Make Over Your Jewelry Box

Have your rings lost their luster? Are your necklaces in a tangle? With our fast makeover, your favorite baubles will be shiny and tidy in no time.

Clean Start

Before you organize your jewelry, go through and give everything a nice cleaning. Gold, silver, pearls, and gemstones should all be washed separately and with different techniques: 

Gold: For a light cleaning, simply soak plain gold jewelry (or any pieces with hard gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds—avoid soaking softer stones like pearls and opals) in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid added to it. Gently scrub any hard-to-remove dirt with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Dry with a soft cloth or a facial tissue. Source: Consumer Reports

Cleaning silver

Silver polish is the secret to keeping your silver rings and necklaces shiny. Apply a polish such as Goddard’s with a damp sponge or soft cloth. Rub gently and rinse with warm water. You can also clean silver pieces with a little non-gel toothpaste: Apply it gently with a damp sponge, rinse, then buff dry with a soft cloth. Source: FabSugar

Cleaning a diamond ring

For daily maintenance, spritz an ammonia-based window cleaner on tissue and use it to wipe off your ring. Soak a grimier ring that needs some deep cleaning in a bowl filled with a solution of one cup warm water and 1/4 cup ammonia. After 15 to 20 minutes, remove and use a soft-bristle toothbrush to clean any dirt between the diamond and the setting. Rinse with warm water, and place on a facial tissue to dry. Source: Real Simple

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Cleaning organic gems like pearls or coral

Buff pearls and coral with a soft, dry cloth or chamois. Avoid using water if possible, but you can rub extremely dirty pearls with a soft cloth dampened with a mild dishwashing liquid solution. Never soak strands of pearls, as this can cause the string to stretch. Sources: Consumer Reports, Real Simple

Cleaning opaque stones like opals and turquoise

Buff delicate stones like opals, jade, or turquoise with a soft, dry cloth or chamois. Avoid using soap, but you can wipe extremely dirty stones with a moist cloth. Clean settings around stones using a dry soft-bristle toothbrush. Tip: It’s important to protect these stones (as well as pearls) from exposure to hair spray, perfume, or makeup, which can be damaging. Source: Consumer Reports

Get Organized!

Once your jewelry is clean, it's time to organize your collection. First, decide where you want to keep your pieces, as that will determine what type of organizing devices you should use.

If you want to store your jewelry on top of your dresser: Store your newly-cleaned jewelry on top of your dresser in a classic jewelry box, or in several attractive bowls and boxes of your choosing. With traditional jewelry boxes, steer clear of versions with countless tiny drawers, as they make it difficult to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily. If you have a big necklace collection, hang them from a jewelry tree. Source: Oprah

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If you want to store your jewelry in a drawer:

If you’d rather keep your collection stowed away in your dresser, you’ll need dividers to keep tangles and clutter at bay. Look for fabric or velvet-lined drawer organizer trays with different-sized compartments to fit your needs. Source: Real Simple

If you want to display your jewelry:

You can access (and admire) everything you have at a glance if you hang your pieces on the wall. Customize your display by using a pinboard and strong, pearl-topped straight pins, both available at craft stores. Source: Real Simple

If you want to store your jewelry in a closet:

Keeping your costume jewelry tucked away in your clothes closet means you can easily get away with inexpensive acrylic storage solutions like jewelry containers, hooks, and folding earring screens. The Container Store has several options for these items. Source: Oprah

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If you're taking your jewelry on a trip:

When you’re on the move, don’t just throw jewelry into your purse, cosmetics bag or suitcase – protect it by purchasing soft travel pouches or an all-in-one travel jewelry roll. Source: Oprah

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