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19 Jun

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Presenting Pre-Owned Jewellery for Sale

Caring for your jewellery is important in any sense. Whether you’re decluttering your collection, giving it away to someone beloved, or selling it to raise funds, keeping your used jewellery in the best possible condition is essential to finding a good buyer and showcasing its beauty.

Cleaning jewellery may seem challenging to some, but this is not true. The process is easy and hassle-free if you do it with due diligence and care. In fact, if you plan to sell your pre-owned jewellery, your pieces must look their absolute best.

Well, better safe than sorry rings true in this instance. Here, we’ll walk you through the essential steps that ensure your secondhand jewellery shines and attracts potential buyers.

FYI, different metals and stones need different forms of care. Therefore, whether you’ve silver or gold jewellery, diamond or other gemstones, it’s essential to understand the correct way of jewellery care.

How to clean Gold Jewellery?

Gold needs to be cleaned regularly. But how your gold ages depends on its purity and measure in carats. If you have 24ct gold jewellery, it means it is pure gold and not mixed with any other metals. Due to the gold’s purity, the jewellery won’t tarnish over time. But remember, the higher the purity, the softer the metal. So it will be more susceptible to scratches and marks.

18ct and 19ct gold jewellery are mixed with other metals and, hence, are more durable but more likely to tarnish.

Here’s how you can clean gold jewellery:

  • Bring a small bowl of warm water (not boiling) and mix the liquid detergent. Avoid using any abrasive material.
  • Soak your ornament in it for around 15-30 minutes.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to delicately cleanse your jewellery, ensuring you reach all intricate areas where dirt may have gathered.
  • If you spot any stubborn dirt, dampen a cotton bud with water and rub it on the area.
  • Thoroughly rinse the jewellery with warm running water and dry it with a soft cloth.

How to clean Silver Jewellery?

Sterling silver gets tarnished when exposed to sulphur in the surrounding atmosphere. This process is further accelerated by direct sunlight, high humidity and moisture. However, you can reduce the build-up tarnish of your silver jewellery by storing it in air-tight containers in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight.

Also, wearing your silver jewellery regularly will prevent tarnishing. So, go ahead and show it off often!

Here’s how you can clean your silver jewellery:

  • Use a specially formulated silver cleaning cloth to remove tarnish from the silver jewellery.
  • Avoid using any abrasive products that could scratch the metal surface.
  • Take washing liquid and warm water, and soak the silver jewellery in it for 10 minutes.
  • Next, clean it gently using a soft cloth or a cotton bud before rinsing it in clean water.
  • Dry it with a lint-free cloth.
  • Another method is mixing white vinegar with equally warm water to create a cleaning solution. For heavily tarnished silver jewellery, mix approximately 120ml of white vinegar with approximately 30g of baking soda to create foam and soak your pieces in it for an hour before thoroughly rinsing and drying them.
  • If your silver jewellery appears heavily tarnished, apply a paste by mixing approximately three parts baking soda with one part water until it forms a thick consistency.

How to clean Diamond Jewellery?

When cleaning your diamond jewellery, you need to be extra careful as you’re dealing with the hardest natural material. Grease and dust make diamonds appear dull, but wiping them with a damp cloth will prevent the accumulation of everyday dirt.

Here’s how you can clean your diamond jewellery:

  • Bring a bowl of warm water and washing up liquid.
  • Submerge the diamond jewellery in the mixture for around 15-30 minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to clean the diamond jewellery and try to reach the accessible places where dirt and grease accumulate.
  • When you rinse the piece with cool water and dry it with a lint-free cloth, your diamond will regain its original shine.
  • You can replicate this process for other precious gemstones like jade, opal and amethyst.

How to clean Fine Jewellery?

When it comes to fine jewellery, the more delicate the piece, the gentler you should be when cleaning it. With a soft touch and gentleness, you can easily clean the most delicate of pieces.

Here’s how you can clean delicate and fine jewellery:

  • Bring warm, soapy water and soak your jewellery in it.
  • Use a non-abrasive soft brush to clean it.
  • Rinse thoroughly and dry it with a lint-free cloth.

How to clean Pearl Jewellery?

