What to do with old jewelry? Here are 9 options

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What do you have in your jewelry box?

A diamond engagement ring from a divorce?

Gold jewelry — like a broken gold chain or necklace from high school?

Silver jewelry you never wear?

Estate or antique jewelry that is sentimental but unworn?

Diamond jewelry — like a tennis bracelet or stud earrings that frankly, were never your style?

Good news is you you have many quality options for your old jewelry — including selling it for immediate cash to a reputable buyer. 

We recommend online marketplace Worthy.com for any items worth $1,000+ or CashforGoldUSA.com for all other gold and silver jewelry. More on why later.

Here are ways you can get rid of your old jewelry:

1. Sell your old jewelry.

Our No. 1 recommendation for selling your diamond jewelry and high-end jewelry from a brand like Cartier and Tiffany, or a luxury watch from a brand like Rolex is online site Worthy.com, which has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, insures your item up to $100,000, and will give you an immediate estimate using its interactive tool. Worthy is best if your jewelry is worth at least $1,000.

If you need cash fast and you don't think your jewelry is worth at least $1,000, then use CashforGoldUSA, which has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, pays within 24 hours, and was found by a Fox Business News investigation to pay three times its competitors, and buys a wide variety of jewelry, gold, silverware, gemstones and coins.

Learn about all the best places to sell your jewelry online.

2. Recycle unwanted jewelry.

Gold and silver buyers ultimately recycle your fine jewelry, smelting it down into bars, bullion, coins that can then be turned into other jewelry, electronic components or other uses. This is good for the environment, as metals and gemstone mining and processing is extremely toxic to the environment.

3. Pawn jewelry.

You may consider pawning your jewelry to a pawn shop near you, although it may be better to sell your jewelry online. Online gold buyers may pay more, and be easier to work with. Here is what you need to know about pawning jewelry:

How much do you get for pawning jewelry?

As with other items sold to pawn shops, you will get 25% to 60% of the retail value of your item from the pawnbroker. This may be tempting if you really, really need the money very quickly, but there are other ways to get a much higher return on your jewelry — which is likely one of the most valuable things you own.

CashforGoldUSA buys all kinds of gold and silver jewelry (including broken jewelry), as well as diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry — and they pay within 24 hours of receiving your item.

Is it better to pawn jewelry or sell it?

Pawning jewelry will get you quick cash. But spending just a little more time, and adding a few more days to the process, will likely earn you more money for your jewelry at an online gold buyer

4. Consign it. 

Jewelry stores and antique shops both may purchase your estate and vintage jewelry — either for a flat rate or on a consignment agreement.

Consignment shops typically accept an item for consignment and then pay the original seller a percentage of the sales price if and when the item sells. 

Expect consigning your jewelry to take longer than pawning and direct sales or online sales, and consignment stories typical do not net higher profits for the seller.

5. Auction it.

While some auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's cater exclusively to the wealthy looking to buy and sell items worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, the truth is that online jewelry auctions are much more accessible than you might think. Some, like Worthy.com, will accept and list pieces of jewelry valued at at least $1,000—which would account for many engagement rings and other jewelry.

What you need to know about thrift stores

6. Repurpose it.

If you have a diamond engagement ring from a past relationship, you may consider repurposing the stones into a necklace, earrings or other piece. Some people then have the gold or platinum setting melted down for the new setting — or simply sell it for scrap.

Keep in mind that even with a new outfit, that diamond will still remind you of your ex. Just sayin'.

7. Give it away. 

If you feel the need to cleanse your jewelry box or otherwise put your unused, old jewelry to good use, give it away:

  • To your loved one who may appreciate its vintage — such as a relative who also knew the person from whom you inherited your pearls.
  • Your kids may want your old engagement ring — but probably not. They may feel more warmly about other jewelry from your ex?

If you’re looking to get rid of your old jewelry quickly just for the sake of clearing it out — or if you want to make a charitable contribution — there are several places you can donate it. 

  • To a charity auction
  • To a thrift store
  • Nonprofits like Dress for Success, I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation, or Support Our Troops
  • Post it for free on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace

9. Trade your old jewelry in on a new piece.

Most jewelry stores will allow you to trade in your old jewelry for an upgraded piece. You’ll just have to pay the difference in price between the two. 

A lot of stores will offer you a higher trade-in value than cash value as an incentive to buy something new (similar to the way car dealerships entice you with a high trade-in value so you’ll purchase a new car from their lot).

FAQs about what to do with old jewelry

What can I do with cheap jewelry I don't want?

If your jewelry is made of any precious metals or gemstones, you can sell it to a jeweler, gold or silver buyer or pawnshop. Some high-end costume jewelry may have resale value on ebay or at a local antique or consignment shop. 

However, if your costume jewelry doesn’t have a high value, you can donate it to a nonprofit or charity auction. You can also give it away to someone you know or post it for free or low price on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace — or let a child in your life use it for dress-up.

How do you dispose of old costume jewelry? 

If your jewelry has any gold or sterling silver beads or a clasp, you can sell it to a buyer like CashforGoldUSA, which partners with a refinery that will smelt it down into bars, bullion and coins that can be turned into other jewelry, electronic components or other items.

If your jewelry doesn’t contain precious metals but is still in good shape, you can donate it to a thrift shop or charitable organization. 

Can you get money for old jewelry?

There are a lot of ways to get money for your old jewelry. Estate jewelry can be sold to an antique buyer, consignment shop, pawnbroker or online via a site like Etsy. Or you can sell your old gold, silver or gemstone jewelry to an online jewelry or gold buyer. 

You can sell your gold, silver, platinum, gemstone and diamond jewelry to CashforGoldUSA, which our investigation found to pay the most of its competitors for jewelry. Get a free quote, 10% bonus and 24 hr. payment now >>

How do you know old jewelry is valuable?

Get your jewelry appraised or your diamond appraised to understand what you have and how much it's worth. A visit to a local jeweler can give you an idea of what you own, as will this online gold calculator from CashforGoldUSA.

What do you do with old jewelry you don't want?

Good news is you you have many quality options for your old jewelry: selling jewelry for cash, auctioning it, consigning it, pawning it, recycling it, repurposing, or giving it away.

Can you get money for old jewelry?

There are a lot of ways to get money for your old jewelry. Estate jewelry can be sold to an antique buyer, consignment shop, pawnbroker or online via a site like Etsy. Or you can sell your old gold, silver or gemstone jewelry to an online jewelry or gold buyer.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

One Comment

thank you for all the great information. with everything that’s going on i thought it best to sell my gold jewelry that I’m not wearing rather than saving it for my kids or their kids. who knows what will happen down the road. i have broken chains, gold with diamond stud earrings, some other gold earrings etc.. hope to sell without getting ripped off..
so.. thank you

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