By Michelle Graff

Believe it or not, I didn't always love jewelry. My mother still thinks it's hilarious that I ended up a jewelry editor, since she could never get me to wear jewelry as a little girl. A true tomboy, I had an aversion to anything that involved pink, skirts, bows or baubles. What a difference 20 years makes!

Now I can't get enough of all things purple, and I love wardrobing my jewelry with my clothing. Sometimes, I confess, I even select my outfits to match my jewelry.

Since working at National Jeweler, I've amassed quite a jewelry collection, but I must admit that I was utterly embarrassed by the way I stored it. A half dozen assorted jewelry boxes and glass trays scattered across my bureau held the pieces that hadn't been tossed into various drawers or purses. I spent no less than 20 minutes each morning searching for the specific pieces, and another 10 untangling necklaces or digging for an earring's mate.

But no more. I received an extraordinary holiday present this weekend: a mammoth wooden jewelry box with felt-lined drawers and many hidden compartments. But the best part of the present was organizing my jewelry. As I found the right spot for each piece, grouping together similar jewelry into sections designated for hoop earrings, bangles, pendants and charms, I got to think about the circumstances in which I received it. From a "sweet 16" nameplate necklace to a pearl necklace received as an engagement gift, packing the jewelry box became a bauble-filled trip down memory lane.

I felt a surprising sense of pride and relief when I finished packing the jewelry box and could sit back and look at my jewelry displayed neatly and efficiently. In addition to ensuring the longevity of some of the more important pieces, the new arrangement allows for easy access while dressing (I picked out my jewelry in less than two minutes this morning). It also gives me ideas on how to round out my collection. Anyone know where I can get a few good chunky pendants?

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.