How to Sell Estate Jewelry - 5 Points to Setting up the Price
The decision to sell antique jewelry is personal and outright complex. These pieces usually have some emotional attachment and may not be easy to relinquish. At times, you may be willing to offload a piece of jewelry but aren’t willing to list it on a public forum online.
Jewelry is usually a representation of achievement or a show of affection – like your graduation class ring, gold Rolex watch from your father, or grandma’s wedding ring. Although you may have convinced yourself that these pieces are invaluable, they aren’t. Some circumstances may find you wanting to sell your heirlooms and estate jewelry.
You can look at the various places that purchase jewelry to locate a potential buyer for your estate jewelry. However, getting the best value for your estate jewelry is a whole different ball game. Jewelry that was swanky 50 years ago may not receive the same traction today, significantly influencing the valuation and price of the piece.
Getting the best value from the estate is one of the hardest things to do when selling antique jewelry because the value fluctuates depending on the price of diamonds, platinum, and gold. Selling estate jewelry isn’t as easy as taking some photos and posting them online. If you want to get excellent value for your efforts, it's integral that you know and understand all the factors that affect the value and sale of antique jewelry.
Setting the Price
Here are a few factors to consider when setting an appropriate price for your estate jewelry.
Always approach the situation objectively from the buyer’s perspective. Will they be interested in wearing the jewelry? You can start by reviewing fashion magazines; most of them have posh antique and contemporary antique style jewelry. Beginning with this step will help you know whether the jewelry you have in your possession is in style or not. If so, putting it up for sale will be easier.
You should note that when you have some emotional attachment towards the piece of jewelry, it can affect the price you wish to sell it for, making it much more difficult to account for how much an impartial party would otherwise valuate it. Although the ‘vintage’ style is in right now, you should note that it’s up to a certain parameter. If the estate jewelry you have isn’t in fashion, it may be a prudent idea to put them up for sale for their gemstones or metal.
In a nutshell, jewelry that has been worn fewer times will sell more easily compared to jewelry that is damaged or has been worn repeatedly. Pieces with slight damages can be refurbished, which boosts the chances of selling. However, unfortunately, the costs of making significant repairs can usually be higher than the money you stand to get from selling said jewelry. Moreover, collectors don’t like going for refurbished pieces; thus, repairs can actually end up decreasing the jewelry’s value.
In the case of missing gemstones, you can restore the look of the piece by replacing the missing stones with authentic ones. When restored properly, the buyer will hardly notice any changes in the piece.
Get the Jewelry Appraised
If you only know the worth of the jewelry based on family history and research, it’s only logical that you get the jewelry appraised. You should bear in mind that doing an appraisal, particularly written ones, can be costly. Opting for The Gemological Institute of America or a high-end jewelry store to get your jewelry appraised can cost you hundreds of dollars.
When you do an appraisal for insurance reasons, you can expect the piece’s value to be higher than its market worth. When you decide on selling it, you can expect the piece to be less than half its stand-in value, which could be nearer to a tenth of the insurance value. You should note that individuals rarely want to pay the actual worth of a piece even if it’s valuable.
Appraisals conducted earlier can inform somebody what stones are used, the silver or platinum/gold content, and design together with age, excluding current value. It will be in your interest to record all your appraisals to keep track of the increase in value. A good principle to follow is counting on the value to double, which approximately happens after every seven years or so, depending on how the precious metal markets are performing.
Ensure the Jewelry is Cleaned & Polished
Make sure to give your jewelry a good cleanse. Unless you’ve been told otherwise by an appraiser or an antique collector, you should make a point of cleaning and polishing the jewelry to make it appear as attractive as possible. If you don’t know how to clean the jewelry, you can follow DIY techniques on the Internet. If you are unsure about yourself and are afraid about damaging it, you can have it cleaned by a jeweler. Still, you should be careful enlisting a jeweler for this task; if the stone comes with inclusions, cleaning with steam or a sonic machine could crush the stone, particularly diamonds, breaking it into small pieces.
To clean your jewelry safely, gently scrub with warm water and mild soap using a soft toothbrush. Toothpaste can be used on hard gemstones, but it tends to scratch gold and softer gemstones like opals. Even the toothbrush used to clean can create marks on soft stones and very smooth, high-quality gold jewelry.
Never utilize chlorine for cleaning gemstones or gold. You can safely use ammonia on hard gemstones, but it’s too coarse for most gemstones. If you don’t know what the stones are made out of, given how most of them look similar, like topaz and aquamarines, you can use dish soap with warm water and a soft cloth. From there, rinse properly. The safest method you can use to clean vintage jewelry is with a microfiber cloth with no liquids whatsoever.
Use the Karat Stamp to Gauge the Value of Gold
The karat stamp is used to measure the purity of gold. A 24-karat gold piece is classified as pure gold, and its worth will be the present running cost of gold per ounce, at a selling price that will always be greater. The majority of jewelry, particularly antique pieces, is only 9-karat, meaning that they have a purity of around 37.5%. Because of this, you’ll get at the very most 1/3 the cost of scrap gold.
Some ancient gold doesn’t have a karat stamp, so you may have to evaluate it to determine its purity. When a gold piece is worn frequently or is sized, the karat stamp may wear off or cut off, making it difficult to know the gold’s purity. Additionally, considering the tendency of some makers to mark gold incorrectly, you’ll want to subject the gold to a chemical test to ascertain its purity. Another method of testing the jewelry is by exposing it to a magnet. You’ll know it’s not actual gold if it sticks.
After establishing the best price to sell your estate jewelry, the next step is deciding where you want to sell it.
Choosing Where to Sell
Sell To a Jewelry Shop
Nearly any jewelry store in the business of buying or selling jewelry will be willing to buy yours, as long as it’s in good condition. The chances are that the jeweler will often pay you up to 40% of the up-to-date scrap price of the gold, and if the jewelry piece has been signed by a maker like Cartier or Tiffany, it will significantly raise the value and prestige of the piece. In most cases, an antique Tiffany box may be more sought-after than the actual piece inside. A jewelry shop is a great place to sell your estate jewelry because they are professionals and won’t attempt to lowball you after authenticating the piece.
List the Jewelry Online
List your jewelry collection on free online classifieds sites, an auction website, or a site that majors in the sale of antique or vintage goods. Ensure that you include lots of photos and mention any pertinent information relating to the jewelry. What’s more, when selling online, make sure to include a brief history of the piece to make it more interesting and enticing to prospective buyers. Additionally, sell your piece at a price equivalent to other identical pieces being sold. This way, you’ll not deter any would-be buyers because of the pricing.
If you’ve got a set of jewelry you wish to offload, you can create your own online shop. It’s easy to create and may prove to be advantageous if you’ve got a large stockpile of estate jewelry you want to sell on a long-term basis.
If you are in Seattle and want to get the best value out of your estate jewelry, you should think about getting in touch with Menashe & Sons Jewelers to assist you in this endeavor. They can even do onsite appraisals by a certified GIA gemologist.