Sylvia Sky, astrologer, Tarot reader, and gemstone enthusiast, is a widely published author of books and articles about spiritual matters.
Sort or Sell Your Precious Jewelry?
Aside from the mix of broken items and sound ones, and fine and costume pieces, your lifetime’s accumulation of random gemstones and metals have been operating all this time certainly at odds with each other if thrown all together in your jewelry box.
The “rule” for decluttering is that if you haven’t used it in the last six months, toss it; but that doesn’t allow for jewelry’s often sentimental value: “This was Mom’s cameo,” “I bought this charm the day I got my first paycheck,” and so on. Such decisions will be hard: sell, repair, distribute to heirs? Many a glamorous "cocktail" ring is tucked away because an elaborate setting makes wearing impractical except on rare “cocktail” occasions no one has anymore. Maybe we keep a jewelry gift, unworn, to remember that someone once cared to please us.
Often the point of jewelry is simply owning it rather than wearing it. Jewelry is extra hard to part with because you can sense that your jewelry has power. Certain pieces bestow confidence, others enhance beauty, others speak sass. Others--maybe not.
"But this was Mom's Cameo"
The Jewelry Clash
We won’t dictate what to throw away or sell—you decide. But we will suggest how to organize the jewelry box. Jewelry was conceived of—or invented itself—as a means of protection. Jewelry history began with the “amulet,” a symbolic stone guardian worn on the body to strengthen the spirit.
Your jewelry has bonded with you. Throwing mixed-up jewelry in a box is like having an army that can’t be mobilized. Instead, you are fighting with your jewelry, spending time un-knotting fine gold chains or feeling beneath the bureau for that earring, and so on. This cannot bring you joy, peace or clarity.
An organized jewelry box of pieces you love wearing is a very happy place.
Metals: Sorting and Judging Their Value
- First, both gold and silver will tarnish and demand maintenance. Generally a jewelry cloth will softly polish the gold (go gently; gold is easily bent or scratched) while tarnished silver pieces except those holding pearls, opals, turquoise, and amber can be dunked in a silver-cleaning solution. Are any of your pieces too much trouble to maintain? Set them aside.
- Divide gold from platinum, silver and copper. Why? First of all, silver and platinum and copper can scratch gold. Take care of gold by separating it from other metals in a jewelry-box section or its own satin or plastic bag. Second, these metals all vibrate very differently. Gold has an assertive vibration; silver has a supportive and seductive vibration. Platinum is for transcendence. Your intuition will help you choose if it’s a “gold” or “silver” day, but your choice will be easier if all of your options in that metal are in one place. Copper, when shiny, has a “wild one” “get the party started” vibration before it swiftly (maybe even while first wearing it!) turns greenish and requires a special chemical to restore it. When silver has its own sector in the jewelry box, it can be taken out and cleaned all at once and regularly.
- Not sure if it’s gold? Obtain a magnifying glass. Somewhere on every genuine gold item—whether yellow gold, white, or rose gold—is a stamped hallmark: “9K,” “10K,” “14K,” “18K” and “22K”. “K” means “karat." The higher the numeral, the more the percentage of gold in the item, and the more valuable. All gold meant to be worn is mixed with other metals, because pure gold is naturally soft: too soft to wear. It will bend. It will dent. Remember, gold is mined in pebbles and flakes! "Solid gold jewelry" is a myth.
- “EP” or any other “E” mark on a gold-tone piece means the piece is plated, and might look like gold or platinum, but the shine is a mere “watercolor wash,” thin as a bubble, and will soon wear off.
- “GF” means “gold filled.” This means the piece's core metal, often nickel, brass, silver, or a blend, is fused with a layer of genuine gold that is thicker than plating, but maybe still so thin that it can be eaten away by the acid of body oil. Gold from “GF” pieces can’t be salvaged or sold. True gold items will also be very heavy for their size. If in doubt, take the item to a jeweler and pay to have it tested.
- Don't keep unwanted jewelry just because it's gold. Scrap gold (broken or unwanted pieces), if it's genuine gold, can be sold for cash. You'll be paid by the gram—minus the weight of any gems. No one will pay for scrap silver unless there is at least a full pound of it.
