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Gem Display & Storage Options

Posted October 16, 2008 By AussieSapphire

You only need a few gems before you need to consider how best to store and display them.  There are a multitude of options out there but as always, some products are better than others.  After many years working with gems, we can give you a few tips on what to look out for.

Gem Boxes
We strongly recommend using boxes with glass lids.  Plastic lid boxes or round pods might be cheaper but they will scratch and become unusable very quickly.  Glass lids are far superior – anything less is false economy.

It is critical to identify your gems clearly and if you can add the important details such as weight and dimensions, it will make life much easier later.  There are many ways to do this but if you are using gem boxes such as ours, we find it easiest to write the details on the bottom or side of the box iusing a fine permanent marker.  This is easily removed with acetone (or nail polish remover) when required but is a quick and convenient way of labelling gems.  You can use sticky labels but these tend to leave a sticky residue upon removal and is just an unnecessary hassle.

Inserts generally come in black or white and may be reversible.  We generally use white inserts which are suitable for almost all coloured gemstones but stock some black insert boxes for our opal customers where the play of colour seems to show up better on black. 

Display Cases
Once you accumulate a few gems, display cases are a great way to show off your collection.   We believe that the cases holding individual gem boxes are the best option as these hold your gems securely and allow you to label them clearly to avoid confusion.  These are available in a range of sizes so choose the one which suits you best.

Some people prefer cases which can hold a number of gems without individual boxes.  These usually come in two styles – the traditional “dimple” case and the newer style “ridged” case.  The “dimple” case generally has a felt pad indented with rows of holes where the gems sit.  This case is traditionally used by gem faceters but has a number of serious problems – mainly that the gems are prone to falling out and there is no way of labelling individual gems.  The newer style “ridged” case has a leatherette interior formed into rows where the gems sit much more securely and you can label the gems more easily if required.

We’ve all had the experience of slightly tilting one of the old “dimple” cases and then spending the next hour on the floor searching for lost gems.  This just does not happen with the new “ridged” cases – just take a look at this demonstration on the video:

Aussie Sapphire stocks these cases in 3 sizes as well as the gem box display cases in a range of sizes.  Take a look at our gem display category for more information.

Plastic Bags or Diamond Paper?
Once you start getting into commercial quantities of gems, space becomes an issue and some need to move to plastic bag or diamond paper storage.  I have to admit, we prefer plastic bags simply because it is easier to see what is inside at a glance.  Buy good quality plastic (not the thin flimsy ones) with white strips for writing details on them but this is a cheap and convenient option.  Diamond or gem papers are available in a range of colours to best display your chosen gems – there is a knack to folding them correctly and you should practice this so it becomes second nature.  Both plastic bags or papers can be compactly stored in boxes in a secure location.

It is not recommended to store more than one gem at a time inside a bag or paper – softer gems may chip or wear if continually jostled against each other inside a bag. 

Take-home message is simply this – gems are beautiful so dont hide them away in a cupboard!!  Display them properly so you can enjoy them and show them off proudly.

cheers for now from Andrew and Leah (Aussie Sapphire)