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Gemstone Organization

I am trying to organize my workspace. I have gemstones in my
deskdrawer in random boxes and in my safe. So my question is how do
you organize your stones. I tried a plastic nut and bolt type storage
but one tip over was enough for me. On my bench seems destined for

I do not have the funds to purchase the little gem jars for every
moonstone and garnet cab let alone the rest. We are talking hundreds
of each type of stone. Loose is not acceptable due to chipping
etc. Right now they are baggied.

Any help?

Teri D. gearing up for Irish Time!
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

I use a mechanics roll away tool chest, such as Sears. There are
many compartments and its great. I am building a new shop and will
have 3 under my counter.

Thanks Eric

I use Ricker mounts. Those black shallow cardboard boxes that have
cotton and a glass lid. I use double sided sticky tape in strips to
set the stones on so they don’t slide around in the riker mount.
Dependindg on the size of the box and the stones you can get
hundreds in each mount. I have just reordered a few more from Rio (my
stones keep multiplying LOL I really do have a stone addiction) and
they were very resonable.


This might not work so well if you have a lot of pieces that are not

I was wondering if you might put cardboard inserts into a few large,
flat trays. A little dot of rubber cement could be used to hold down
each cab. When you’re ready to use the cab, I believe the rubber
cement will just rub right off. It would be really inspiring as well
to see all those cabs arranged against one solid background.

Kim Starbard

I do not have the funds to purchase the little gem jars for every
moonstone and garnet cab let alone the rest. We are talking

Well, that’s what I was going to suggest. I would buy those for some
of the nicer stones, and put the rest in papers, buy the papers and
the box that is just the right size, and file the stones by type.

American Science and Surplus,

often has specimen cases – these are black paper over cardboard
like jewelry trays, but filled with cotton-ish stuff and with a glass
lid. You can put cabs in the box. The box shuts with long long pins.


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I tried a plastic nut and bolt type storage but one tip over was
enough for me. On my bench seems destined for disaster. 

Beside my bench I have two of those white plastic laminate, pressed
wood stackable units (three approx. 12" x 10" openings) from Target
and I have my stones stored in those plastic nut & bolt units you
don’t like. I keep my stones in bags in each drawer. I have one
storage box for faceted, one for the jaspers and other cabs and one
for fossils with each drawer labeled. On the bags I mark vendor and
price so I can find the receipts easily in my the files. I stack two
of these white units and in the bottom one I have plastic storage
boxes with metals, tools, etc. Any valuable stones, I keep in a

Donna in VA

Try going to your local bead store. You should be able to fine white
bead holders. They have many slots in them and are about 11/2 inches.
They hold up to 50 smaller stones in each compartments and only cost
between $1.00 (at some dollar stores) to 5 dollars.


Diamond papers in a wallet or special box. You can get special
colored papers for opals (black) and emeralds (yellow). There are
even papers sold with cotton liners to add protection. Plenty of room
to write codes or descriptions on the front. Fits in safe, usually.

The only downside is when the papers are handled by people unfamiliar
with the folding sequence. Whooosh! 3 cts of melee on the floor!

Having said that, I realize that indeed most of my orphaned stones
are also in baggies and boxes scattered about the shop.

puts diamond papers on endless list of things to do I’ll take care
of that tomorrow, really, I will.

Inexpensive but bulky, Pill bottles and cotton wool. Add some 12 or
16 inch square by 2 inches high cardboard boxes to hold the
individual bottles and write on the lid of the pill bottle what is

If you don’t have a convenient relative who takes a lot on meds and
collects bottles ask your local pharmacist and buy a case from him.

