I can’t remember exactly what got me started. I think it was looking at rings on Pinterest. It got me digging up old rings to see if they still fit, and I discovered that some of my silver jewellery had tarnished, so I went looking for information on storing it, and next thing I was going through everything. Soon I had a bit of a triage system going: jewellery to cull, jewellery to fix or scavenge for parts, jewellery to sort and store properly.
Information on storing silver was contradictory – some say to keep it exposed to air to keep it dry, some day keep it sealed away in zip lock bags. Since the items of mine that had tarnished had been exposed to a point – loose in drawers – I went with the zip lock bags. But the silver in the original velvet boxes was fine, so I figured that must be enough to protect them. I even went hunting for more velvet boxes in op shops. One of the local ones said they had a big bag of empty ones out the back and they’d call me when they found it, but unfortunately they never did.
Most of my jewellery is either bought or hand made ‘costume’ jewellery. I have very little that’s worth more, and then nothing worth a lot. I suspect I’ve inherited my mother’s wariness of owning something valuable that could be so easily stolen or make someone want to mug you. Ironically, I have pieces that it would hurt far more to lose because they’re sentimental, not valuable.
I’ve been keeping most of the jewellery I wear regularly in my little ‘dressing table nook’ on some wire mesh I spray painted white a few years ago, using s hooks I made out of white coated paper clips. But space was running out and it had spread to the mirror.
I had a little cabinet on the other side of the nook that was half full of bits and pieces, so I got rid of that. Then I bought two cheap pinboards and covered the ugly brown corkboard centre with calico. A pack of clear plastic pins and some picture hooks later, I had two jewellery hangers. And some removable hooks for bracelets and heavier necklaces.
Now I can take down a necklace without having to untangle it from the rest. There are a lot more necklaces than anything else. Rings are like handbags for me. When I like one I stick with it until something breaks. Earrings are only for special occasions and only when I have my hair back. Brooches? Occasionally. Bracelets… well, thanks to Pinterest again I’m discovering a bit of a love for bracelets – as opposed to bangles. Winter isn’t a great time for them, as they get lost under sleeves. But most of my recent purchases and creations have been bracelets. And it won’t be winter forever. I might just have to make some more of those.