Pearl jewelry is considered by many to be something of a classic—so much so that at one time, a strand of pearls was the quintessential everyday piece of jewelry for many middle class American women. Pearl is also a traditional gift for 30th anniversaries. Pearls have made a recent comeback thanks to progressive politicians including Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Katie Porter.
If you have pearl jewelry that no longer fits your taste—perhaps an inheritance, a gift from an ex, or something that you used to love but no longer do—you might be wondering how to sell your pearls.
Below is a look at the most common questions people have about selling pearls:
How to sell pearls
Follow the steps below to ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your pearl jewelry.
1. Understand how much your pearls are worth.
The value of pearls can vary significantly depending on factors such as whether they are natural or cultured, how lustrous they are, the size, the shap, the color, and the origin. Generally speaking, larger, rounder, and more lustrous pearls of natural origin will be worth more than smaller, misshapen, and duller pearls, as well as those that were cultivated. The rarer the color of pearl, the more it will also likely be worth.
That’s why, before you sell your pearls, it’s important to have at least a sense of what it might be worth. If you purchased the pearl yourself or have a certificate of authenticity that came with the pearl, you may already have this information. If not, however, you might consider having an appraisal done. An appraisal will answer questions like:
- What’s the quality of your pearl?
- What’s the origin of your pearl?
- What’s the size of your pearl?
- What’s the color of the pearl?
A jewelry appraisal can cost anywhere from $50 to $150, so if you have reason to believe that your pearl or pearl jewelry isn’t worth that much, it might be better to forgo the appraisal. If, however, you have reason to believe that your pearl is quite valuable, an appraisal will help you understand exactly how much your pearl is worth.
2. Understand what your setting is made out of.
If you are selling loose pearls, you can ignore this. But if you are selling a pearl ring, necklace, bracelet, brooch, earrings, or another piece of pearl jewelry, you also need to consider your setting. What metal is your jewelry made out of? Does it contain other precious gemstones, such as diamonds, sapphires, rubies, etc.?
Especially in cases where your jewelry contains lower-quality pearls, the actual setting might be worth more than the pearl itself. In these cases, you might be better served selling your pearl jewelry to an online gold, silver, or platinum buyer, such as CashforGoldUSA.
3. Find a reputable buyer.
Once you have at least a rough sense of the value of your pearls, you can begin looking for a reputable buyer. Don’t be afraid to get multiple opinions, especially if you feel like the offer you received is too low.
Where to sell pearls
- Pawn or consignment shops: Selling through a pawn shop will probably get you your money quickest, but you’ll also likely get the least amount of money for your pearl in this way. A consignment store near you may be fruitful, but a lot of work and time.
- Jewelry stores: Jewelry stores near you will purchase either loose pearls or pearl jewelry. They will evaluate jewelry based on how much they think they can resell the piece for, or else based on the value of the component parts (including the pearl, metal, any other stones, etc)
- Auctions: An auction can be an excellent way of selling your pearl jewelry if you have a piece that you know is quite valuable. Auctions can also be effective if you are selling antique or heirloom jewelry, if you are liquidating an estate, or if you have multiple pieces that you would like to sell at once.
- Online marketplaces: If you are selling pearl jewelry (not loose pearls) and don’t need your money right away, you can try to sell your item yourself through an online marketplace like Etsy, Mercari, Poshmark, etc.
If your pearl jewelry consists of low-quality pearls but has a lot of gold, silver, or platinum, we recommend going with an online metal buyer like CashForGoldUSA or their sister site CashforSilverUSA. They’re our No. 1 recommendation for a number of reasons, including the fact that:
- A+ Better Business Bureau rating
- Free prepaid mailer to send your item from your home — FedEx tracking number to watch your item every step of the way.
- If you don’t like their offer, they’ll return your item completely free of charge.
- Free Lloyds of London insurance up to $5,000
- You can receive payment within 24 hours of accepting their offer
- CashforGoldUSA found to pay 3X its competitors by a Fox Business News investigation:
If you send your item within a week of requesting a mailer, they’ll pay a 10% bonus on top of their appraised value of your item.
If your pearl jewelry is worth more than $1,000, has especially rare pearls or is a brand like Tiffany or Cartier, our recommendation is Worthy.com, an online jewelry marketplace that will auction your item to hundreds of jewelry buyers. Worthy is a good choice because:
- Great reputation. In addition to its Better Business Bureau A+ review rating, and hundreds of customer testimonials, Worthy has been featured in reputable publications including the New York Times (twice), Crain’s New York Business, Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, and others.
- Free GIA lab report with every sale.
- Free FedEx shipping
- Free Lloyds of London insurance
- Auction platform helps drive prices to market highs.
Places that buy pearls near me
If you are looking to sell your pearls locally as opposed to through an online buyer, you have a number of options.
A pawn shop, consignment shop, or some jewelry stores near you may buy your pearl necklace. Pawn shops are especially good options if you don’t think your pearls are worth all too much money. A local auction house might also be interested in selling high-end pearls, especially if they are a noted brand like Tiffany or Cartier.
Finally, you can check Yelp or Google for local pearl buyers. Be sure to check reviews of these local buyers so that you are sure you’re getting the best possible deal.
How much are pearls worth?
Pearls can vary significantly in value, from as low as $50 for common pearls of low quality to tens of thousands of dollars for particularly rare or beautiful specimens.
That being said, the value of a pearl will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Whether it is natural or cultured, with natural pearls bringing a far higher price
- Its lustre, or how well the pearl’s surface reflects light
- Its size, with larger pearls fetching a higher price
- Its shape, with perfectly round pearls being prized above others
- Its color, with rare varieties carrying a higher price
Again, color plays an outsized role in the value of your pearl. The most common pearls will be a shade of white. Black, silver, golden and gray pearls are far less common than the white ones, but are still relatively common. The rarest of pearls include those which are naturally blue, pink, green, or purple.
The most valuable pearls have high luster, are naturally grown and not cultured, and feature a rare color.
Is it worth selling pearls?
Pearls are harder to sell than other precious materials for several reasons. There are many pearl necklaces flooding the market, and pearls are an organic material, so unlike diamonds, gold and other gemstones and metals, they deteriorate over time.
If your pearls are small or otherwise lower-quality, you may be best served by selling your pearls to a local pawn shop, or having them restrung in a different design — or saving them. Pearls can make for excellent starter jewelry for a child, and something you could pass along even if you don’t particularly like it much yourself.
In some cases, the gold clasp or beads on the pearl necklace will sell for a higher price than the pearls themselves. In these cases, a local jeweler, cash for gold or gold exchange, or an online gold buyer are a good bet.
Use the estimator at Worthy.com to understand what your pearl jewelry is worth. If it is valued at $1,000 or more, send it to Worthy now.
If you expect to get less than $1,000 CashforGoldUSA is a better fit.