Lifestyle Organizing Thrifting & Vintage

Storage With Vintage Improved GEM Jars

April 29, 2019

I recently thrifted not one, but two vintage Improved GEM jars complete with their glass lids and zinc rings. The smaller jar still had its custom removable rubber seal in place and lucky for me, it’s still in great shape. I love it when this happens!

Glass Jars for Dry Food Storage

In my pantry you will find an assortment of thrifted glass jars used to store dry goods. In my earlier post I featured some of these jars filled with things like gourmet salts, different kinds of rice and other whole grains. With this newest 2-quart jar I knew right away it was the perfect size to hold our granola, and I couldn’t wait to fill it up! I like random jars in various shapes and sizes, so my pantry is not a perfect display where everything is lined up. Instead it’s a collection of mismatched jars, yet somehow they all seem to fit.

Vintage GEM canning jar filled with granola.

With the little half pint GEM jar I wasn’t 100% sure where I would use it, but was hoping our cinnamon sticks might fit. We don’t use a ton of cinnamon sticks throughout the year, so storing them in a well-sealed jar like this is definitely a plus. It helps keeps them fresher for longer.

Vintage GEM canning jar filled with cinnamon sticks.

GEM jars are airtight so they are also perfect for fridge and freezer storage. I currently have just these two GEMS, but if I had more I would definitely store raisins and nuts, and other bulk baking ingredients this way. You do have to be mindful with cold storage though. The ice cold temperature makes glass more brittle, so jars are more susceptible to cracks and chips. Don’t panic though, Improved GEMS are particularly tough!

Vintage GEM canning jars for kitchen pantry storage.

Eco-Friendly Uses for GEM Jars

GEM jars are an easy go-to for packing up leftovers. They are also great containers for ‘brown bag’ lunches, picnics and even taking some foods to potlucks. For sure, using a jar adds a little extra weight, but jars are the wash and wear, easy care eco-friendly choice. Jars nudge us to see our way clear of plastics and help reduce unnecessary waste.

Vintage GEM canning jars designed to last.

By converting our storage habits to GEM jars and other jar types, we are doing our part, at least we are taking a step, towards saving our planet. We also have a standing case for the ‘need’ to swing by the thrifts! Don’t you agree?

Brief History of Improved GEM Jars

With all my enthusiasm about Improved GEM jars, I thought you might like a little of their back story. These jars were produced in Canada in the late 1920’s and 1930’s by Dominion Glass. In fact, GEM jars were only ever made in Canada. Did you know that? If you look closely you will notice a ‘D’ inside the diamond in the center of each glass lid. This is the maker’s mark for Dominion Glass.

Vintage GEM Jar Glass Lids Zinc Rings

I came across an in-depth article by George L. Miller and Elizabeth A. Jorgensen explaining some of the markings on Dominion Glass and what they likely mean. The article, Some Notes on Bottle Mould Numbers from the Dominion Glass Company and its Predecessors, is lengthy but contains some good stuff!

Did you know that bottles and jars are often marked with their mould number, but many people mistake these numbers for the year they were made instead? If you read the article you will learn more about how all this actually works.

So how many of you use glass jars for storage? What kind of jars do you use, what do you store in them, and do you have any GEM jars in the mix?

Thanks for stopping by!

Audrey Would Vintage Home blog

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Photographs © Audrey Would! Vintage Home unless otherwise indicated.

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