Let’s say you are tired of the same old jewelry or you have some pieces you never did like, or you have inherited old jewelry. How can you sell them and how much money can you get for them?
Well, it depends. If you happen to have some antique jewelry, made before you were born, then you will want to consult an antique dealer or a knowledgeable jewelry store owner to arrive at a value, or you may want to hire an appraiser, depending on the piece.
If your jewelry was purchased, say in the 50s or 60s, it may be classified as “vintage”, which can also command a better-than-average price. Otherwise, if you are looking at modern costume jewelry, it’s probably going to bring a “scrap” price, so be prepared to receive twenty cents on the dollar, or less, for it.
As you can imagine, a lot goes into pricing antique and vintage jewelry, and there are several types of appraisals, depending on your purpose. For your information, you will want to ask the appraiser for a “fair market appraisal”, aka “resale appraisal”, which is usually thought of as the price a knowledgeable and willing buyer would pay to a knowledgeable and willing seller for the piece.
For reference, the other types of appraisals are
- Estate Appraisal – Fair market value is also used for this type of appraisal. Usually it is jewelry owned by a person who has passed away, but it could also be owned by a living person who is downsizing. It can be used for the purpose of division of assets to heirs as well.
- Resale Appraisal - Fair market value is used in this type of appraisal, also. The number of pieces is probably considerably smaller than would be found in an estate.
- Charitable Contribution Appraisal – Fair market value would be used for this purpose.
- Retail Replacement Appraisal – This type of appraisal is used when a replacement is needed. The value would be how much money is required to replace the piece and would depend on the history of ownership (called “provenance”} and the quality as well as condition of the item.
- Insurance Appraisal – This appraisal would use the retail replacement method.
- Collateral Appraisal – How much is the piece worth to a bank willing to make a loan on it.
- Damage Appraisal – This type of appraisal is used by insurance adjusters for a lost, stolen or damaged article. The original value must be established as well as the current value.
Hiring an appraiser is serious business, and you will want to make sure the person has Errors and Omissions insurance and has the proper credentials to do the type of appraisal you are seeking. You will also want to ask the appraiser’s fee, as it may vary as much as $50 per hour to as much as $400 per hour. Jeweler may be able to recommend a reputable appraiser. Alternatively you can go online to the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers to obtain the name of one near you.
A proper appraisal will include all the known and relevant facts, such as grade, weight, measurements, materials used, any special treatments, etc.
How Much Money You Should Expect
So, the price you will receive for your jewelry is complicated. The piece was probably originally purchased at a retail jewelry store, let’s say, and the store has a lot of overhead: rent, utilities, employee pay, etc. So the price paid originally had to be inflated to take all that into account. Now you are just valuing the piece of jewelry itself. So right away, you can see it’s probably worth at the most half of what was originally paid, due to the markup factor.
Where You Should Sell Your Jewelry
Start with your local jeweler. They may be interested. You can also check online at Ebay and Craigslist for similar pieces, or just list your appraised piece there. Antique dealers may be interested as well. Just shop around and you will find the best price. Pawn shops also buy used jewelry, but the money you receive will not be as much as at the above-mentioned places.
Lastly, if you have an extraordinary piece of jewelry, you might contact a reputable auction house or an online one. You are the one who has to be satisfied in the final analysis, so don’t be afraid to take your time and look for the best price.