A little more expensive would be Watchmaker’s Cases Look at,43326


LOL Neil I know the feeling just thought I am re-organizing my whole
setup may as well get it all done right! I forgot about the paper
makes it nie to write supplier and other details about the lot

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

I use a 3 ring binder with clear trading card pages. Each page has 9
compartments. I use one page for one particular stone. For instance,
I put all my carnelians in one page with a different size in each
compartment. I label the bags from the vendor with price etc and
just slip the bag in the compartment. It’s really easy then to flip
through my entire stone selection and I can leave it on or near my
bench for easy access and it only takes up the area of a 2 inch
binder. Store it standing up like you would a book shelf and there is
no pressure on the stones. Total cost: $3

I also store my wire the same way only using clear report pages. I
can quickly flip to what ever gauge I need. Also makes taking
inventory a quick chore.



often has specimen cases -- these are black paper over cardboard
like jewelry trays, but filled with cotton-ish stuff and with a
glass lid. 

Sounds like you are talking about Riker Mounts. There are many kinds
shapes and sizes of Riker Mounts. For a complete line…to to Graves also has a complete line of ‘gem boxes
or cans’ both with and without cases.

Yes…I work there…welll I did till I recently had an
operation…but should be back at work again in a few months.

Cheers from Don in SOFL.

For stone organization (and beads & other findings, for that matter)
I invested about $60 in four multi-drawer things at the KMart, the
kind meant for the woodshop. They each have 60 or so clear plastic
drawers. I have them stacked 2 on 2 on a work table (not my bench).
I also have a label maker (wonderful investment) & I labeled each of
the drawers with the various stones that are in each drawer, maybe
one to three types per. I also sorted them so the general colors are
together. Now, in a previous setup, I had just a few larger drawers,
and I actually made tiny little box bottoms from cardboard for each
of them so that I created my own little drawer divisions. I still
had them when I (happily!) switched to this current setup, & I use
them to divide up the plastic drawers. Meaning, in one 4-5" deep
drawer, for instance, I might have 2 little carboard “boxes”, one
with garnets & one with red tiger eye. As for the various stones in
the boxes, they sit all together with their brothers. They aren’t
jostled around, so it’s not a big deal. If I happend to buy
something that came in a little plastic gemstone box, then I’m likely
to leave it in that & put that in my plastic drawer with the other
stones of the same type. I hope that makes sense & perhaps helps.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

I think I shared this before but I forgot. I did email Teri off list
but it’s worth everyone else knowing about this as well. At, you can see these wonderful locking cases. Search
for locking organizers, canvas organizer, organizer.

I have a few of this type and there’s nothing like it. They are hard
plastic divided bins with curved bottoms so it’s easy to remove a
small stone without tweezers. Each compartment individually locks,
but it’s easy to unlatch. When you press on the spring lever, then
you can undo any compartment in the whole row. When you let go,
they’re all locked shut again except the one that you opened.

They are very convenient, space-saving, and cheap.


I hate the diamond envelopes with these thin tissue paper liners in
each. In my ealier days of learning this trade, I had to learn the
process of just opening up these lined paper bags from ‘hell’. Its a
horrid way to wrap up 750+ 1/2 pointers. Forget about those plastic
sealing types and when some folks FORGET to seal up the package
again. The problem is when the liner gets a little fold and some
little “iddy biddy diamond” hides inside this fold. Ever see

I had a shipment of 400 stones last week and this fellow ACTUALLY
FORGOT to properly seal up his plastic envelope. I was glad he put
the whole plastic in his paper, shop-order bag! Which was still
"unsealed"…duh? As for me, I put my plastic envelope INSIDE another
plastic sealing container, just for shipment across the factory shop.
You just can’t trust nature in these expensive situations…


Hi Teri,

I use baggies held in bunches with a giant paper clip, which are
stored in plastic drawer organizers. The baggies are 50x40mm zip
lock, and a drawer organizer contains 12 drawers each 70mm wide, 40
high and 140 deep. In my situation I store the common stones from 1mm
up to 6 or 10mm in 0.5mm increments, in various cuts for
run-of-the-mill repair jobs. I use the same system for findings. Each
bag is clearly labelled and contains 10 to 20 stones or findings.

The drawer labelled ‘Thai Garnet’ for example contains bunches of
bags, one bunch for round, one for oval etc. The bags in the bunch
are in the order of stone size, so when I want a 3mm round Thai
Garnet, I pull out the appropriate drawer, grab the ‘round’ bunch and
flip through to the 3mm bag, slip that bag out and select the stone.
The system only works if I return the bag to the correct place!