Pearls draw moisture from the air, so they must be stored in a cool, dry environment. However, wearing pearl jewellery regularly will keep them in good shape, as exposure to the natural oils in our bodies helps them hydrate and maintain their natural lustre.

Here’s how you can clean pearl jewellery:

  • Wipe the pearls with a soft, damp cloth if they appear slightly dull.
  • If the pearls have developed a noticeable yellow tint, mix a small amount of mild soap with lukewarm water.
  • Do not use a vinegar solution, as the acid can damage the surface further. Also, don’t leave the pearls soaked in water for long, as the silk thread could be weakened.
  • Place the pearl jewellery into the bowl mixture for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how soiled the pearl is. Try swirling it occasionally to ensure all areas are washed.
  • Use a soft, clean toothbrush to gently brush off dirt and grime. Do it in breaks for optimum cleaning.
  • Once cleaned, lay the pearls on a soft, lint-free cloth and rinse with fresh, lukewarm water. Place the item in a clean bowl of water and use the toothbrush again to remove any remaining soap.
  • Finally, dry them naturally by laying the pearls on a towel or using a soft, absorbent cloth to carefully pat the pearl jewellery.
  • Never use chemicals, detergents, solvents, or abrasives to clean your pearl jewellery. Also, keep it free from sprays and cosmetics.

How to clean Vintage Jewellery?

Vintage jewellery holds sentimental value, and cleaning these treasured items requires a very gentle approach to maintaining their beauty and integrity. Before you start cleaning, check if the piece is particularly valuable or fragile. If yes, consider consulting a professional for advice or cleaning services.

Here’s how you can clean your vintage jewellery:

  • Clean the pieces with a mild soap and warm water.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away dirt from the intricate details of the jewellery.
  • For stubborn stains or tarnish on vintage jewellery, use some non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for vintage pieces, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Use a polishing cloth to remove the fingerprints or tarnish. Be careful not to rub too hard, as this can scratch the delicate surface of your vintage pieces.
  • Avoid using any abrasive cleaning agents or chemicals, as they can harm the delicate finish and the precious gemstones.
  • After thoroughly cleaning your jewellery, ensure it is completely dry before storing or wearing it to prevent moisture-related damage.

Please note— not all vintage jewellery can be cleaned in the same way, and some pieces may require extra care or professional cleaning. If you’re unsure about how to clean a specific type of vintage piece, it is best to turn to a professional who has the necessary expertise and tools to clean it.

How to clean Platinum Jewellery?

Platinum is especially durable and tougher than others, but it still needs to be cleaned to remove residue. Platinum can scratch, so you will need to be careful when cleaning the pieces. This is particularly important because once platinum gets scratched, the pieces of the metal get displaced, giving them a worn appearance.

Here’s how you can clean platinum jewellery:

  • Soak platinum in a solution of warm water and mild washing-up liquid for around 30 minutes. This will lift any built-up residue and debris from the jewellery, effortlessly restoring their lustre.
  • Once you’ve removed the pieces from the soapy solution, use a clean, soft toothbrush to polish them delicately.
  • Rinse the platinum jewellery in cold water and dry it using a lint-free cloth. Alternatively, you can leave your cleaned platinum pieces to air dry on top of the cloth.
  • Avoid exposing platinum to hand creams, hand washes, and general wear and tear, as these can dull its natural sheen.

9 Common Jewellery Cleaning Mistakes To Avoid

Cleaning jewellery is a delicate process that requires careful consideration to avoid damaging or deteriorating your precious pieces. It’s not about blindly following the first tip you come across on the net; instead, take the time to understand your piece’s specific needs and invest in careful maintenance.

Here are the 9 most common mistakes you must avoid when cleaning jewellery:

