Whether you are clearing out the estate of a loved one after they have passed or simply getting rid of items of value you no longer want, selling old jewelry may seem like a smart financial move. Estate jewelry may contain precious metals and stones, so you don't want to just sell it to the first bidder. The following tips can help you liquidate your estate jewelry.
Determine the true value
The true value of jewelry can often go beyond the content of the metal or the type of gems. Old and antique jewelry and jewelry made by certain designers may hold more value because of its specific design. This is especially true if you still have the papers from the jewelry to prove the designer. Other jewelry is considered to have basic or outdated designs, which means it may be worth more to sell it for its metal and gem content than to try and sell it as an unfashionable jewelry piece.
Don't split up sets
If you have jewelry that has value beyond the metal and gem content, don't split up the set. This means necklaces and earrings, for example, should be sold together. These vintage, antique, and designer sets are often valued more than as individual pieces. This is because it is more common for collectors to come across an individual piece. If you can keep the set together, you may be able to demand more for the items.
Pay for professional cleaning
Don't attempt to clean valuable jewelry yourself. Some antique items gain some of their value from their natural patina, which can easily be removed if you attempt to clean the jewelry with a home solution. Antique pieces may also have loose settings, softer stones, or thin plating, which can be damaged further if you try to clean it yourself. Instead, have the jewelry professionally cleaned before you try to sell it.
Get several appraisals
It's a good idea to have more than one professional appraisal performed, especially if you are dealing with an antique or vintage piece that had value beyond the metal, stones, or designer. Take the piece to an actual jeweler, preferably one that deals in items similar to yours, for the appraisal. Skip places like pawn shops because they tend to appraise mainly on the metal and stone content of jewelry.
For more help, consider contacting a jewelry brokerage like Jeffrey-Private Jeweler or an estate jeweler that has experience in valuing and selling specialty jewelry pieces.