Create bunches in various ways as appropriate - Diamonds as single
or double cut, grade, and cut; less used semi-precious stones are all
in one bunch; and opals grouped by source, or the bags not bunched -
each is unique.

If you store larger quantities or bigger items, then the same system
can be scaled up using bigger bags, bulldog clips to hold them in
bunches, and bigger drawer organizers. Thinner bags take less space
than thick heavy duty ones, and I buy them by the thousand.

Cheers, Alastair

I have used plastic slide holders that hold one slide and then used a
3 ring binder page that holds the individual slide holders. You can
turn through the pages and see dozens of stones quickly.

Syd, Thanks to your suggestion a few weeks ago regarding the trading
card pages, I’ve reorganized my stones & findings and I’m quite
pleased! I had been using the 30-drawer (or so) nut & bolt things, 4
of them, to store all of my stones, beads, and some findings (the
rest of which were in little zippies all stuffed into various little
plastic boxes). I had the stones sorted into different drawers, or at
least in separate compartments in the drawers, all labeled on the
front, and then different shapes & such separated in the drawers with
little cardboard box halves. I could open the drawers & see each
stone easily, and they be taken out & put away very easily, but I did
miss the days when I didn’t have as many & I stored them each in
little zippies, clipped together on a large metal ring, and I could
peruse the stones, getting ideas by looking through them. With them
in the clear pages in the binders, I can once again peruse. :slight_smile: Also,
with my findings I really wasn’t happy having small drawers and boxes
stuffed with little zippies. They each had their own little box, but
the boxes were quite full, and I didn’t like having to look through
the bunches every time for just the size or shape I wanted. Now they
each have their own pocket in the sleeves in my “Findings” binder.
Soooo much better. The process cleared out two of my 4 multi-drawer
things & I was still able to spread out my beads into more different
drawers, making looking for them more user-friendly, too, and now I
only have two of them in use. Yes, I still have the multi-drawer
things for my beads.

OK, so even with all of this organizational wonder, I still have a
problem with it. I do store the binders up on end so that they are
easy to access, and there’s no weight potentially damaging things as
would be if they were stacked on their sides. Most of the stones just
go into the sleeve pockets just as they are, not in any sort of
baggie. Although, if I have a collection of 6mm round garnet cabs,
for instance, I will put them in a baggie and then put that into the
sleeve. For almost all of the stones, though, and the bigger they are
the worse it is, as I flip the pages, the turning action tends to
fling the stones out of their sleeves. It doesn’t seem to matter,
either, if I have 5 stones in a pocket or one. I know you said you
put each in a zippie, noting vendor info & such, do you find the
added bag helps them stay in their pockets? Though, I find even the
ones I do put into little zippies still want to fling out. I’ve
employed little strips of masking tape to at least mostly close off
each pocket, but it doesn’t always hold right - I wanted to use
something that wasn’t so tacky that it was hard to get into, or that
would gunk up the plastic, but maybe it’s not tacky enough. Do you
(or whoever else uses the binders with pocket sleeves to store stuff)
use something to effectively close the pockets, or do you not seem to
have a problem with them flinging out?


Designs by Lisa Gallagher


I use a similar system, except I use pages of slide
holders/protectors in a three ring binder instead of trading card
pages. I get the pages at a camera shop, and they are made to hold
standard size slides. They are smaller than trading card holders,
and the stones fit pretty snug.

I don’t think I’ve ever had any fling out. I usually do put the
stones in a ziploc first, then tuck the folded ziploc into the slide
pocket. I learned this from a stone vendor, though I think he used
pages of coin protectors, which are maybe a slight bit bigger than my
slide protectors.

Take care.
Nesheim Fuller Design


For heavier/larger stones, try a different style of page with deeper
compartments or one made from a stiffer plastic. I have also used
pages that held floppy discs. These were made from a more rigid
material and had a textured/pebbled surface. You might also check
out the pages found at a pro camera store.