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How And When To Sell Estate or Antique Jewelry?

by | Sep 28, 2020


If you’ve inherited or been given a fine piece of antique jewelry, you may be tempted to hold onto it to pass it on to a child or younger loved one. However, owning and not using these items can actually be more of a burden to you than getting the item valued and selling it for a fair price. With the proceeds, you can enjoy a life event that you ordinarily enjoy.


Estate Jewelry Inheritance Concerns

If you’ve been given a piece of jewelry that has long been valued by the family, you may get some pushback if it’s made known that you’re getting the piece appraised by a jeweler or by estate jewelry buyers. However, if the piece doesn’t suit your taste and your lifestyle, having it rattling around in a bank safe deposit box really doesn’t honor the person who gave it to you or the spirit in which it was given.

You were given that piece of jewelry for your enjoyment. Guilt over not using it as an accessory really doesn’t do much to add to your enjoyment, so stop thinking that you’ve become a caretaker to the piece. If you will never wear the item, find out where to sell estate jewelry, or at least take it to a local jeweler to get the piece appraised initially, and then make your decision.


Save the Memories, Not the Jewelry

Inherited Jewelry

In your search for the best way to sell inherited jewelry, you may find out that the piece is quite valuable. Should you find a buyer in the person of the appraising jeweler, get a written bid for the item and take it home so you can compare it to other similar items for sale.

Your jeweler may be entirely reputable, but they need to buy the item at a price that they can then mark up for sale. If you can sell the piece directly, you may make more money. You may also find that you can get more by breaking up the piece and selling the stones and metals separately, though there will be a fee for disassembly.


Catalogue with Care

Study the piece in-depth and look for a maker’s mark or designer’s stamp. To sell estate jewelry for the best profits, you’ll need some background on the piece. The maker’s mark may lead you to the designer, the year it was made or at least the year it was purchased. All of this data can add to the sale price.

Of course, the real prize for your potential buyer is if you have the receipt or the sale papers for the piece. However, that may have been lost over time. Carefully review any documentation you got with the piece, and any paperwork left by the person who left you the inheritance to see if there’s a way to trace the piece. The best way to sell jewelry, especially antique jewelry, is to learn the story of the object.


Get a Valuation for Unique Items

Estate Jewelry

The person who buys estate jewelry to wear really doesn’t care about what’s in style and what’s out. For this reason, you may find that a potential buyer for your more valuable pieces is also very interested in costume pieces from the period and in any unique items you may be interested in selling.

If you find a piece that has no mark and you have no documentation, there still may be estate jewelry buyers interested in the item. Take it to a jewelry designer or gemologist to make sure that you know what stones are included in the design and the approximate value of each stone without destroying the item.

Don’t forget to consider the current popularity of stones when looking at a whole piece. For example, Peridot is quite popular in single settings at this time, particularly in promise or engagement rings. A small Peridot in a bigger piece may actually be worth more when sold as a single stone.

Sometimes, the simplest way to sell estate jewelry is to have the piece remade to your liking and sell the remaining stones. You may only get enough from the sale to pay for the new design and creation, but if you can turn an inherited piece into a piece that you will wear and treasure, the spirit of the gift will live on and you’ll have an enjoyable reminder instead of a burden.


Beware of Fragile Pieces

If you decide to sell the piece, once you’ve found a person who buys estate jewelry, you may need to get it stabilized or repaired. Finding a jewelry repair professional can be tricky; not everyone who sells jewelry will be interested in repairing a piece you’re going to sell to someone else. Also, changing the piece may lower the value. Sometimes the best way to sell inherited jewelry is in the original state. If the jewelry needs to be cleaned, proceed with great care, and seek the help of an expert.

Make sure that you let the buyer know of any frailties you find in the piece. Offer to bag it before packaging it so any loose stones aren’t lost forever. The best way to sell jewelry to a collector of antiques may be to let them make any repairs once they have the piece in hand.



An antique piece of jewelry may not be to your taste, but you can turn it into something of value to you. If getting the piece remade isn’t practical, consider finding out where to sell estate jewelry and turn it into a trip or other memory. 

A gift from a loved one can also be turned into cash that you can use to reduce a burden or make a purchase that you can use for years to come. Once you inherit something, it’s yours to enjoy, not suffer under, so make the best out of that jewelry to best use for your life. 

Don’t worry about doing a great deal of research. Find a jeweler that you trust and get a valuation; if it appears fair, let them manage the piece and put the proceeds to the highest good for your future.





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