What To Do With Old, Unused or Inherited Jewelry

/ / Custom Jewelry, Estate Buying, Jewelry Appraisal

With greater frequency I have found customers coming to my business with old, unused, or inherited fine jewelry and no idea what to do with it.

What I am hearing from customers is this: They have little interest in jewelry that has either been inherited or is their own older designs not being used anymore. They would prefer the monetary value if sold, or for the jewelry to be re purposed in to other designs more fitting for the times.

The primary issues here are simple: what should you do, how should you do it, and where should you go to do it.

How To Decide What To Do

This is going to be a very personal decision. Many people feel guilty about selling or changing meaningful and often iconic jewelry designs that defined the loved ones from whom it was given or inherited. A great deal of emotion is often attached to jewelry.

My advice comes from my own parental instincts. Particularly on inherited pieces from a person who has passed on. I believe the person would want you to make use of the jewelry in the best way that works for you and gives you some measure of joy either financially or aesthetically. If you have jewelry you’ve purchased, or been given but rarely used, selling or re-designing make the most sense. After all, if the piece is hidden in a safe or a jewelry box, does it really have any value (monetary or otherwise)?

Now Let’s Decide How To Do It and Where

Advising on the “how to do it” and “where to do it” questions, I am obviously a bit partial. Your trusted jeweler or one that is recommended to you is going to be your best choice. We have the network, experience and knowledge to evaluate your jewelry. We can determine whether you have precious metals and gemstones, costume jewelry or simulated stone product. We also have the expertise in design and fabrication to create new jewelry.

As an example, let’s say that you have inherited some fine jewelry. You have some choices to make: are you interested in selling it? Or perhaps you would like to turn the antique piece into something more modern?

I Want To Sell My Jewelry

If you want to go the selling route, you will most commonly find people in the trade who will pay the melt value of the precious metal, gold or platinum, at a price somewhat substantially less than the wholesale value for any gemstones. For example, 14kt gold is 58.5% pure while the rest is essentially base metal with no value. So immediately about half the weight of the piece is lost! Add in refiner’s fees and the jeweler’s processing fee, factor in the current market for pure gold on the day of sale, and you are left with a payout that you may or may not feel is fair for the gold that you have.

The same general concept applies to gemstones. People in the trade will pay below the wholesale value. Be prepared to hear numbers that are substantially less than any retail replacement appraisal values that may have been associated with your jewelry at the time of purchase. I tell my customers that they always have the option of selling their jewelry on sites like eBay, or directly to individuals and possibly recover a larger amount. However, these methods do come with their own liabilities and potential issues (shady transactions, scams, etc).

I’d Love To Make This Into Something Different, Instead

Turning your jewelry into new designs is one of my personal joys! There is nothing more rewarding than the look on someone’s face when they see an old piece of jewelry come back to life in a new or amended form. On an inherited piece, a memory is preserved and revived to live again and bring joy and continuity to another generation of a family. That’s pretty special!

We will work with you and explore ideas. Sketch out or show you some finished jewelry designs that might work for you. Before fabricating in metal, we can show you the new design in wax form, so you can visualize it in both scale and dimension. We make the process comfortable and easy for you to get a good understanding of what your finished jewelry will look like.

Explore all your options regarding those old treasure sitting around doing nothing. Consider resurrecting them or turning in them in to cash.


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About the author:

Jon Migdow has over 30 years of experience in the jewelry business. His store, TDC Jewelry, has been serving customers across Chicagoland since 1984 and recently moved to a new location in Deer Park, IL.