The Organic Gems
- Pearls require care. Rolling around in the bottom of a box they’re probably gouging each other’s ethereally lovely faces and ruining their own value. Scratched or pitted pearls are not sellable. Pearls that are keepers should be cleaned with a soft and clean dry cloth (not a “jewelry cleaning” cloth, which can be abrasive). Pearls arrive in velvet- or satin-lined boxes for a reason. Keep good pearl necklaces in a box made for necklaces, and wear them often. Pearls want to be worn. Pearl earrings should have their own box or at least be mounted on their own card, and placed in a plastic bag. Are you vegan and believe pearls are murder? Throw them back into the ocean. Pearls yellowed with age or mistreatment cannot be bleached, so they have lost their value.
- Most pearls from the last 100 years are cultured, that is, the oysters were deliberately seeded and tended until they created pearls that were then harvested. You should be able to see yourself in a good pearl.
- Pearls do not increase in value. Some have rarity value, such as natural golden pearls or Tahitian pearls. Fine examples of those are out of most people's price range.
- Should you have old elephant ivory, wear it or give it away, but it is illegal to sell it unless you have documentation that proves it was harvested before the 1990 world ivory ban (1985 in the United States). Chances are very good that what looks like ivory is in fact man-made, or carved from bone or horn.
- Mother-of-pearl, cowrie or other shells, petrified wood, sharks’ teeth, coral branches, bones or horn are of low value. The only gem among these you should keep is angel-skin (light pink, opaque) coral, very rare except in antique pieces. Even in antique pieces, most angel-skin is glass. If the stone is set in genuine gold it might be real angel-skin. Pink coral marbled with white or with inclusions such as dark veins is not angel-skin coral. Look on eBay for pricing on genuine angel-skin coral set in genuine gold.
- Gemstones set in sterling silver are probably lab-created or not worth much, such as moonstone, blue topaz (which is white topaz irradiated until it turns blue), or “rubies” and “emeralds” so filled with inclusions they have no transparency. If your objective is to sort out what has genuine monetary value, the silver earrings set with fake blue opals, rainbow topaz, cubic zirconia or simulated rubies must go—as pretty as they are.
- Organize your gemstones into color families. Color has power, and color is usually what we hunt for as we accessorize with gems. It also keeps the jewelry box from inner chaos. The jewelry with green stones, for example, will all vibrate green and do it harmoniously.
- Clear, faceted gemstones often need only cleansing with warm water and a toothbrush to restore their original glitter. If they stay dull they have perhaps been damaged by soaps, hairspray, or detergents. Formerly bright stones that are now dull will not work for metaphysical purposes.
- Diamonds don’t appreciate. Live in the U.S.A.? Out of 10 random women at your grocery store, nine will be wearing diamonds, so diamonds do not have rarity value. A large diamond of absolutely excellent clarity and cut might be sold for what you paid for it; most others, such as those in engagement rings, no. A jeweler might accept them for either cash or jewelry-store credit. Have unused or heirloom diamond rings, never worn? Skip the safe-deposit box. Sell them or give the next generation those unused diamond rings before they get lost or stolen.
- Real sapphires of normal jewelry size aren't very valuable, but real rubies are.
- Opals and emeralds are brittle stones and absolutely need their own boxes. Jewelry bags are not sturdy enough to prevent these gems from injury.
Loose Stones and Odds & Ends
Gemstones you don’t care to wear or give away, or that are broken, can be pried from their settings and used for feng shui and meditation, placed in a charm bag, used for crafts, or be buried around the foundation of your dwelling to create a protective crystal grid. Or they can be returned to the Earth after being thanked for their service.
A properly organized jewelry box will hum, and you will be happy to open it and admire your collection of earth products as they were meant to be admired.
Bling is life and life is bling!
There is no such thing as owning too much jewelry—if it's organized.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Sylvia Sky
Sylvia Sky (author) from USA on April 29, 2021:
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on April 29, 2021:
Nice article. Well presented.