Wanting to sell estate jewelry - seeking advice

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I have a few jewelry pieces that I inherited several years ago. These are somewhat high value items.

Specifically, 1 custom diamond ring with a 1.96 carot center stone, a emerald ring with large center emerald, and a couple of modest diamond pendent & earring sets. These were all purchased at a local (now defunct) diamond/jewelry store. I have the original receipts & appraisal from time of purchase. The two rings were in the $7,000 range (1980's). That seller was a respected, long-time merchant (might have merged with Shane Co.?). Also have a never worn pearl necklace.

I realize used jewelry may not sell for the same as new (although I don't understand why it applies to stones). I'd like to sell it for a fair price but don't want to get fleeced. Also, I don't know if the market for loose diamonds would be better than for the whole ring when accounting for style or preferences.

Anyone know of a good way to sell these type things? I am not into jewelry and am basically in the dark on this subject.
 
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Jun 22, 2022
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Take it to a few independent jewelers to see what they will give. The amounts can vary widely.

Jewelry holds much more value to the owner than to the market unless has extrinsic value like being a designer item. Very much like used cars.
 
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Take into account jewelry usually has a huge markup. If a jewelry store can buy a pearl necklace from a distributor for $1400 and retail it for $3400, why would they even give you $1400? I'm guessing loose diamonds and gemstones have less of a markup because they are graded.
 
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Been thru this before, you won't be happy when you find out what they will offer you but if you are like me and have zero interest in jewelry then sell it.
 

Touring5

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Take into account jewelry usually has a huge markup. If a jewelry store can buy a pearl necklace from a distributor for $1400 and retail it for $3400, why would they even give you $1400? I'm guessing loose diamonds and gemstones have less of a markup because they are graded.
Yea, that's what I suspected about the loose stone route. When my mom purchase the diamond ring she told the salesman (who she had previous purchases from) what she was looking for and he brought out a tray of stones and then they made a ring with the one she chose.

I've seen some supposedly reputable places online that will appraise and make offers, but that ssems as dodgy/risky as going to a pawn shop.

I have a couple of places that I'll talk to nearby. I wonder if they ever do consignment deals?
 

Touring5

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Been thru this before, you won't be happy when you find out what they will offer you but if you are like me and have zero interest in jewelry then sell it.
Lol. Yeah, I just don't want to "bend over too far". Fortunately, I don't need the money, and am in no rush to sell. The items have been in the safe deposit box for almost 15 years.
 
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The Gold or platinum weight in the ring has easily determined value depending on 14/18 or 22k. The carat value is stamped or cast into the item proper and/or clasp.

Unless the ring is a fabulous piece of work, I would disassemble them and get the gold melt value from the rings then sell
the loose stones. The Emerald may have surprising value. If the Diamond is VS1 or VVS1 graded it may have good market value.
I wouldn't bother with the pendant or earrings other than that you could use them as a deal sweetner.

Note that ^ is a carot
 
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I know Sotheby's (sp?) has open house dates in NYC where you can bring items in for appraisal. Try that.
Any interesting piece could have auction value far above scrap value (a term I heard a jeweler use). Attend a few auctions?

Some travel to a larger city might be needed. I wouldn't go to some employee in a mall jewelry store. Their job is infecting teenagers' ear lobes with their piercing gun.
You mightn't be able to rush this intel gathering phase. The quicker you want rid of jewelry, the less you'll get.

Since you're on square one, see if any jewelry or fine watch websites appear to have real members...just to get your feet wet...just to hear some business' names. Get started & take notes.
I freely admit to knowing nothing about the business but I do know there are jokers ever so tangentially connected to the business who'll gladly puff out their chests. The children of a jeweler who weren't involved with the business -their dead parents' jewelry store had dolls in the window- were the most obnoxious.

I worked for a guy who worked a day job at a big casting shop on 47th St. (aka the Diamond District). The several questions I had regarding the few pieces I possessed, posed to people he introduced me to, didn't bring the sparkling conversation I wanted. My assortment of bling is so lowly, so run-of-the-mill, I figured there'd be no problem just sitting on it.

Also, I think estate jewelry is always used.

Don't post pictures of your pieces online unless you're certain location data isn't embedded into the picture's file. I hope I said that correctly.
I read an article about included info in picture files but I don't even know if that's true. Yes, misinformation and panic stuff gets published.

It's real good you're not in any rush.
 
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Get the jewelry appraised by either a Gemologist or , better still, a Graduate Gemologist (https://bit.ly/3vALMuY), not by any 'ol "appraiser. Most people do not realize that there is not formal licensing requirement for people to perform "appraisals", which is why so many jewelry stores have "appraisers". It's highly profitable, and there's no liability if they're so stupid they can't tell the difference between, for example, a tsavorite garnet and a real emerald with 3-phase inclusions.

The money you spend will make selling the jewelry mush easier. Both you and the potential buyer will know with absolute certainty what is being offered. The only remaining question is what you're willing to sell the articles for and what the buyer is willing to pay. The appraisals are also very helpful to the buyer because they can insure the articles for their actual, replacement value. Most homeowners insurance only pays up to $1,000-$1,500 to replace stolen jewelry, in my experience, unless you have a separate "rider" that covers the full, appraised value.

