Like your art, your jewelry seems tailor-made for display. Silver sparkles and gold shimmers, bright colors complement and contrast, earth tones provide balance. A vibrant pottery bowl filled with beaded bracelets invites a closer look; a piece of lace threaded with pairs of earrings becomes an intricate tapestry; a row of necklaces on vintage hooks is as engaging as an oil painting.

With so much eye candy, who doesn’t want to be able to look at it all the time?

Pinterest and DIY websites nurture the concept of jewelry stored out in the open, with irresistible ideas for making your jewelry double as decor. Who can say no to a ceramic egg carton filled with rings? Antique door knobs on an old piece of barnwood practically beg to be draped with necklaces, while porcelain bowls overflowing with bangles take the pirate treasure chest approach. And tiered cake stands drip strands of beads like a waterfall. It’s what all the crafty gals do, right?

A+ for form, D- for function.

As much as you want to showcase it, your jewelry is meant to adorn your body, not your walls or bureau top. Your chest is the background for pewter pendants and gold charms; your wrists and ears are the settings for silver droplets and glass beads. But when you take your jewelry off, you should put it safely away.

Like any good curator, you need to consider the needs of your jewelry before the whims of your internal interior decorator. Although bowls, saucers, and hooks provide a convenient place to toss jewelry once it’s off the body–not to mention an easy way to take visual stock of your collection–these storage methods put your jewelry at risk of tarnish and scratches.

Gold is soft and malleable, and is thus easily scratched by harder metals and gems. Silver is subject to tarnish, which is a result of exposure to moisture and air. Glass beads are, well, glass; and as we all know, glass can break if slung too carelessly into, say, a ceramic or copper bowl.

Here are a couple of tips for keeping your jewelry bright, clean, and sparkly:

  • Store your most valuable pieces in their original packaging, or wrapped in anti-tarnish cloth inside small plastic bags.
  • Store statement pieces that you wear less often in their original packaging, or wrapped in anti-tarnish cloth inside small plastic bags.
  • Store gold jewelry in soft cloth bags.
  • Put silver jewelry in small plastic bags with anti-tarnish tabs. Or, store multiple pieces in anti-tarnish cloth flapped jewelry pouches. (We know–who has time for pouches? On the other hand, who has time for polishing jewelry? Pick your battles.)
  • Use a proper jewelry box, with lining and compartments. (Sigh. We know–it seems like something your grandmother would do. And that’s why her jewelry will still look pristine when you inherit it.)

If you simply can’t bear to have everything packed away in pouches and drawers, we reluctantly approve the display solutions below.

* Create a shadow box jewelry holder. It must be the type with the hinged class on the front. We urge you to include a spot for anti-tarnish tabs. 
* Utilize airtight glass storage containers, preferably lined with a piece of anti-tarnish cloth. Small canning jars are quite stackable, and there are some adorable jars available at craft stores.
* Invest in glass cloches designed for jewelry storage. Eventually you will break the bell-shaped tops taking them on and off the stand all the time, but they’ll look great while they last.

Now your costume jewelry–your acrylic beads, your faux pearls, your crocheted wristlets and such–those are the pieces you can hang on the walls, drape artfully over branches, and even store in the bathroom. They will neither tarnish nor scrape, and will give you that burst of color you’re seeking.

Oh, but wait, we know you–you’re a Bronwen gal. You don’t have any costume jewelry. It’s only the real thing for you, babe. You don’t give anything else in your life slipshod treatment, and you don’t intend to start with your jewelry.