What to do with old jewellery

Personal belongings tend to pile up without us even noticing it. Clothes, accessories, technology, memorabilia and all sorts of other items fill cupboards, wardrobes and drawers until we realise that enough is enough.

Some of this stuff may actually be worth a fair bit of change or perhaps it would be of greater value to someone else. Jewellery is a good example because it can often have a respectable resale value or practical value for someone else. If you’ve got old jewellery lying around that you don’t know what to do with, here are some options for you to consider.

woman wearing vintage jewellery
Exchanging jewellery with friends can be a great way to repurpose old jewellery

Give to friends or exchange

The most convenient option in many cases is to give your old or unwanted jewellery away to friends or family who may make better use of them. This could be as a gift or just as an act of kindness, either way, it’s a nice way to avoid beautiful jewellery going to waste.

You could even exchange items with your friends if they have unwanted accessories themselves – this would be a good way to mix up your style and outfits without spending money as well as a great way to repurpose vintage jewellery that might not suit your style.

Keep for an investment

Gold and silver values are on the increase, so even if you are not a fan of the designs, you might have a great investment piece on your hands if it’s made from solid precious metal.


If you’re a fan of supporting worthy causes, you could always donate your unwanted jewellery to charity or any non-profit organisation. This is a quick and effective method if your items aren’t that valuable or you’re not bothered about earning some money back. Pick a cause that’s close to your heart and support them with a charitable donation.

Recycle or upcycle

Another option that has grown in popularity in recent years is recycling or upcycling old jewellery. This is a desirable method for the sustainably-minded out there because old metal can be smelted down and shaped into new jewellery items or something completely different.

Reducing the demand for new jewellery is a sustainable approach environmentally and morally because mining operations can have detrimental impacts on environments and communities around the world. You may even be able to earn some cash for your old jewellery but probably at scrap value if your items aren’t valuable as they are.

selling old jewellery for cash
Selling unwanted jewellery can be a great way to get some extra cash


Finally, the option that many will prefer when it comes to getting rid of old items is selling. It’s a good way to boost your income or help to afford new items that you can add to your collection.

Firstly, it’s important to know the precious metals used to establish value. There are ways to tell if something is sterling silver or silver-plated, and the same for gold. Costume jewellery is not worth a lot as it is not solid metal, but you need to know that is the case before giving it away or selling it. You can get a few independent quotes if you are unsure but sterling silver and gold are worth good money, same for precious gemstones and not imitations.

The key fact is valuable jewellery items could fetch a substantial amount, but any money is a bonus if they are accessories that you don’t wear anyway, and this applies to unworn engagement rings with no sentimental value.

getting valuation on old gold jewellery
You should get old jewellery valued to ensure you don’t give away anything valuable

There are a few sub options:


Pawning jewellery is a good way to get cash in hand quickly, whether you need it as a loan or just to sell your item. Pawnbrokers give online quotes these days meaning that you’ll know roughly how much you’ll get before you send it off.


If your jewellery is very valuable you may want to send it to auction to let buyers bid on the item. You may be able to get more or less, but remember that you will normally have to pay auction fees.


Alternatively, you could try to sell your unwanted jewellery on online platforms such as eBay, Gumtree or Vinted. Here, you can set the asking price and control the sale from end to end which you may prefer.

Sell as scrap metal

If you have broken jewellery like snapped chains or odd earrings then it might be worth selling to scrap merchants who deal in precious metals or to jewellery makers who will melt down and repurpose as a new piece.