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Stylish Jewelry Storage




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. Shop china on sites like



Madame Curio

"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,



Boxed Rings

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.

Box How-To

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, Rust-Oleum "Painter's Touch" spray paint in Seaside Green, $3, for stores. "Nepal Fish-scale" paper, $5 per sheet, New York Central Art Supply, 212-473-7705



Trunk Show

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.



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):

By Boe

Vintage beads and intricate wire work (

Dinosaur Designs

Chunky resin in organic shapes (

Kaviar and Kind

A curated selection from contemporary artists (

Melissa Joy Manning

Beautiful pieces with a slightly harder edge (

Ted Muehling

Playful-yet-understated wearable art (


  1. Step 1

Blueprint, January/February 2008



Reviews (34)

  • kitt_carson 23 Sep, 2011

    Used the "boxed rings" design idea to remodel an old drawer, painted and lined with random paper squares, drawer knobs, tacks, and window hardware into a fully functioning and very attractive jewelry box. It cost a little time and saved things from my throw away pile- thanks for the idea!

  • tess_of_st_paul 23 Feb, 2011

    I use buttons (the tan type made from shells with two holes) for my earrings. The pairs stay together and you just pick up the button and have both earrings.

  • MariJovan 24 Jan, 2011

    I love the faux marble bust. As a budding jewelry designer I look for alternate ways of displaying jewelry. After 2 weeks of searching, I found it. It comes in several finishes. Thank you Martha Stewart Magazine. If Martha Stewart magazine would like to know where they can get it, offer me a job.

  • djgiles53 20 Sep, 2010

    what works real well is needlepoint fabric - the holes are already there and I just hold the sheet with a 2 clip hanger

  • dlltaylor 31 Aug, 2008

    These are beautiful ideas. I have so much "stuff", that I use an upright hardware nails

  • mermi 29 Aug, 2008

    I hang my long earrings from a beautiful wine or champagne glass! it looks amazing and earrings are so easy to find! Jules in Sydney

  • DebAA 26 Aug, 2008

    These are great ideas. Reminds me of a similar idea I saw recently. My daughter found an old antique singer sewing machine top in an antique store and uses it to hang her jewelry from. Looks darling sitting on her bedroom dresser. It doesn't really take up that much space and adds a cute, creative look to her dresser.

  • basketsareforme 26 Aug, 2008

    I have used this idea, i have lots of small trinket boxs and little glass dishes, they all fit perfect in my dresser top drawer. Keeps you organized and find a new use for all those cute boxs, i loved this idea!!

  • AndreaV 25 Aug, 2008

    Dishes are cute but for organized storage I love the Flip 'n Dazzle Jewelry Case. Holds everything, keeps it in place, nothing gets tangled and I can see all my things at once. It has clear pockets for earrings, watches

  • MangoMeg 25 Aug, 2008

    The different cups and dishes really look great mixed together. If you don't already have mix and match china, try hitting up a dollar store. I've found some really unique decorative bowls and small dishes there, and they're cheap!

  • gekkolisa 24 Aug, 2008

    I like that idea. It keeps stuff out of the way and is very decorative. As long as you have enough dressers for your own stuff.

  • cthegirl 24 Aug, 2008

    I took a picture frame replaced the glass and the backing with screen material by stapling it across the back and trimming it flush with the outside edge. I hang my earrings through the screen both post and hook styles. I placed small hooks around the edge for lever back earrings and keep it on a picture stand on my dresser. . Not only is it convenient, making choosing my pair for the day easy. All the earrings make a very beautiful piece of art.

  • deeanne5354 24 Aug, 2008

    I use teacups too but on my dresser tops and match the colors of the jewelry to the teacups to make a lovely display.

  • deeanne5354 24 Aug, 2008

    My favorite place to store my jewelry is in those lovely old divided glass candy dishes with lids. I have a pretty pink one and a clear glass one with a red lid with delicate oriental designs painted on it. The three spaces make it easy to separate rings, necklaces

  • melodypierson 24 Aug, 2008

    I take antique pillows with velvet, soemthing textured and hang earrings onto them...studded earrings don't work but the hook ones do, and it looks really beautiful and it's very practical to see what you have, right in front of you.

  • melodypierson 24 Aug, 2008

    I take antique pillows with velvet, soemthing textured and hang earrings onto them...studded earrings don't work but the hook ones do, and it looks really beautiful and it's very practical to see what you have, right in front of you.

  • melodypierson 24 Aug, 2008

    I take antique pillows with velvet, soemthing textured and hang earrings onto them...studded earrings don't work but the hook ones do, and it looks really beautiful and it's very practical to see what you have, right in front of you.

  • caroltheknitist 24 Aug, 2008

    Other cup-like shapes that are good for jewelry: custard cups, sugar packet holders, and sake cups. Those are what I'm currently using.

  • MLuiken 24 Aug, 2008

    What fun ideas! I am not so lucky to have a lot of space. I looked all over for a way to hang necklaces - I am using a men's necktie holder. It is easy to see what you have and also there are many spots to hang lots of them. I hang it in my small closet .

