Sell Estate Jewelry

The biggest problem with the decision to sell estate jewelry is the emotional wrench.  Other than that, it should be easy enough to sell it. There are several places where you can sell it, and no one place is going to be perfect for all circumstances.  Here are some things you should know about estate jewelry.

Estate jewelry vs. antique jewelry

Contrary to what some people think that estate jewelry is antique jewelry, but that is not the case. All antique jewelry are estate jewelry, but not all estate jewelry is antique jewelry. Estate jewelry refers to any pre-owned, or pre-loved if your prefer, jewelry. Antique jewelry has to be at least 70 years old. If you have something you want to sell that is less than that, then you are simply selling estate jewelry.

The value of estate jewelry

The value of estate jewelry depends on many factors. The major factors are the material, design, and brand. The value  for each of these factors fluctuate with time. Designs or brands that are in fashion, for instance, can fetch a higher price than when they are not. It also matters when the piece is a rare antique, even if it has low intrinsic value. Of course, the material such as the metal and the gemstones matters as well. When you decide to sell estate jewelry, you have to factor in all these considerations.

Gold jewelry

The most popular type of estate jewelry is gold, and fortunately determining the gold content of your estate jewelry can be quite simple. Most gold jewelry is made of a gold alloy, meaning it is a mix of gold and another metal. The addition of another metal is to counteract of the softness of pure gold, It is so soft that it can actually be molded by hand. You may have seen movies where people bite into gold coins before accepting it. This is to check if it is actually gold, because if it is, you will see the bite marks.

Most gold jewelry, therefore, is not pure gold. You can check what purity you have is by checking the marking. You may see something like 21K or 18K. This refers to the proportion of gold against other metals in the jewelry. Purity of gold is indicated with the unit “karat.” This is different from the unit used in measuring the weight of diamond, which is “carat.” Pure gold is 24 karats, or 24K. If the marking is 21K, then that means it is 21 parts gold and 3 parts other metal/s.

Checking the price

Once the fineness of the estate gold jewelry is determined, it is then weighed. The spot price of gold is expressed in troy ounces, which is a little over 31 grams (31.1034768, to be precise). The gold buyer will weigh your gold in grams or pennyweights, also called denarius weight or DWR,. One troy ounce is equal to 20 DWT. To find out the spot price for your scar gold, you need to do a little math. If your buyer weighs it in grams, the formula is as follows:

(Weight ÷ 24 x fineness (in karats)) X (Spot price (in troy ounce) ÷ 31.1034768)

For example, if you have estate jewelry with a fineness of 14K weighing 4.5 grams, and the published gold price is $1,200, this is what it will look like:

(4.5 ÷ 24 x 14) (1200 ÷ 31.1034768) = 2.625 x 38.38 = 101.27

The “101.27” is the total gold value of your item in US dollars, or $101.27. If the appraiser uses pennyweights., the formula becomes:

Weight ÷ 24 x fineness (in karats)) X (Spot price (in troy ounce) ÷ 20)

If we use the example above, 4.5 grams is equal to 2.89357 DWT. the calculation for the gold value goes thus:

(2.89357 ÷ 24 x 14) (1200 ÷ 20) = 1.6880 x 60 = 101.27

This might seem like a lot of trouble, but it is quite a simple process once you get used to it. It is important to know the value of your estate gold so you know if you are getting a good price or not.

Getting the right price

The gold value you get from the above calculations is just a baseline, however. Gold buyers will not buy your estate gold at that price because they still have to make a profit. Depending on where you sell, the price range can be from 70% to 95% of the spot price. Online auctions and mail order gold buyers may go as high as 95% of the spot price, but you will have to wait for a good buyer and to get your cash. Local jewelers and pawnshops will offer about 70% and may go up to 85% of the spot price, depending on what they intend to do with the gold. You will get a lower price, but it is often safer and quicker because they pay you on the spot. If you are in a hurry, or would rather not take a chance with a private or online buyer, local gold buyers are your best bet.

A matter of branding

Branded jewelry is becoming more popular nowadays, perhaps because there is some type of assurance of quality. If you have any branded estate jewelry for sale, but you aren’t sure what brand it is, you can easily check for the maker’s mark. High quality brands will certainly have these, and it will also include the fineness or purity (of gold, for example). Having the Cartier brand on the piece, for example, can double the value of your estate jewelry.

Damage effects

The condition of your estate jewelry can significantly affect its value, even if it is a nice antique. Inspect your jewelry closely before putting it up for sale.Solder marks, cracked or missing gemstones, broken links and clasps, dirt, dullness, tarnish, and other signs of wear and damage can considerably lower its value. In some instances, it may be worth it to have it repaired, but if the damage is extensive, it may not be. In that case, you may want to consider selling it for its melt and spare (for the gemstones) value.

Timing matters

If you have antique jewelry that is worth a lot of money, such as more than $10,000, you might want to sell it at an auction house or an online auction. You can get the best price that way, but it could take as long as 6 months before you see any money.  On the other hand, if you are in a bit of a rush, you should go to a local jeweler or pawnbroker that can give you cash on the spot. You won’t get top dollar, but you will get the money you need when you need it.  Pawnshops are also a good option if you are selling regular estate jewelry.