8 Ways to Clean Out Jewelry Clutter

I recommend looking through your jewelry once a year and pulling out pieces you no longer wear.  As a first step, take the time to clean the jewelry well; sometimes this will be enough to make you love it again (and if not, clean jewelry will help you with your next steps).  Consider why you don’t wear it, then take a look at the list below and take action. 

1. FIX it:
  For beaded jewelry, your local bead shop may have staff who offer repair services.  In addition, some bead shops have workshop hours when customers can do their own repairs using store tools and staff assistance.  I offer restringing services; contact me for more information. 

For gold, platinum, or silver jewelry, check with your local jewelry store.  Many stores offer on-site repairs  or send work out to a repair service.  Easy fixes include replacing clasps or re-soldering pieces together.  There is a “blue book” that provides guidance for pricing of jewelry repairs.  Not all jewelry stores use it, so be sure to get an estimate for any work you’d like done. 

Costume jewelry (plated or non-precious metals) may not be worth repairing unless it has strong sentimental value.

2. REDESIGN it:  Do you have heirloom or sentimental pieces that are not your style?  Jewelry that’s too long or too short?   Consider adding, replacing, or removing components to change the look to something you would enjoy wearing. A redesign may also offer the opportunity to make matching earrings or bracelets from leftover parts.  Again, your local bead shop or jewelry store would be a good place to start.  I am also happy to work with you to redesign beaded jewelry.

3. TRADE it:  Get your friends together for a jewelry party.  Everyone brings the jewelry they don’t wear and you can trade with each other.   

4. SELL it:  First, research the value of your items.  For fine jewelry, consider getting an  appraisal You can look at prices for similar jewelry on websites like eBay, but keep in mind “asking” prices may be higher than the actual sale price.  Remember that you’re selling your jewelry second-hand, not new, no matter what the condition of the piece is.

You can sell your jewelry on-line yourself (eBay or Craig’s List are some options) and there are also services that will sell your items on-line for you.  You will need good quality photos of each piece of jewelry.  Most services charge a fee either for listing an item or when the item is sold.  You may also incur mailing and insurance costs to ship the items.  If you’re selling person to person, be sure to consider your personal safety before meeting with potential buyers. 

Depending on the age and quality of the jewelry, you may be able to sell it to a business specializing in antique or estate jewelry, or to a pawn shop.  A buyer will inspect your jewelry and may test the metals and/or gems.  Keep in mind that the price they pay you must be low enough that they can resell the jewelry at a profit.  

5. CONSIGN it:  Consignment stores sell your jewelry for you at their location and keep a portion of the profit.  Check your local stores for what types of items they accept and their payment terms.

6. DONATE it:  Fine jewelry can be donated to a charity for fundraising or auction events.  Be sure to get an “appraisal for donation purposes” for tax purposes.  Costume jewelry can be donated to your local charity, thrift store, or school drama program.  Donations to qualified organizations may be tax deductible so request a receipt.

7. SCRAP it:  You can sell gold, silver, and platinum jewelry for its melt value.  When scrapping jewelry, diamonds may have limited resale value; most other gemstones generally don’t.   A reputable scrap buyer will make their offer based on a percentage of the “spot price” of the metal for that day.  It may be desirable to check offers from 2-3 businesses to see who is paying the highest rate.  Remember that precious metals used in jewelry are generally not pure (see my blog about gold here); you’ll only be compensated for the actual weight of the desired metal.

8. TRASH it:  If it’s not made of a precious metal, not repairable, and not appropriate for a donation, it may be time to toss it in the trash.

Fill your jewelry box with pieces you love and pass the rest along for someone else to enjoy! 

3 thoughts on “8 Ways to Clean Out Jewelry Clutter

  1. […] Some other considerations:* Whatever method you use, always be sure your jewelry is dry before placing it back into your jewelry box.* With any of these methods, if you’re not sure if it will damage your jewelry, either don’t do it or find a spot that won’t be seen to test before cleaning the entire piece. * Some jewelry may have been purposefully “blackened” to highlight a recessed design or for other artistic reasons. These items should be hand cleaned carefully so as not to remove the blackening agent. * It is a good idea to examine your jewelry for loose or damaged stones or settings before using ultrasonic or steam cleaners. The force of the steam or vibrations from the ultrasonic can occasionally knock stones out of their settings. * Fine gemstone jewelry should be taken to a jeweler once a year to have settings, such as prongs, inspected for damage or wear. Some jewelry stores may offer complementary jewelry cleaning for their customers. * For jewelry you no longer enjoy wearing, please read my blog “8 Ways to Clean Out Jewelry Clutter“. […]

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