Things To Know Before Selling Your Estate Jewelry

If you have been left some estate jewelry, you may be wondering how to sell it for the best value. The following can help you get started.

Material Value

The value of estate jewelry may not be the jewelry itself, but the materials it is made of. The most obvious example is jewelry made of precious metals, such as gold and silver. If this is the case with your jewelry, then before you sell it is vital that you know the metal content (i.e., the gold carat) and the current value of that metal on the market.

There may also be value in the stones if any are present. The type of gem, its quality, and the cut of the gem can all impact value. You will need to get a gem grading report to be sure of the value of any gemstones in the piece.

Design Value

There are also instances where the design value of the piece far outweighs the value of the materials. This can apply to both jewelry made of precious metal as well as some costume jewelry. For example, some vintage and antique paste jewelry is just as valuable as modern gold jewelry, depending on the designer and condition. It is best to have a piece appraised separately from its material value if you believe the designer may add some value.

Further, certain items that go with the jewelry may increase value. This is especially true for vintage and antique pieces. If you have the original box or a designer card that accompanied the piece originally, then the value may be much higher compared to a similar piece without these extras.

Cleaning Methods

When prepping a piece for sale, be cautious. If the piece is modern or if you already know that the only value is in the materials, then cleaning it is the best option. Use a commercial jewelry cleaner made for the specific metals and stones used in your pieces. A soft cloth can be used to buff the jewelry so it shines without any fear of abrasions.

Antique and vintage pieces are trickier if they have values associated to their designs. Modern jewelry cleaners can damage some antique materials, particularly if they aren't made of precious metals. Further, the natural patina of age can add value to certain antique pieces, so you don't want to clean it away. Instead, use a polishing cloth to lightly buff off any dust, but avoid a deep cleaning unless you are advised to do so by your appraiser.

Contact an estate jewelry buyer for more advice.