One piece of equipment which makes my life so much easier is my tumbler. I admit it's a luxury rather than a necessity but do I love the shine on my jewellery after it's been in there for an hour or two.
I'm not sure how much you'll be able to see in a very hurridly taken pics, but here is the "before" shot of that reef knot bangle I started many moons ago, and which has been sitting in my W.I.P mountain ever since....
I know it's tricky because the photos are taken in different light, but I assure you the difference in real life is HUGE.
My tumbler, my beautiful, lovely tumbler, which saves me HOURS of cleaning was a very cheapo one from Manchester Minerals.
(which is incidentally a fab site for lots of other bits and bobs.)
You basically get some stainless steel shot which is a variety of different shapes of stainless steel, put it in a plastic barrel and fill to two thirds full with water - add a squirt of washing up liquid and away you go. Yes I know you can use other shot, and I know you are recommended to buy fancy barreling soap and allsorts, but this does me just fine for now. The tumbler basically just rolls the mix round and round until the little bits of shot have cleaned up all the little corners of the jewellery.
Just be warned, the time saved in polishing and cleaning by hand can be spent trying to find your little shiney silver items amongst all the little shiney silvery coloured shot. I must admit I've had some recycled silver studs in there for over a week now, which I can't find - I need to seive it out and replace the water, but that can wait.