A Guide to Selling Jewelry: 7 Things You Should Know

By Dylan Bartlett


Maybe you’re one of the millions of Americans facing economic hardship due to COVID-19. Maybe you received an inheritance full of items you’ll never wear. The bottom line — you have jewelry you want to sell.

Doing your research before listing your item can result in more money in your pocket. It can also help you identify scams and protect your heirlooms from unscrupulous folks. Treat your endeavor like a business, and you’ll make wiser decisions.



1. Identify the Gemstones

You need to learn how to identify the type of gemstones you have, and whether or not they are real. Sadly, many women have been surprised at the pawnshop when they discover the wedding ring their ex gave them was fake.

Spare yourself the shock bytrying to fog up your diamond with your breath. If it remains hazy for several minutes, you have a fake on your hands.

If you think that the color red automatically means you have a ruby on your hands, think again. Colored gems are tricky to identify, and even many jewelers lack the requisite training to identify more rare stones.

A misidentification can cost you hundreds, even thousands. Consider making a trip to the nearest university with a gemology department for assistance.


2. Evaluate the Metal

You probably see tons of advertisements from folks wanting to buy your gold. The price for this precious metal is approximately $1,400 for one ounce of 24 karats. Depending on the weight of your item, that figure could adjust up or down.

Gold isn’t the only material to evaluate. Platinum weighs almost twice as much as a gold karat, making it the heaviest jewelry metal. Rhodium is the most expensive metal in the world, but it is typically only used to coat white gold.



3. Age and Design Considerations

If you inherited your grandmother’s jewelry box, you might have a windfall on your hands. First, you need to determine if the items are vintage or antique. In general, only those items older than 100 years are considered antiques, while younger pieces are considered vintage.

However, age isn’t the only factor that influences price. Jewels that appear unique might be one-of-a-kind items by independent artists — these can fetch a pretty penny. Pay attention to the cut of gemstones, as well as the overall design of each piece.


4. Find the Right Market

In years past, you had few options outside of the pawnshop for selling jewelry quickly. However, today’s conscientious consumers have created a demand for conflict-free engagement rings and more.

In the past, there’s been controversy over diamond mines that use underpaid labor. To decrease demand, buyers with a mind for fair trade are turning to secondhand items to ease their consciences.



5. Make Sure the Price Is Right

Much like a car, your jewelry depreciates over time, at least until it reaches the vintage or antique stage. You need to get an appraisal, and you also must understand the different values you may receive.

For example, the retail replacement or insurance appraisal value may vary considerably from the resale price you can demand.


6. Learn How to Avoid Scams

Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals might try to swindle you out of the value of your items. While an appraisal can cost up to $350 per hour, it is well worth it if you suspect you have a rare diamond or another gemstone on your hands. It also lets you avoid folks who claim your gem is a paste when it isn’t.

When selling online, make sure you get paid upfront instead of letting buyers try an item first. Unfortunately, some sellers parted with valuable pieces for a downpayment only to have the contracted party disappear without paying the rest of what they owe.



7. Prepare Yourself Emotionally

Maybe you never expected to shed tears over parting with a family heirloom, but don’t overlook the emotional impact of selling jewelry. Unresolved baggage can make it difficult to separate from certain items, particularly if the relationship was difficult.

Treat yourself gently during this time, especially if you feel compelled to sell due to economic necessity. Yes, jewelry is only a “thing” — but it is connected to meaning and memories that deserve respect.


Get the Most for Selling Your Jewelry With These Tips

Whatever reason you have for selling jewelry, you want to get the most for your wares. Use these tips to put more money in your pocket quickly.


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