most importantly, the car.
You should also avoid storing your sterling silver jewellery in areas where it is exposed to wood. Solid wood items including furniture, window seals and some jewellery boxes are often treated with chemicals such as Copper azole, Borates, Polymeric betaine and more, to ensure that it doesn’t become corroded and deteriorate. Unfortunately, these chemicals can react with your sterling silver jewellery, resulting in it tarnishing further. The general rule of thumb when storing your jewellery is to keep it in a dark area of the house that doesn’t get much sunlight, preferably in a lined jewellery box.
Above all - don’t leave your sterling silver jewellery lying around!
This is a no-brainer, but as we are all human, there are probably a few of us that are guilty of this sometimes. We have all had one of those days where all you want to do is step into your comfies and flop onto the couch. So much so, that you’re practically removing your shoes and accessories before you even reach your room.
Leaving your sterling silver jewellery just about anywhere not only leaves it vulnerable to tarnish due to exposure to sunlight, wood and/or even moisture but also leaves it at risk for getting into the wrong hands or mouth. Children and pets are magnets for potentially valuable items that are easily broken. Not to mention, sterling silver jewellery poses a potential choking hazard if it is small or has items like charms that can easily become dislodged.
How To Store Silver Jewellery Do’s and Don’ts
As mentioned above, the compositions of sterling silver jewellery and fine silver jewellery are not the same. Thus, it is important that you know how to store silver based on the type that it is. Especially, seeing as fine silver is a lot more delicate than sterling silver.
Inadequately storing your silver jewellery can not only severely affect its lifespan and leave it prone to tarnish, but it can also leave it prone to opportunistic thieves, the sticky fingers of young children or curious jaws of pets.
Here are some how to store silver jewellery do’s and don’ts.
Don’t Store Your Silver Jewellery in Containers with Adhesive
Aside from wooden ones, most storage containers are generally safe. However, some will contain adhesive to help stick down any parts of the container. Adhesives are often laden with moisture and sulphur, two of the biggest causes of tarnishing in jewellery. So when you’re picking out a storage system for your jewellery, inspect it for adhesive before you purchase it.
Do Add Something to Absorb the Moisture
You can keep your jewellery boxed up in the deepest and darkest depths of your house, but unfortunately, things like moisture are inevitable. Whether it is a bit of perfume, some of your sweat or more alarmingly, a water leak, there are some things that are just out of your control.
Thankfully, there are ways to navigate around this. One of the ways to curb this issue is by adding something to your jewellery collection to help absorb any moisture. Whether it’s chalk, silica gel or activated charcoal, all are equally effective at preventing moisture when placed in a jewellery box. Another option is using felt to line the bottom of your jewellery box.
Don’t Store Your Jewellery Too Close Together
Another golden rule for storing jewellery is to avoid storing it too close to other jewellery that is made from different materials. Fine silver jewellery is particularly vulnerable when placed in this situation given that it is already quite soft, malleable and prone to tarnish.
If you have lots of jewellery, consider getting a large jewellery box with multiple sections for you to categorise your jewellery. If you have lots of necklaces and earrings, another effective method is getting a jewellery tree that you can evenly spread out all your jewellery onto without it coming into contact with other pieces. If you aren’t completely swayed by the idea of purchasing a jewellery storage system, you can always find a non-wooden plate or a tray and use it to line up your jewellery by type and material.
Do Wrap Your Jewellery Individually In A Cloth or Anti-Tarnish Bag
Keeping your jewellery wrapped up when you’re not wearing it is not only great for avoiding it becoming scratched, scuffed or broken but is also a great way to prevent it from tarnishing. While you can use zip-lock bags and tissue paper to help keep air and moisture away from your silver, arguably the best way to store it is by placing it individually into an anti-tarnish cloth or bag. These anti-tarnish tools are chemically formulated to prevent tarnish and therefore tend to be a little more fool-proof. Not to mention, they are great for storing your jewellery when you travel.
How To Store Silver To Prevent Tarnishing
When it comes to storing your silver jewellery, your number one goal is going to be to prevent tarnishing. Silver jewellery is extremely sensitive to particular environments and chemicals. One prime example of this is bathrooms. Silver jewellery is more vulnerable to tarnish when stored in bathrooms due to the naturally damp environment.
Here are some tips for how to store silver to prevent tarnishing.
1. Store Your Jewellery In A Cool and Dry Spot
Placing your jewellery in a cool and dry spot is textbook when it comes to jewellery storage. Storing your silver jewellery in a dark and dry area of the house such as a cupboard, a drawer or simply a room that doesn’t get much light will not only keep it out of the sun but also away from moisture and prying eyes. While the bathroom is often one of the darker rooms in the house due to a limited amount of windows, you should also avoid leaving your jewellery as moisture is pretty much inevitable in this room due to shower steam, condensation and multiple taps. Ideally, you should also store your silver in a closeable jewellery box.