Ed
 
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Take into account jewelry usually has a huge markup. If a jewelry store can buy a pearl necklace from a distributor for $1400 and retail it for $3400, why would they even give you $1400? I'm guessing loose diamonds and gemstones have less of a markup because they are graded.
The common view among the public that there's a huge mark-up on jewelry is not accurate.

There's a common truism in the jewelry industry..the lower the quality, the higher the markup. Whether we're talking pearl strands or diamonds. A jeweler selling a high quality diamond, for example, might make a few hundred dollars on a 10K diamond. Since all jewelry can be accurately graded for quality by Independent Gemologists or Graduate Gemologists, it's relatively easy for the layman to compare apples to apples and let the lowest price win!

Ed
 
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My wife has a diamond/gold tennis bracelet from her previous marriage and we went to several we buy gold / pawn shops to see about selling it. It cost about $2000 new. The shops offered us $35. LOL.

We sold a lot of my wife's gold jewelry from her previous marriage and the jeweler gave us spot value for the gold but told us the markup on diamonds is astronomical. He told us, Do you know why they say diamonds are forever? Because once you learn how much you'll get trying to sell them to a jeweler, you'll say never mind and keep them.
 
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Pawn shops are the absolute worst place to take jewelry to sell. As a general rule of thumb, they'll give you a maximum of 10% of what they think they can quickly sell an item for to someone else.

Think about that. 10%.

Ed
 
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Fact. Generally people do not wear or buy jewellery like they did 40, 50, 60 years ago.
Any millennial would rather have the latest cell phone.

If you don't need the money just keep it for a future generation that MIGHT want it.
 

Touring5

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Get the jewelry appraised by either a Gemologist or , better still, a Graduate Gemologist (https://bit.ly/3vALMuY), not by any 'ol "appraiser. Most people do not realize that there is not formal licensing requirement for people to perform "appraisals", which is why so many jewelry stores have "appraisers". It's highly profitable, and there's no liability if they're so stupid they can't tell the difference between, for example, a tsavorite garnet and a real emerald with 3-phase inclusions.

The money you spend will make selling the jewelry mush easier. Both you and the potential buyer will know with absolute certainty what is being offered. The only remaining question is what you're willing to sell the articles for and what the buyer is willing to pay. The appraisals are also very helpful to the buyer because they can insure the articles for their actual, replacement value. Most homeowners insurance only pays up to $1,000-$1,500 to replace stolen jewelry, in my experience, unless you have a separate "rider" that covers the full, appraised value.

Ed
This sounds prudent.

When purchased, the broker provided their grading and value appraisal as well as photos and a recommended insurance value. The diamond is SI condition - so not perfect and is described as "fine" quality. All but the pearls came from the same reputable broker/jeweler (the pearls did come from a mall jeweler "Osterman" - she received them as a gift and never wore them).

I have a couple of starting places. One is a local family jewelry store that was outstanding for customer service. The owner removed a couple of links from my Omagamatic for free). Another is coin dealer I've sold a few gold coins to. He doesn't deal in jewelry but sees a lot of estate sellers so he may be able to give me some leads.

OT but I got rooked (almost) in a boiler room investment gem scam. I bought a ruby that was supposed to be investment grade. It came with a certificate from a phony GIAA outfit (using a slight variation on the name). Fortunately, there was a small jeweler that had just opened nearby, run by a guy from Sri Lanka - he took one look at it and said it was nowhere near the claimed quality. I returned it and got my money back before the operation disbanded. Oh to be in my 20's again ha!
 
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This sounds prudent.

When purchased, the broker provided their grading and value appraisal as well as photos and a recommended insurance value. The diamond is SI condition - so not perfect and is described as "fine" quality. All but the pearls came from the same reputable broker/jeweler (the pearls did come from a mall jeweler "Osterman" - she received them as a gift and never wore them).

I have a couple of starting places. One is a local family jewelry store that was outstanding for customer service. The owner removed a couple of links from my Omagamatic for free). Another is coin dealer I've sold a few gold coins to. He doesn't deal in jewelry but sees a lot of estate sellers so he may be able to give me some leads.

OT but I got rooked (almost) in a boiler room investment gem scam. I bought a ruby that was supposed to be investment grade. It came with a certificate from a phony GIAA outfit (using a slight variation on the name). Fortunately, there was a small jeweler that had just opened nearby, run by a guy from Sri Lanka - he took one look at it and said it was nowhere near the claimed quality. I returned it and got my money back before the operation disbanded. Oh to be in my 20's again ha!
"SI" is vague. From experience, SI1 is probably the most common grade with inclusions not visible to the naked eye. SI2 has inclusions not visible to the naked eye when viewing the stone from the top...but likely IS visible when viewed from the bottom. SI2 has inclusions that are starting to be large enough to impact the refraction and the optics of light of the stone and, therefore, affect it's beauty.

An independent appraisal from a credible source as I mentioned will give you the exact clarity (is it an SI1 or SI2?) of the stone as well as the proportions of the stone. The proportions of the stone are very important because they can tell someone, sight unseen, how beautiful the stone very likely is without even needing to see it! Diamond cutters have good days and bad days, like us all. I diamond that has been cut and polished with precision is beautiful.

Ed
 
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