The do’s and don’ts of appraising your estate jewelry


An unfortunate part of someone passing is the aftermath of tasks that must be done such as reading the will, cleaning out the persons home, dividing assets, and grieving. When you clean out the persons home you may realize there is estate jewelry you were unaware of that must get appraised and sold.

The do’s and don’ts of appraising estate jewelry

  • Don’t appraise it yourself.
  • Don’t go with one person’s appraisal – get a minimum of 3.
  • Don’t assume something is worth more than it is.
  • Don’t try to sell for more than it’s appraised.
  • Do get the estate jewelry appraised by a professional appraisal company such as a jewelry store or a pawn shop.
  • Do start the selling price at or below the appraisal value.
  • Do receive the funds and get proper documentation to go with the cash – when you sell.

How is jewelry appraised?

Jewelry is appraised based on the current market value and condition of the piece. For example, if you come in with a diamond ring in a gold setting, the gold band will get appraised and then the diamonds will also get appraised. Sometimes, the gold is the only appraised part of the piece depending on the quality of diamonds.

Most jewelers who purchase estate jewelry will pay 10-20% of the retail value of your piece; $1,000 value would be purchased between $100-200.

Pawnbrokers typically pay a shy 10% of the retail value as they can’t resell your piece until the pawn period has expired.

Remember, just because you feel a piece is worth x amount or is fashionable or beautiful does not mean it’s worth more. Everything depends on the marketability of the piece.

If it’s something that is popular or in demand at the time of appraisal, it may get appraised a bit higher than something that’s considered ‘scrap’ jewelry.

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