2. Avoid Storing Your Silver Jewellery Near Perfume & Other Beauty Products
Many people like to store their jewellery on their dressing tables or in their wardrobes, which is fine. However, dressing tables and wardrobes are where people like to store their common beauty products such as makeup, deodorant, hairspray and perfume. These products can be damaging to your jewellery products due to the chemicals they contain. For the same reason, do not apply these products to your skin while wearing your jewellery.
3. Use Chalk
Chalk is another jewellery storage hack, albeit one that is super effective. Everyone knows that chalk is exceptionally dry and absorbent, which makes it great for sucking up moisture. For this reason, consider placing a few pieces of chalk into your jewellery box or wherever you choose to store your collection.
4. Use A Tiered Storage System
A basic rule when learning how to store silver jewellery to prevent tarnish is to separate it from other metals in your collection.
If you’re someone with quite an extensive fine jewellery collection, it is likely you have jewellery that is made up of all different metals including fine silver, sterling silver, yellow gold, rose gold, copper, nickel, bronze, stainless steel, platinum and titanium to name a few. These metals are all made up of vastly different compounds and can therefore interact with one another, leading to tarnish. To prevent this, opt for a tiered storage system that helps divide up your jewellery.
3 Best Tools to Prevent Tarnish on Your Jewellery
While some of the tools and methods out there for preventing tarnish are nothing but old wives’ tales, others certainly hold merit. So the next time you remove your accessories after a long-hard day, use these tools to prevent tarnish as part of your storage method.
1. Silica Gel or Activated Charcoal
Those who receive a lot of online orders will probably be familiar with the small, white pouches that have ‘do not consume’ written on the front and are filled with what looks like tiny, clear beads. These little clear beads are silica gel and they are designed to help keep goods fresh and preserved while they are stored away in some warehouse as well as in transit. But instead of throwing these little packets straight into the bin when you receive your next shoe order or clothing purchase, keep them and place a packet or two with your jewellery as they will keep your silver moisture and tarnish-free.
2. Anti-Tarnish Paper
Much like anti-tarnish bags, anti-tarnish paper has also been specifically formulated with particular chemicals to help prevent tarnish. By wrapping your silver jewellery in an anti-tarnish paper after every use you not only will help prevent it from tarnishing but you will also help it maintain its shine and your diamond jewellery maintain its sparkle.
Anti-tarnish paper can be purchased from jewellery stores or marketplace websites such as eBay, Etsy and Amazon.
3. Impregnated Silver Polishing Cloth
Tarnish prevention on your jewellery should begin before you even attempt to store it away for the night. This is why an impregnated silver polishing cloth may just be your go-to tool for preventing tarnish and keeping your jewellery squeaky clean. These small microfibre cloths are infused with a solution that is specially produced to help polish silver. They are gentle, non-abrasive and generally pretty affordable which makes them perfect for giving your jewellery a little clean at home. To use one of these polishing cloths, gently rub the cloth into your silver jewellery in a circular motion until any tarnish has disintegrated and your piece is visibly shiny. To ensure your jewellery stays in a sublime condition, you should aim to polish it with one of these cloths after every wear before storing it away-especially if you wear the same jewellery every day.
Can You Store Silver In Plastic Bags?
Many plastic bags contain sulphur which can directly lead to tarnishing in silver jewellery. Another reason that you should refrain from storing your jewellery in plastics bags is that they often trap in air and moisture - two other elements that lead to tarnishing. Zip-lock bags are an exception to this rule as you can squeeze out any remaining air before sealing the baggies.
The Best Way to Store Silver
While all the methods mentioned above are a great way to store your jewellery, arguably the best way to store silver and help maintain its quality for many years to come is a combination of what is mentioned above. This includes making sure that you are storing your jewellery:
- away from any moisture or wood
- in a cool, dry and dark spot
- away from any sunlight.
You should also consider investing in a jewellery tree or a multi-sectional jewellery case that allows you to separate your pieces by type and therefore keeping your silver from having a chemical reaction with the other jewellery in your collection. Alternatively, find a plain-non-wooden jewellery box and individually place each piece of jewellery in a zip-lock bag, anti-tarnish bag or wrapped in anti-tarnish paper. Err on the side of caution by placing an item like chalk, silica gel or charcoal with your jewellery to help absorb any moisture.
Now that you’ve learnt how to store silver jewellery, discover how to wear, clean, test and style silver jewellery at Silver Chic. Don’t forget to also check out Silver Chic’s burgeoning collection of silver jewellery sets, men’s silver jewellery and more, all of which you can buy now and pay later with Afterpay.