11 Tips for Selling Estate Jewelry

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By Andrew Fabrikant

Baby Boomers’ lifestyles are becoming more casual than in the past. As occasions to wear fine jewelry become increasingly sparse, seniors are realizing that the asset is worth serious money. If you’re considering selling estate (used) jewelry, we suggest you follow these tips before making the sale.

Do Your Homework – Gather any information you may have about the jewelry. Receipts, insurance descriptions laboratory reports, original boxes and paper work can all be tremendously helpful.  Even the story your grandmother told to you about an item she used to wear should be written down. This will help you communicate with a potential buyer and help them help you.

Take Digital Pictures – Digital pictures help you establish an inventory and description of the condition the item is in. An experienced buying service should be able to give you a ballpark estimate on your jewelry item from pictures alone.

Find Reputable Outlets – Finding a reputable jeweler just takes some online effort. Review sites are helpful; the local BBB will show you complaints and most importantly, make sure you’re comfortable with the person you’re selling to. This is a personal matter and should be handled with the respect it deserves.

Look For Special Services – If you’re selling something that you think might have national or international appeal, then additional services like a brokerage service will maximize the cash value of the jewel or gem. Brokerage services will market your piece of jewelry through the firm’s network of buyers.

Know What’s Hot And What’s Not – Right now, larger diamonds are hot.  Fine sapphires, emeralds and rubies are also of tremendous value. If you have inherited items or purchased them previous to the 1980’s than you may have a one in literally a million stone. Prior to the 1980’s these stones would often not come with certificates but dealers would usually know where the stones came from and if they were treated. Laboratory reports were not commonly issued prior to the 1980’s but today stratospheric prices can be achieved if the correct labs will certify the quality of the stone and the right buyer knows how to help you sell your stone.

You Can’t Split A Diamond – We have seen hundreds of families end up with resentments when jewelry is part of an inherited estate. It has kept families intact when members agree to sell the jewelry and divide the assets equally or at an agreed upon level.  The cash goes in the bank and the item is no longer in the way of family harmony.

Be Sure You’re Ready To Sell – People should sell jewelry that is no longer worn, when life changes, relationships end, debts need to be paid, tuition covered or simply when the money is better than having it waste away unworn.  Insuring jewelry you never wear adds up quickly. Logically selling jewelry can be cathartic, profitable and a positive step forward in anyone’s life.

Insurance Is A Must – If you leave your valuables in a jeweler’s possession make sure they can insure them for you.  If a jeweler is not able or willing to protect you from loss, they are not taking the proper responsibility.

Conduct Due Diligence – People should inquire with several jewelers and consider their local markets if not in a major jewelry hub like NY and LA.  Often the look of the jewelry will be paramount to its value, not just the sum of its parts.  Your jeweler should have access to a much broader market than just their one store and their clientele.  The professional jewelry buyer should also have the ability to market jewelry to a wide audience.  The bigger exposure your jewelry can get to the market, the better chance of bringing more money.

Avoid Auction Houses – Smaller auction houses tend to not have a great reach. The bigger auction houses may be able to help, but their fees are huge. At auction if you are unsuccessful in selling your jewelry or diamond than you owe the auction house money.

Pawn Shops Are Dangerous -Pawn shops loan you money at tremendous rates of interest and are 100% protected. If you don’t redeem your jewelry you have gifted it to the pawnbroker who is happy to sell it for more than your loan.

Andrew Fabrikant has enjoyed a career in the jewelry industry for over 20 years. After attending Boston University, Andrew spent a year working in commercial real estate before rejoining the family jewelry business, overseeing operations at the International Jewelers Exchange on the corner of 47th Street and 5th Avenue. At the time, Andrew and Peter Fabrikant, cousins, and business partners realized that there was a high demand for estate, “used” jewelry amongst their private and industry clientele, presenting a unique opportunity for Andrew and Peter to offer their knowledge and expertise to those wishing to sell their jewelry and diamonds. Andrew & Peter Fabrikant, Fine Diamonds and Jewelry (FabOn5th.com), are nationwide leaders in diamond & estate jewelry buying. For more information call 1-800-570-Gems or visit http://fabon5th.com.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is some really good information about selling jewelry. I liked that you talked about how going to a smaller auction house would be better than a big one. It does seem like a good thing to do if you have never sold any jewelry as well. Also, younger couples would probably go to a smaller auction to buy jewelry.

  2. Wow, I never knew that jewelry sellers should be able to give you a rough estimate just from pictures taken of the item. We will have to try contacting a few different places and sending them the pictures of our diamond so that we could get a couple ballpark estimates. This diamond came from my grandmother, and I want to make sure that we get a fair amount for it.

  3. I would have never thought about getting insurance on jewelry. It does seem like a good thing to do if you have a lot of jewelry. I would want to talk to a professional about that because I wouldn’t know what would be good to get insured.

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