  • laurelsue 23 Jun, 2008

    my favorite way to date of storing rings - I have a few mini eiffel towers, which are perfect for rings. I just recently bought one large enough for bracelets (Icing/Claire's), which was intended as an earring holder. gotta get me a "bust" of something to hold my necklaces.

  • KathieMI 25 Apr, 2008

    I glued a china luncheon plate to an old candlestick, so it looks like a little cake stand. I put several of my favorite and most worn pairs of earrings on the plate on my bathroom counter where they are in easy reach.

  • MyDyan 31 Mar, 2008

    I borrowed an idea from my grandmother and made a black velvet wall hanging to pin my brooches on. I have a large collection of beautiful brooches and they make quite a statement on the black velvet. The velvet is hung on a decorative cafe rod and a black tasselled cord suspends it from the wall.

  • MuMuNancy 28 Mar, 2008

    I use a wooden coffee mug to hang necklaces or bracelets on. I hook the matching earrings to the necklace to keep sets together. I also use vintage footed celery holders (usually cut glass) for brushes, combs and handled mirror to keep clutter off of the vanity top.

  • CIA1979 25 Mar, 2008

    I keep most of my jewelry in/on a beautiful antique desk from my great grandmother, each draw holds one type of jewelry, for instance bangles. to keep things from sliding I line the drawers with that foamy, open weave drawer lining stuff. on top I display my favorites on antique cake plates, footed fruit bowls and fancy little plates. I like to keep my chain necklaces stuck onto the mirror in my vanity area with little suction cups with hooks from the hardware store, easy to see.

  • casperboy 20 Mar, 2008

    Liked the idea of the small cups or bowls used for keeping jewelry, have been doing this for years. When in a drawer they will not be dusty. I hang chains on a padded clothes hanger which I have sewed on pearl button to keep the chains from slliding together.

  • casperboy 20 Mar, 2008

    Liked the idea of the small cups or bowls used for keeping jewelry, have been doing this for years. When in a drawer they will not be dusty. I hang chains on a padded clothes hanger which I have sewed on pearl button to keep the chains from slliding together.

  • hankyandthebean 5 Feb, 2008

    just another though, if the paper is thin attach a sheet of thicker plain paper uderneath it, if you dont you will find the lacquer will soak though the paper making it transparent, you may or may not want this effect.

  • hankyandthebean 5 Feb, 2008

    Lindleyloo: I have seen paper just like that in art stores and specialty paper stores, the pattern seems to be common in oriental design. I dont know where you live but I have found really neat paper similar to the one pictured in China town in san francisco, you can buy several sheets for a couple bucks! Also you might find something in your local craft store, but if its a chain i find their selections to be sorta below par. if you find a paper you like I would also suggest lacquering it after placing it in your box for extra strength and longevity.
    another idea that i like is to use a piece of an old map or diagram. hope this is helpful!

  • hankyandthebean 5 Feb, 2008

    Its nice to see that someone else has thought of the driftwood branch as a jewelry display! I have been hanging my necklaces on a pair for years, but instead of having them in a container i screwed them into the wall one either side of a mirror one slightly higher then the other. I have tried using small bowls before for my rings but found that they collected a lot of dust and needed to be cleaned often. so i ditched those and made casts of my fingers in different positions, mounted them on a rectangular piece of wood, painted and clear-coated the whole thing then hung that on the wall as well and put all my rings on my fingers, this might be to funky for some, you can paint it all white and it looks a lot more sleek and clean (for fingers).

  • christybear 3 Feb, 2008

    I tried the teacup and saucer organization idea and I love it! I had been looking for a way to find all of my jewelry that was neater than the box they were all tangled in. Now it's such a joy to get ready in the morning on put on finishing touches. Plus I have a place where I can enjoy my antique tea sets more than just displaying them on a shelf. Thanks!

  • Lindleyloo 21 Jan, 2008

    I'd love to know who designed that beautiful wallpaper behind the shadow box in the above photo. Can anyone tell me?? It's not listed in the magazine either.

  • Lindleyloo 21 Jan, 2008

    I love the idea of mesh in a nice frame! I have lots of costume jewelry but have trouble keeping it organized, so this is a great solution. I currently have all my necklaces hanging on decorative knobs hung on the wall, but they don't hold many at a time. The mesh seems more practical-- I'd still get to see my jewels out in the open, but not looking sloppy!

  • michelle29 19 Jan, 2008

    I'm a big fan of making my own beaded jewelry. Eventually, my hobby needed some storage room. I got a picture frame, removed the glass and inserted wire mesh sheeting (much like what you see on screen doors). I secured it with the back of the frame and hung it on my wall in my bathroom so that I can clearly see all the earrings and decide which ones I want to wear that day! I like this idea because it doesn't take up much room, looks nice, and its very functional.

  • mejan 14 Jan, 2008

    As a professional Interior Designer, as well as an established jewellery designer, I've got to say that these ideas are just fabulous!