Got some old jewelry lying around that you don’t wear anymore? Well, why not turn that bling into cha-ching!
Pawn shops are a quick and easy way to offload that old jewelry and get cash quick. But you want to get the most for that beautiful ring, or that nice watch.
So it’s time to clean! If you bring dirty jewelry in to pawn, you are not going to get as much value as they are worth. Not only do they not look good, but the pawn shop is going to have to spend time cleaning them up. They will transfer that loss of time to you buy not paying as well.
But cleaning your own jewelry isn’t all that hard. We compiled a few easy methods you can do at home to get your jewelry shining again. Read on to see how to clean jewelry, get that sparkle back and get the most out of your pawned jewelry!
How to Clean Jewelry: Before You Start
There are several factors to consider before you attempt to clean any piece of jewelry.
The first thing that you will need to consider is what the piece is made from. Different materials will interact with cleaners differently and what may be safe to use on one piece may damage another.
Another thing you want to consider is whether cleaning the item will add value to it. For the most part, if you are looking to pawn personal jewelry, giving it a good clean will make it look better and get you a better price.
For antique, vintage, and heirloom jewelry you may want to hold off. If the piece is particularly old, the natural patina that develops is actually more desirable to some collectors. Having an old piece show its age may not be a bad thing.
Method 1: Soap and Water
Use on: Gold, Silver, Hard Gemstones, Peals (See Note)
Do Not Use on: Soft Gemstones
Sometimes all you need to get your jewelry shining again is soap and water.
Fill a bowl with a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water. Place the item in the bowl and let it soak for fifteen minutes. You want to make sure not to let your jewelry soak too long as prolonged exposure to the soap could damage it.
Next, remove the item from the soak and give it a gentle scrub with a clean toothbrush. Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratching the item, especially with soft metals like gold.
For rings, focus on the area around the prongs and gemstones. Dirty diamonds can take on a yellowish hue, giving them the appearance of lesser quality diamonds. You’ll want to take care of that to get the best appraisal possible when looking to pawn.
You’ll also want to pay special attention to the inside of the band. Skin cells and hand lotion can build up and create a grimy film. This film can cover karat markings or other identifying marks, so make sure to clean the inside of the band well.
After scrubbing, rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.
For cleaning pearls, do not soak. You can use a solution of hot water and baby soap. The surface of pearls is very delicate and other soaps may be too harsh. Dab a soft cloth into the solution and then gently wipe the pearls clean.
Method 2: Ammonia
Use on: Gold, Silver
Do Not Use on: Opal, Porous Gemstones, Pearls
Ammonia can be used for soaking if soap and water doesn’t do the trick. Create a mixture of 1/2 cup clear ammonia and 1 cup warm water. Submerge your item in the mixture and let soak for ten minutes
After soaking, gently wipe the item with a soft cloth and let it dry.
Method 3: Salt and Aluminum Foil
Use on: Silver only
Now here’s a method for all the science geeks out there! This method will take advantage of the process of Ion Exchange to clean your jewelry. The aluminum foil will attract the grim and tarnish from the silver and collect it. This will leave your silver shiny and looking good.
Use aluminum foil to line the inside of a bowl. Fill the bowl with hot water and add a tablespoon of salt. Stir the water until the salt dissolves. Then place your silver jewelry in the bowl and let it soak for several minutes.
If your silver jewelry includes turquoise, don’t use this method. Turquoise is a very porous stone and will be damaged.
After the soak, remove the jewelry from the bowl. Use a soft cloth to wipe any remaining loose residue off and then dry the piece.
Method 4: Cleaning Machine
Use on: Gold, Silver
Do Not Use on: See Owner’s Manual
A cleaning machine can be an easy way to clean your jewelry. The downside is you have to pay for a dedicated machine. You can usually find them at drugstores. If you are unsure whether the item you want to clean would be safe in the machine you are looking at, refer to the owner’s manual or manufacturer.
Using these cleaners is fairly easy. Some use steam, while others may require a liquid jewelry cleaner. There are also ionic cleaners which use a similar process to the salt and aluminum foil.
Show Me the Money!
And there you have it, now you know how to clean jewelry. No matter which method you choose, cleaning your jewelry before pawning it can help you maximize its value and help you rake in the big bucks!
If you’ve got some stuff to sell, come and see us today!