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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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:

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest