Jewelry boxes can be handy, but they can also turn your prettiest baubles into unsightly nests of knots. Here are four display-worthy organizing ideas we're sure you'll take a shine to.
Open Drawer Policy
Let your hodgepodge of china collect something besides dust: Orphaned teacups and saucers are perfect vessels for sorting jewelry, and, when arranged in a velvet-lined drawer, they give you an easy-to-scan bird's-eye view of your bijoux. To set it up, measure the height of the drawer's side (not the front), then gather dishware that's slightly shorter. Line the drawer with velvet or felt to prevent rattling and sliding, then position the porcelain. Hook drop earrings on rims of cups, nestle necklaces within them, and stash chunkier beads and bangles on individual saucers.
Credits: Cotton velvet fabric, $27 per yard, B&J Fabrics, 212-354-8150. Similar china, from $1, ebay.com.
"Out of sight, out of mind" has long been your mantra -- and the explanation for that "missing" strand of pearls. So why not transform your most-neglected pieces into art? You'll never misplace a pendant that's modeled by a faux-marble bust on your dresser -- and chains are less likely to knot when they're stored the way they are worn. If classical sculpture isn't quite your style, drape jewels over a candelabra or pile bangles on an artists' 3-D wooden hand model.
Credits: Similar faux-marble busts, from $98, statues.com
If surface area in your bedroom is scarce, try a wall-mounted solution on for size. This jazzed-up shadow box, retrofitted with a variety of hooks and knobs, shelters delicate earrings and chains from possible entanglements while turning them into objets d'art. Small decorative bowls perched on the box's lower ledge corral rings, pins, and brooches and complete the charming trinket tableau.
1. Select a shadow box (or a small wine crate) with a back and sides that are at least 1/4 inch thick to accommodate the hooks. Sand and prime the box, then apply two coats of semigloss spray paint.
2. Cut a piece of decorative paper to fit inside the box, coat the back of the paper with spray adhesive, and press it into place, smoothing it from the center out to the corners with your fingers. Then lay out the jewelry where you'd like it to hang and screw in hooks at the appropriate points.
3. Finally, add two evenly spaced saw-tooth hangers to the box's back for a steady mount.
Credits: Shadow box, $12, frames-direct.com. Similar Berenson "Barcelona" knobs, $6 each, cdmcabinethardware.com. Rust-Oleum "Painter's Touch" spray paint in Seaside Green, $3, rustoleum.com for stores. "Nepal Fish-scale" paper, $5 per sheet, New York Central Art Supply, 212-473-7705
Towering trees aren't the only flora that can sport rings. A few well-chosen branches from your last hike or a couple of dried vines from a florist shop can, too -- if you trim them with the 24-karat kind. We stole (er, adapted) this idea from L.A.-based jewelry designer Kathleen Ward, who dreamed it up for a photo shoot and then stuck with it: "A lot of my pieces have delicate shapes and chains, and hanging them on the branches kept them from knotting up," she says. We found that cuttings with horizontal offshoots work best; just "plant" the stems in a vase filled with rocks or sand (for stability). You can also spray paint the twigs black or gold for a more striking look.
Credits: Sandblasted "manzanita" branches, $12 each, Dry Nature, 212-695-8911. Similar Alex Marshall Studio vase, from $58, vivionline.com
Pick of the Glitter
Inspired to go mining for more gems? Here are some of our go-to mother lodes of style (many of which are represented in this story):
Vintage beads and intricate wire work (byboe.com)
Chunky resin in organic shapes (dinosaurdesigns.com)
Elegant gold-and-cut-stone danglers (khwjewelry.com)
Kaviar and Kind
A curated selection from contemporary artists (kaviarkind.com)
Melissa Joy Manning
Beautiful pieces with a slightly harder edge (mjmmetal.com)
Nature-inspired pieces and semi-precious stones (swallowglass.com)
Playful-yet-understated wearable art (tedmuehling.com)