What To Know About Buying/Selling Estate Jewelry January 22, 2020 12:24
Selling Your Estate Jewelry
The first thing we tell anyone who inherits jewelry - be it a little or a lot - DO NOT TOSS ANYTHING OUT! We have seen too many instances where people mistake the real thing for costume jewelry and vice versa. Take all the items to a trusted professional with experience, test equipment and a solid reputation. Let them tell you what you have.
The second most important thing to know is that generally speaking, Estate jewelry is like any other used item - it is not going to sell for the replacement cost or any where near the cost of a new piece. There ARE exceptions, but a general rule of thumb for a sales price if the item is in good, very good or excellent condition is 50% of the cost of a similar new item.
Exceptions might include Rolex watches, designer pieces, collectible items - signed pieces, etc.
A popular misconception is that diamonds and diamond jewelry appreciate in value. Some of this is because of misunderstanding appraisal value. For example, say I do an appraisal on a 1.00 ct G color SI1 clarity round diamond mounted in a 14kt white gold solitaire for someone today. I might advise them to insure the ring for $6,700.00 as a replacement value. Should Ms X pass away tomorrow, will her family be able to sell the diamond ring for $6,700? NO, not even close. I am advising them with the appraisal that in my professional opinion based on 23 years in the business that if they lost the ring, $6,700 would be enough to replace it with a similar ring. Who in their right mind would buy something used for the price of the same item new?
Think about it - pick any item you own that might be covered by insurance. A musical instrument, your car, electronic equipment, smart phone, etc. If your house burned most insurance policies will cover replacement cost (the good policies anyway), but would you use that as a tool to sell your used car, TV, phone, or guitar? No, because no one is going to pay you the same amount for a used whatever as they would for a NEW one. They would be silly. The same principle applies to Aunt Susie's diamond tennis bracelet that she had insured for $7,000. It is used, so expecting it to sell for the price of a new one is not realistic. (Exception, it was a Tiffany piece made in the 1920s in mint condition.....then MAYBE.)
People like to think that this process somehow means jewelry prices are super inflated or fake or what ever. Simply not true. The replacement or new value of ANY ITEM is generally considerably more than what you can sell the used item for. People want to hold used jewelry to a different standard some how and I do not understand it.
We have 20 years experience in the jewelry business and we also have test equipment that helps us find the gold and diamonds in the midst of costume jewelry.
So - what does this help cost? Well, if you will allow us to buy the silver and gold, we don't charge you to look for it. If you just need a general evaluation and to separate out the fine jewelry from the rest, we work on an hourly basis (Cliff is pretty darn fast at this, too) We charge $40 an hour.
If we find some really nice pieces, we can sell them for you on consignment here in our store OR we have a network of people we work with in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, and LA who buy big, estate pieces. We have been able to help people realize more money in their pockets by this networking.