3 tips to start storing your silver jewellery in an optimal way!
First, there is one thing you need to know: silver tarnishes easily when exposed to air. It's also a relatively soft material that scratches and dents faster than you might like, and vintage silver items are no different. Storing and handling silver always should come with the protection of your items in mind.
1) Keep your pieces separate
Store each piece individually and make sure it does not rub against other items. This can be achieved in the simplest way by just wrapping them in tissue paper, anti-tarnish paper or soft cloth. Larger items, such as complete fibulasets for example, can be wrapped in bubble plastic, again taking care that the individual fibulas are kept from direct contact.
2) Make sure your pieces are clean and dry before storing them
If you, like me, wear your vintage jewellery, make sure it is clean and dry before you store your items away. Sweat and skin contact can damage silver in the long run, so wipe them off and make sure they are dry before storing them. The same goes for when you just have given them a good clean: wait until they are completely dry before storing them. Especially with hollow pieces this may take longer than you think, as water takes time to evaporate from inside an ornament.
3) Keep your pieces locked away from air
Store them in an airtight box or individual zip pouches. Zip pouches come in many sizes: choose the size that fits your piece snugly, but gives it room to move a little. Wrap your pieces in acid free paper before putting them into a zip pouch: the pouch itself may contain abrasive materials that could scratch your silver. Airtight boxes don't have to be anything fancy, but can simply be the type of box you store food in (refridgerator boxes, but also cookiejars work well). Adding silica gel (those little packages that come with new shoes, handbags and other leather products) or activated charcoal will absorb moisture and keep your silver from tarnishing. Avoid direct contact with your silver!
What not to use
newspaper: both the ink and the paper will harm your silver
those rustic looking uncoated wooden boxes: these are great for placing jewellery stored in zip pouches in, but not for direct contact with silver
Taking care to store your silver properly will go a long way in helping you enjoy your collection for years to come!
In the Collection Management-series, I share best practices, tips and guides on the many aspects of collection management. I have listed a few pointers for you to get started in my free workbook, which is available for download here.