Understanding Estate Jewelry Sales

Do you have jewelry that you no longer wear? Then you may be thinking of selling some. Before jumping in, there are a few things to know to help set your expectations and make the best decision for you. Here are a few helpful points:

Jewelry that has a previous owner is called estate jewelry. Like any item that is previously owned or used, estate jewelry (with a few exceptions) will not sell for what a new piece would. There are many factors that impact the value of a piece of jewelry and what you might be offered for it:

  • Age: Jewelry is considered vintage if it is between 50 and 100 years old and antique if it is more than 100 years old. Antique jewelry is often worth more than vintage base on its superior quality of craftmanship.
  • Condition: The condition of your jewelry has significant impact on the price that will be offered. Factors like wear and tear, needed repairs and quality of the gems and materials will be assessed.
  • Brand: Some luxury brands hold value better and may fetch a better price.
  • Market Value: Jewelry that is in style is more desirable to consumers and will have a higher resale value.
  • Materials: Potential buyers will assess the materials used, precious metals and gemstones (including carat weight and quality of the gems).

So where does this leave the seller in terms of what is realistic for the price you may be offered? You should assume that you will be offered 10-30% of the original purchase price, depending on all the factors above. Before you begin the sales process, you should consider what you would accept for resale value.

Understanding what factors into the price offered for estate jewelry is the first step in the process. If you decide to go to an estate sale, have your jewelry professionally cleaned beforehand and go to a jeweler you trust. Stop by Bridgewaters to ask any questions or have your estate jewelry appraised.