  1. Using toothpaste– cleaning your jewellery with toothpaste will do more harm than good. Toothpaste has abrasive properties that can scratch the gold and cause the stones to become loose.
  2. Soaking in lemon juice—lemon juice is acidic and abrasive, making it unsuitable for cleaning jewellery. The acidity can tarnish, discolour, and scratch your pieces, especially pearls, which may even disintegrate if soaked in lemon juice.
  3. Dipping in hot water—while warm water and steam are ideal for cleaning your jewellery, tossing the precious items in boiling hot water can weaken and misshape them.
  4. Using harsh chemicals—harsh chemicals like bleach, chlorine, vinegar, baking soda, ammonia, etc., can cause permanent damage and discolouration. They also erode the finish and polish of most gemstones. Also, avoid exposing them to sprays and lotions. These cause damage due to the oils and chemicals in them.
  5. Wearing it in the shower—wearing your precious pieces in the bath or shower will not let them get cleaned. While jewellery made of 14ct, steel, and titanium will survive, hard water damages soft jewellery. It is best to take off your jewellery before you shower.
  6. Improper storage – direct sunlight, damp environments, moisture, etc can lead to tarnishing, scratching or even tangling of the pieces. Use individual pouches or fabric-lined jewellery boxes to keep each piece.
  7. Scrubbing too hard—vigorous scrubbing with abrasive materials like rough cloths or hard-bristle brushes can scratch the metal surface and wear down gemstones. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and gentle motions to clean the jewellery.
  8. Not knowing your jewellery type – not all jewellery pieces have similar cleaning methods. So, if you don’t know the material of your jewellery, you can end up causing irreversible damage to it. When you purchase, ask the seller for the best cleaning solution.
  9. Skip professional cleaning – while regular cleaning at home is essential, professional maintenance ensures thorough repairs, inspections, and deep cleaning that will inevitably extend the life and beauty of your jewellery item.

How To Present Your Pre-Owned Jewellery for Sale?

A successful sale of pre-owned jewellery doesn’t only involve cleaning. It is a collective result of various factors. If you want to sell pre-owned jewellery, follow the steps below to attract potential buyers and achieve the best possible price for your treasured piece.

1. Get the right photographs

    The images of your jewellery play a crucial role in attracting buyers. High-quality images from various angles make the piece stand out. Here’s how you can capture the best images:

    • Use natural light and avoid harsh shadows or highlights. The light should be evenly distributed to highlight the details.
    • Choose a clean, uncluttered background like black, white or grey to make the jewellery standout.
    • To give buyers a comprehensive view, take multiple shots from different angles, including close-ups of the unique features and hallmarks.
    • Try using simple props to add elegance. However, avoid overly elaborate setups that might distract the buyer from the jewellery

    2. Write full descriptions

    A clear and detailed description of the jewellery item will help buyers understand their purchase. Consider including the following information:

    • Specify the type of metal, material and gemstone.
    • Provide measurements for necklaces, rings, bracelets and other items.
    • Be honest about the condition of your item, noting any wear.
    • If needed, include a brief history or provenance of the piece.
    • Mention certifications (if any) that verify the authenticity.

    3. Set a realistic price

    While jewellery holds immense value, setting the right price to entice buyers is important. Do some research to get an idea of your item’s market value. Factors such as brand, metal, condition and provenance impact the resale value of your pre-owned jewellery.

    If unsure, consult professionals to get a fair appraisal and set the price accordingly.

    4. Decide where to sell

    While the most convincing way to sell jewellery is by visiting a local jewellery shop, remember they might not be able to give you a decent deal. Therefore, instead of searching ‘sell pre-owned jewellery near me’, get in touch with professionals like Luxbrokers to sell your items. We have built trust in the industry with our accurate appraisals and fair methods and provide detailed information on the final price to avoid misunderstandings.

    You can also get a FREE quote by submitting the online form with details of your secondhand jewellery item.

    5. Pay attention to the packaging

    Jewellery items come with boxes and papers at the time of purchase. Collectors and buyers often consider the box and papers valuable as they ensure their authenticity. So, having these items can increase the price you get for your secondhand jewellery.

    If you have lost or misplaced the necessary paperwork, be open about it to the buyer. Consider giving the jewellery in a presentation box to create an identity for your jewellery.


    Selling pre-owned jewellery can be a rewarding experience, especially when you take the time to properly clean and present your pieces. Remember, little and often is the way to go when it comes to cleaning jewellery.

    Following the tips outlined in this blog, you can ensure that your pre-owned jewellery looks its best and attracts potential buyers. If you’re considering selling your pre-owned jewellery, Luxbrokers can help you secure the best price for it. Our in-house experts will be happy to offer FREE online and in-store appraisals. Call 0207 123 5081 for more information.

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