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How to Untangle Jewelry: What to Do (And What Not to Do)

Written by Anna Currell
January 6, 2023

Have you ever searched for your favorite necklace to wear with an outfit and then finally found it… but it was tangled in a mess? It’s way too easy to get your jewelry in a knot, especially if you wear layered necklaces or don’t have a dedicated place to store your jewelry. It’s frustrating when your favorite pieces are too tangled to wear, but don’t get discouraged — let’s take a look at how to untangle jewelry using some easy at-home tips. 

Gently Pull Your Pieces Apart

Before frantically trying to pull apart your tangled jewelry, take a moment to assess the situation. Is this one necklace in a knot, several pieces that got all jumbled up, or a complete mystery altogether? Spend some time examining before diving in; one of the pitfalls of untangling jewelry is that you can make knots even tighter by accidentally pulling pieces the wrong way. 

Once you get familiar with the puzzle in front of you, start by gently separating any loose ends. If you have a pile of several types of jewelry, begin with any obvious pieces that you can dislodge from the tangle. For example, you might be able to extract an earring out of a pile of chains to create some space to pull everything else apart, or free a bangle from the clutches of some wound up necklaces. You might still have a bunch of knots, but you’ll probably be able to see where they are a lot better. 

Lay Your Jewelry on an Clean, Flat Surface

It will be much easier to begin untangling jewelry if you can see the individual pieces on a flat surface area. Lay out your jewelry on a clean working space, like a countertop, cutting board, or table. Trying to untangle jewelry while holding it in your hands can get too confusing, and gravity won’t necessarily be your friend. Make sure you have good lighting wherever you’re working so it’s easier to see what you’re dealing with.

Unclasp What You Can

Then, turn your attention to the bracelet or necklace chains involved in your tangle. These knots can be tricky, but they will be easier to work on if you can unclasp any chains. This makes each strand easier to deal with, and you should start to see where the knots begin and end.

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Use a Small, Pointy Tool

One of the biggest obstacles when trying to figure out how to untangle jewelry is that the pieces are really tiny and your fingers won’t be able to fit into some of the small, tight knots. A seam ripper or safety pin can be a helpful tool to assist you with difficult knots in chains. Slipping the sharp end of a tiny tool into the knots will give you some leverage and help to wiggle them free, but mind your fingers. You don’t want to end up with an injury on top of a pile of tangled jewelry. 

Avoid Using Any Oils or Soaps

You may have heard that rubbing jewelry in baby oil or soaking it in soapy water can help loosen and untangle knots. However, many soaps and oils have chemicals in them that can damage or tarnish your jewelry. Gemstones and precious metals can become discolored when they come in contact with certain chemicals, and strands of pearls are especially sensitive to exposure to water. It’s better not to take the risk; steer clear of anything that could damage your jewelry.

Be Patient

Untangling jewelry on your own isn’t necessarily a quick fix. It might take a long time to untangle all the knots, so don’t get discouraged if you’re at it for a while and nothing budges. Getting more frustrated might make you want to speed through, and the last thing you want is to make the knots even tighter and harder to untangle. Try to stay calm and patient, and take one piece at a time.

Call in the Pros

If these DIY tips just aren’t working or you simply don’t have the time to tackle the problem yourself, an expert jeweler can help you untangle your jewelry. Professional jewelers are used to working with small tools and delicate jewelry, and they have special equipment that can help sort out your jewelry mess. Calling in the professionals is always an option.

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Our team of experts at Quick Jewelry Repairs would love to give you a hand with that pesky tangle. Simply mail us your tangled jewelry, and we’ll get all the knots out so you can wear your favorite pieces again in no time. While we’re at it, make sure to find a good jewelry box or display case to make sure all your favorite pieces remain tangle-free next time!

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