Spring Clean Your Jewelry Box (or sock drawer…)

Hey you! Yes, YOU!

The one who always wears the same earrings, necklace and rings because you haven’t looked at your jewelry stash in years. Perhaps you don’t have a special place for your baubles and they are scattered to the four winds, making it difficult to see what you have. Or, heaven help you, all of your jewelry is in a tangled mess at the bottom of your sock drawer!

Well, I’m here to tell you: Do not despair!


I’ve been encouraging clients to do this for years, and the results have been enlightening. People have found valuable objects they had forgotten all about, made money, and created stunning pieces using the gems and metal already at their disposal. Here is my simple guide for creating a jewelry oasis that you’ll look forward to visiting on a daily basis.

Step one: Take everything out and separate into four groups.

Group 1: Love it and wouldn’t change a thing.

Group 2: Love it, but needs some type of repair or cleaning to make the piece wearable again.

Group 3: Not crazy about it, but it has strong sentimental value.

Group 4: Will absolutely never wear it, and it does not have any intense emotional value.

Step two: Take action on each group.

Group 1 is easy, put those items back in your jewelry box now and remember why you bought them in the first place…

(Answer: to wear and enjoy!)

Group 2is fairly easy as well. Take those items to local jeweler with a great reputation for repair work (or, to yours truly, if we are near each other).

We always appreciate it if you make an appointment, especially if you have multiple items, and be prepared to spend a little time discussing the “care and feeding” of your jewels. Your jeweler will take photographs of the items and detailed notes of areas that show extreme wear or injury. Sometimes a quote can be obtained at that time, and other times discussions need to take place between the person taking in the repair and the jeweler who will be doing the work (if they aren’t one and the same). In a very competitive area like San Francisco, I find that prices tend to be fairly similar between jewelers, but be concerned if they are extremely low (or high). The old adage about getting what you pay for really is true in this case, and be especially careful and do your research if the piece is an antique or a family heirloom.

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Group 3 is trickier, and I’ll address that in detail in a future post.

Group 4 can be the most time-consuming, but the rewards for your effort can be both fun and extremely satisfying.

Take these items and give them the once (and twice) over. Next, write down the answers to the following questions:

  1. “What is it that I don’t like about this piece and why exactly don’t I like it?”
  2. “What parts of this piece can be repurposed into something I would like and wear?” (For example, a lovely gemstone, or a section of a fussy piece that can be turned into something new and less complex.)

Now the fun part really starts!

Make an appointment with a custom designer who is willing to work with your materials. If there is no seemingly redeeming value in an item, consider exchanging the metal for cash or store credit.  With everything else, you can enhance your wardrobe, and the environment, by turning those unwanted items into something beautiful that you will cherish for many years to come.

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