Travelers who bring jewelry usually know enough to guard against loss or theft, but often ignore the more likely possibility of damage. Small jewelry is particularly vulnerable to dents, tangling, tarnishing or corrosion unless a few elementary precautions are taken. Use the following tips to keep your valuable protected against hostile environments.
Separate Jewelry from the Rest of Your Luggage
When in transit, jewelry should be kept in a dedicated jewelry case as carry-on. Most people are aware that keeping jewelry with checked luggage increases the risk of loss, but the more imminent danger is the weight and pressure of other baggage stacked over your own suitcase when stored in a plane’s luggage compartment.
If your carry-on luggage is a suitcase full of clothes, the humidity that fabrics trap will increase the rate of tarnishing. If your jewelry collection isn’t especially large, keep it in a jewelry pouch under your seat or in your lap, where you’re less likely to forget it after you land.
Use Tarnish-Free Wrappers and Containers
Rather than polishing jewelry whenever tarnishing is visible, eliminate the source of tarnishing up from with anti-tarnish products. Anti-tarnish bags are reclosable plastic bags that look like miniature sandwich bags, but are coated with a neutralizer that prevents atmospheric gases from oxidizing metal. Other products in the same vein include:
- Anti-tarnish strips
- Jewelry showcase liner (anti-tarnish fabric)
- Anti-tarnish tissue paper
- LusterLoc coated jewelry trays
If you don’t have access to tarnish-free containers or wrappers, keep jewelry items of different metals in different containers to prevent a chemical reaction known as galvanic corrosion. If you must keep dissimilar metals in the same container, use the next tip.
In your hotel, keep your jewelry container out of the bathroom. Even after the steam has visibly diffused, the humidity is still high enough to promote corrosion and tarnishing. The ideal place to keep your jewelry case is near the air conditioner, where humidity will be lowest. Of course, if your room has a safe, the security it offers outweighs the advantage of dryer climate.
Keep Necklaces in Straws
Necklaces tangle easily, especially when stored in a folded jewelry roll. The best practice for necklace storage is slipping each necklace into a drinking straw, the closing the clasp. To prevent necklaces from being lost if they accidentally break, keep all of the straws with necklaces in a plastic bag.
Another ways to store necklaces, which can be adapted for earrings as well, is to mount them on a sheet of cardboard. Find or cut out a sheet of cardboard that’s slightly taller than the longest necklace when closed and stretched, and lay the necklace on the cardboard. Now cut slits in the cardboard an inch below the ends of the necklace, insert the ends into the slits, and repeat the procedure for your other necklaces. For earrings, simply poke holes in the cardboard, and stick the earrings in holes. Use a plastic bag to keep from losing necklaces or earrings if they slip off the cardboard.
There are actually many additional ways to store jewelry for extra protection, but the techniques listed above are the least expensive and the least complicated.