Estate Jewelry – Pennies, Pounds or Dollars

Estate JewelryWe get people who come in here with bags full of jewelry that have been left behind by loved ones. Sometimes they have hung on to these pieces for years due to nostalgia and sometimes it was due to forgetfulness or pure laziness.  Sometimes people bring things in right away because they have a need that can only be met by liquidating these precious goods immediately.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes the jewelry to end up in one big pile on my desk, what does matter is that you can recognize whether what you have is vintage, retro or trash. I have so many people who are sure that their pile is worth millions, when the truth is, it might be worth pennies, pounds or even dollars. 

The Patina of Age

Just because a piece of jewelry looks old doesn’t mean it is an antique or worth money.  As a jewelry buyer, I have to be able to recognize the era of a piece, the value of a piece and the resale value of a piece.

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, Cashing In Your Jewelry, Heidi Mitchell wrote about how more women were turning their bling into cash. Of course, these are women with high-end bling. But, how do you know if your bling is high-end?

The High-End Test of Estate Jewelry

  1. Look for a brand name or a hallmark.  Take out a loupe, a magnifying glass or even go to your local jeweler and look around the clasp of your jewelry or along the inside surface and search for either a name or a hallmark.  Then get to researching on the internet for that name or hallmark. You might not only find out about the history, you might also even find the piece you own.
  2. The Karats.  The price of gold is on the rise, so if your piece is not a name brand, don’t despair.  Check to see if it is marked with 14 kt or 18 kt gold.  If the metal is gray, is it marked silver, 14 kt, 18 kt or platinum? Depending on the type of metal and how much the metal weighs in grams depends on the worth of the piece as well.  Remember, if you piece isn’t marked with a metal type, there is a test your jeweler can do to tell you if it is real gold or not.
  3. The Carats. What stones are in your piece? Are they real? What is the carat weight? This is where you might really need a jeweler to help you out.  Find someone you trust.  Oftentimes, the heirloom piece you have is worth more taken apart then as a bracelet,necklace or brooch.  If you are willing to sell it as a whole, don’t be surprised it afterwards the jewelry buyer will be taking it apart for resale.

Scrap the Trash?

What do you do if what you have ends up being scrap metal? Well, you obviously have a choice. You can sell it and treat yourself to a movie and some popcorn, keep it and wear it as costume jewelry or keep it and hand it down to your children as cherished family heirlooms.  After all, you can’t put a price tag on memories.

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Sergio About Sergio

Sergio Nuncio has been a diamond and watch buyer for over 20 years. He loves valuating fine estate jewelry, diamonds, watches and gold. When Sergio isn't working with diamonds, he is working on his salt water aquarium, fishing or spending time with his wife and children.

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