Upconversion materials, capable of energy-shifting light, have direct application in devices where the tunability of the optical spectrum can result in higher performance. Due to the low transparency of upconversion nanomaterials, it is beneficial to disperse them in a medium with a low optical attenuation coefficient in order to allow light to reach and increase the contributions from each individual particle. Silica aerogels, with their high transparency and open porosity, are ideal media for the dispersion of the nanomaterials throughout a volume. NaYF4–based nanocrystals with differing dopants were incor-porated into silica xerogels and aerogels to observe the effect of the composites on the properties of each. It was observed that, while the average surface area of the aerogel decreased in the composite, the shape and phase of the nanocrystals were preserved during xerogel processing. The luminescence of the nanoparticles increased upon incorporation into the xerogel composites. By accounting for effects emerging from collection geometry and the composite morphology, it is argued that the increase in the composite luminescent intensity is due to the nanoparticles being shielded from quenching effects by the silica matrix.