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How To Sell Jewelry to Estate Buyers

1. Before talking about how to sell jewelry, let’s define what estate jewelry is–since there is some confusion over this term. Estate jewelry is any used jewelry (i.e. previously owned). Antique jewelry, on the other hand, usually refers to any jewelry that is at least 70 years old.

2. As with any kind of used product, the value of your estate jewelry will be based largely on what kind of demand there is for it (along with the intrinsic value of the gemstones and precious metals used). To help gauge the demand for your estate jewelry, try looking it up on e-bay and note the number of similar items for sale, and what the auction prices are.

3. Identifying your estate jewelry might not be easy if it is antique, since many old jewelry makers did not use hallmarks: those marks that identify the maker. If you are having trouble identifying your estate jewelry, you likely will want to have it appraised if you think it is worth over $1000. Before doing so, please read our article on jewelry appraising and appraisers in San Diego.

4. Inspect your estate jewelry closely (under a magnifying glass if possible), and look for any solder marks. Any signs of solder marks in your estate jewelry will lower its value. Also look for any tiny cracks in the gemstones, which will also lower the piece’s value. Use a penlight also to help you spot hairline cracks.

5. Take note that a lot of Art Deco period jewelry contains synthetic stones, while much “Orient” jewelry from the ‘60s are reproductions of more valuable estate jewelry, with white gold sometimes being used instead of platinum. Natural gemstones are valued at prices many times higher than synthetic stones.

6. It is often more difficult to sell your estate bridal jewelry (especially used wedding bands) due to superstitious reasons, and the fear that they might carry bad luck.

7. If your estate jewelry is signed from a leading jewelry maker or brand, such as Cartier, George Jensen, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lalique, or Boucheron, this jewelry will likely be worth at least double that of a similar unsigned piece of estate jewelry.

8. While damaged or broken estate jewelry is usually not worth the restoration costs, (because the jewelry will just be melted down anyway), if your estate jewelry is from a leading, highly sought-after, brand, then restoration might be considered. Consult with a local San Diego jeweler who offers repair services.

9. If you are trying to sell estate jewelry via an online auction site or some other retail outlet, be sure to have it properly cleaned. If you are unsure at all about how to properly clean your estate jewelry, have a professional do it. It won’t cost much, and many San Diego jewelers offer cleaning as a free service to their established customers.

10. If your estate jewelry is rare and of very high value, you might consider selling it to a leading auction house, such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s. One drawback though is that you will often have to wait a few months before your estate jewelry gets put up for auction, which doesn’t help if you need cash now for your estate jewelry.

11. Finding another consumer in San Diego to buy your estate jewelry is usually the most profitable avenue to sell jewelry; but this often can be a time-consuming process. Before taking this avenue, you should put a price on what your time and energy is worth. Then evaluate if it makes sense to spend 10-20 hours or more, over several weeks, trying to find a buyer for your estate jewelry, just to make a little extra money over what a good jewelry buyer would offer you.

12. Protect yourself! If you sell jewelry to a stranger, never meet the potential jewelry buyer in your house. Meet the buyer in a public place, like a shopping mall or restaurant. Even better, meet at the potential buyer’s bank. That way, if the buyer is interested in your fine jewelry, they can get the cash right away, and you can complete the transaction in a safe, secure, environment.

14. If you need cash quick and go to sell jewelry at a San Diego pawn shop, keep in mind that the price you will be offered will likely be based only on the scrap metal price and the intrinsic value of the gemstone. For designer pieces, whose value is enhanced by style, brand, and craftsmanship, it is best to consult with a buyer, like San Diego Jewelry Buyers, which specializes in fine branded jewelry.

For more info on how to sell jewelry for cash today, contact San Diego Jewelry Buyers for a free, no hassle, appraisal.

We are San Diego’s trusted A+ BBB rated jewelry buyer and estate buyer.