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How to Keep Necklaces from Tangling When Storing

Posted on February 12 2021

There is no greater frustration than having to untangle a necklace before you can wear it. The urge to yank the chain and the arduous untangling process is not only irritating but can also damage fine chain links; twist bails, jump rings, and clasps; and tear off pendants. Storing your necklaces properly can help you avoid tangles and prolong the life of your favorite jewelry pieces. Here are the best ways to keep necklaces from tangling when storing.

 gold chain
Source: Elnur/ shutterstock.com

1. The Straw Hack

It may not be glamorous, but one of the best ways to prevent your necklace collection from becoming a tangled mess is to store them using drinking straws. This technique is the perfect solution for storing a thin gold chain for men up to 5 mm, which is the diameter of a standard drinking straw.

Cut the side of a straw using an X-Acto knife or box cutter and thread one side of the necklace chain through the cut. This method works best when you have a designated drawer or large flat jewelry box to store your necklaces. Lay a piece of felt or velvet on the base of the drawer to prevent the necklaces from sliding around, and place the straw-threaded necklaces flat around an inch apart.

2. Use a Jewelry Box

The key to keeping your necklaces untangled and in excellent condition is to store them separately. A jewelry box with individual compartments allows you to arrange your necklaces so they don’t touch one another. This method is ideal for 14k gold chains, which are slightly softer than 10k chains, and more prone to scratches. The added benefit of using a jewelry box is that it also protects your collection from dust and debris, which could damage fine jewelry and depreciate its value.

Look for a jewelry box with several elongated lined spaces for your necklaces or vertical side compartments with hooks to hang your chains. If you have long chains over 18”, consider a jewelry cabinet or armoire, which offers more vertical space. For precious jewelry items, choose a jewelry box with a lock.

 necklaces hanging from twisted driftwood branch
Source: CFortin/ shutterstock.com

3. Hang Your Necklaces

Hanging your necklaces is a simple way to ensure your chains retain their shape and avoid dents and scratches on clasps and links. There are multiple ways you can hang your necklaces, from repurposing a wall-mounted key holder to using a decorative branched jewelry dish.

However, when choosing your hanging storage, ensure the hooks or rails are made from a metal that has a lower or equal Moh’s hardness scale rating as gold. These metals include zinc, aluminum, copper, or brass. This ensures that your gold chains are less likely to sustain damage.

You could also use treated and sealed wood or tree branches for a stylish rustic hanging storage option. Stand a branch in a vase, wall-mount it, or hang it from the ceiling.

4. Wrap Your Necklaces

Wrapping necklaces is ideal for valuable iced out chains to prevent diamonds from coming loose from their settings and stopping the diamond from damaging the softer metal on the other necklaces in your collection. Use a microfiber cloth or small piece of velvet and lay your chain flat at one end. Roll the cloth, starting from the longest side. Alternatively, for chunkier chains, place the necklace flat in the center of the cloth and fold the two side pieces across it. Then place the wrapped necklace in a drawer, container, or jewelry box. 

 gold necklace carved heart
Source: Tarzhanova/ shutterstock.com

5. Use the Original Box

Necklace boxes used by stores are ideally suited for storing necklaces. They typically feature soft, lined interiors with loops or slits to hold the chain in place, and the rigid exterior keeps your jewelry safe from impact. These boxes also allow you to display chain-and-pendant combinations perfectly so you can quickly and easily select the right piece for your outfit.

6. Store Pendants Separately

One of the best things about wearing necklaces with pendants is that you can mix and match the pendant with the chain to create a fresh look for every ensemble. Storing your pendants separate from your chains not only avoids damage from the pendants hitting each other but allows you to easily thread a new pendant on your necklace. Place pendants in a zippered velvet pouch or miniature Ziploc bag and keep them in a drawer or jewelry box.

How to Untangle Your Necklace

If you are dealing with an impossible mass of tangled chains, there are several steps you can take to untangle your necklaces without damaging them.

Undo the Clasp

Start by releasing the clasps on the necklaces to avoid putting tension on the chain or breaking the clasp mechanism when untangling.

Use a Needle

Find a straight needle or pin; the thinner the point, the better. Use the tip of the needle to gently work the knot to loosen it.

Add a Lubricant

Add a touch of baby oil or mineral oil to help the metal slip easily out of the knot.

If you still struggle to undo your tangled necklace, take the piece to a jeweler or necklace chain repair store. A professional has the tools to detangle your chains without damaging the links.

The Takeaway

Improper necklace storage can lead to a tangled mess that scratches, bends, dents the links, and breaks clasps. Use hanging storage or individual compartments to organize your necklaces, ensuring that they don’t touch. Consider wrapping them in ultra-soft lint-free cloth or using the original box for more valuable iced-out pieces.

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