Monday, August 17, 2009

Storing botanical beads and jewelry

As somebody asked me by email whether she should store her mgambo seed and freshwater pearl necklace refrigerated, here are some tips on storing botanical jewelry:

- Botanical jewelry (i.e. jewelry that contains any kind of seeds or plant parts) should be dried
thoroughly and preferably rather soon if it gets wet. Best is to not let it get really wet in the
first place. It may look like beach jewelry, but if you want to keep it it isn't. Try to keep it dry. Plant seeds don't mind getting wet, but they are not meant to last, they are meant to germinate.

- Job's Tears will chip if gotten wet and dry too often.

- Should you develop a bug problem (I have seen that with Job's Tears once but never with mgambo/weleweka/Hawaiian pussy willow seeds or Royal Poindicana seeds, I'd dry the jewelry in the refrigerator for at least a few days and then put in the freezer for a week.

I do not have to refrigerate botanical jewelry here in Hilo where the daytime temperature is usually above 80F (26.7 C) and the relative humidity normally above 70%. I do not see problems with bugs or mold.

You can normally find these in different package sizes on my website (HiloBeads) and in my Etsy shop.


Christina said...

Is putting in the fridge and freezer the best way to dry the mgambo seeds? Would you recommend another way?

Maren aka hilobeads aka Palms, Etc. said...

The real answer to that is: it depends.

If you are in a place like Hilo where your fridge and freezer are the only places where salt will not turn to a liquid if you don't have air conditioning, no, that's the only way I can recommend.

If you are in a place where it is drier and you can get things dry in air flow that is just as possible. Air them out and don't put them away until they are completely dry, inside and out.

Hope that helps?

csiebert said...

What about drying the seeds in an oven or microwave oven? I've got some saga seeds that I intend to turn into a necklace.
If I use the freezer option, should the seeds bee in a closed plastic bag?

Maren aka hilobeads aka Palms, Etc. said...

I would not microwave anything that I'm trying to dry, it would more likely get cooked or explode (in case of Job's Tears think popcorn). Oven may work if you can set the temperature low enough. I have considered using my dehydrator but never actually tried.
For putting them in the freezer, the point being that you want to dry the beads, putting them in a closed plastic bag would prevent the water from going away. In this case you actually want the equivalent of freezer burn. I would put them into an open container or on a plate if you have enough space. Then of course be careful when taking them back out as water would condense on them because they're colder than their surroundings (I have had that happen with green coffee, and that actually got moldy, i.e. it caused exactly what I was trying to prevent).

csiebert said...

Thank you Maren, I will try the oven on low.

Maren aka hilobeads aka Palms, Etc. said...

Can you post the outcome too?