Are you ready to sell estate jewelry you’ve inherited, but overwhelmed by the process, or suspicious of jewelers or online sites? Or maybe you have estate or antique jewelry that you just don’t want or like anymore.
There are plenty of places to sell your inherited or estate jewelry and make cash. Here’s everything you need to know:
- Estate and antique jewelry buyers
- How to sell inherited estate jewelry
- How to value estate jewelry
- FAQs about antique and inherited jewelry
Estate and antique jewelry buyers: Online and “near me” options
There are a few typical routes to selling your estate jewelry:
Sell online to an estate jewelry buyer
Large, high-quality diamonds (at least .3 carats), branded jewelry like Cartier, Tiffany, Bulgari, Harry Winston, as well as fine gemstones of at least 2 carats and luxury watches can typically be sold at a premium.
CashforGoldUSA is our No. 1 recommended best place to sell gold, silver, and platinum jewelry you’ve inherited, as well as watches and coin collections.
Diamonds USA (formerly CashforDiamondsUSA) is a sister site to CashforGoldUSA and the place to sell diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.
Because they share the same parent company, CJ Environmental, both of these sites have an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, pay in 24 hours, and insure your item up to $100,000.
Sell to a local jeweler
You can also sell to a local jeweler near you, which can be a safe way to sell, especially if you have a relationship with a jewelry store you trust. You can also sell to a pawn shop, which is quick but typically pays the least of any option. Both these local jewelry buyers ensure immediate cash.
Sell at an auction
Selling at an auction house like Sotheby’s or Christie’s is an option if your piece is very valuable and/or has a documented provenance of owner history that is compelling to potential buyers. This is a complicated process that really only is available to high-end items.
Worthy.com is the leading site devoted to online jewelry auctions. Offering a transparent posting, price and bidding process, this site has a B+ rating with the BBB and provides a free GIA or IGI appraisal for each item sold. Worthy only accepts items that will sell for at least $1,000 and specializes in diamonds of at least .7 carat. Read more about Worthy in my review.
Best place to sell estate jewelry: CashforGoldUSA
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Pay within 24 hours
- Free insured shipping up to $100,000
- Best price guarantee
How to sell inherited estate jewelry
Whether you are selling a wedding ring, necklace or bracelet, the process is simple:
- Go to CashforGoldUSA.com or DiamondsUSA and request a free mailer or FedEx label, which arrives the next day, and insures your item for up to $5,000.
- Receive by email or phone (your choice) an appraisal for your jewelry or gold. A tracking number and insurance keeps your item secure.
- Accept or reject the quote. If you reject the appraisal price, your item will be returned to you, free.
- If you accept the quote (as I did) you receive a Paypal payment within 24 hours. Bank deposits and checks are available.
How to value estate jewelry
Most estate jewelry — all jewelry, in fact — is worth the resale value of its various components, including scrap gold, silver or platinum, as well as any diamonds larger than .3 carats, or any gemstones of especially fine quality and size. Branded jewelry such as Tiffany, Bulgari or Cartier is worth a premium, as well as some more popular designs that a jewelry buyer can resell as-is.
To understand how much your jewelry is worth, you can get an idea of the scrap value at CashforGoldUSA's jewelry calculator for your jewelry and diamonds:
A local jeweler near you can offer an appraisal, which is useful for insurance replacement purposes, but not so much for a cash sale. Your local Yelp listings or referrals from a trusted friend are a good way to find a reputable jeweler.
Jewelry retailers like Kay Jewelers, Jareds and Zales offer upgrade services, in which they will quote you a value for your jewelry, which you can then apply to a new purchase in their store.
Frequently asked questions about inherited jewelry
Antique jewelry vs. estate jewelry vs. heirloom jewelry: What’s the difference?
The world of used fine jewelry can be confusing. Here is the breakdown:
For the purposes of this post, all jewelry in reference is fine jewelry: Gold, platinum, real gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, as well as semi-precious stones like pearls, opals, tourmaline, coral, onyx, turquoise, amethyst, aquamarine, beryl, citrine, garnet and jade.
Antique jewelry is at least 100 years old. So, as of this writing, an antique ring, earrings, or necklace would be made in 1919 or earlier. Antique jewelry can include items from the Georgian Era, Victorian Era, Edwardian Era, or Art Deco Era.
Vintage jewelry is at least 20 years old.
Estate jewelry is simply used jewelry — it could have been previously purchased a few months ago, or be hundreds of years old. However, reputable jeweler would always use the term “antique” when applicable — not “estate.”
Heirloom jewelry items are fine jewelry and watches that are passed on through generations — given from mother or grandmother or aunt, uncle, grandfather, or father to a younger generation.
Is there a market for vintage jewelry?
Vintage fine jewelry can be sold just as estate or antique jewelry is sold. For costume jewelry, sell your vintage items through a consignment store, eBay or Etsy — especially if it is a noted brand or an in-style design.
How do I know if my vintage jewelry is valuable?
To learn how much money your antique or estate jewelry is worth, you can take it to a local jeweler for a jewelry appraisal, or send it to an online jewelry buyer for an estimate, lab report or quote about how much they are willing to pay for your old jewelry.
How do I know if my brooch is antique or worth money?
Again, a local or online jeweler or professional appraiser will help you understand whether your item is antique or estate fine jewelry, vintage, or costume jewelry.
What are the tax implications on selling inherited jewelry?
When you sell inherited artwork, jewelry, or collectibles you will have to pay a 28% capital gains tax rate, as compared to the 15% to 20% that applies to most assets.
Bottom line: Is it okay to sell inherited jewelry?
Recently, I was chatting with my good friend Sarah, who mentioned that she’d inherited her beloved grandmother’s large antique sapphire-and-diamond brooch.
I was surprised to hear this — after all, I’ve known Sarah for years, and see her a couple times per month.
I’ve never seen or heard about this knock-out heirloom bling!
“Oh, it is so fancy, where would I wear it — to the playground?!” she asked. We cracked up.
Even if she did wear it out for a special occasion, Sarah worried she’d lose the pin, or break its delicate gold filigree setting.
We talked about that broach over a few weeks.
Do you wear the item often?
Sarah felt really guilt for never wearing it — in fact, she kept it in a box in the back of her closet, in part for safekeeping, but also to keep those bad feelings out-of-sight and out-of-mind.
“My relationship with my grandma has been one of the most important in my life. And that she left me one of her few valuable possessions means so much to me,” Sarah confessed. She looked as if she were about to cry.
How does the item make you feel?
That said, that pin was shrouded with bad feelings: guilt, avoidance, and shame.
She also worried her mom (the grandmother’s daughter) would be upset for selling the family heirloom.
None of those feelings had anything to do with Sarah’s actual memories of her sweet and smart grandma.
Do you need the money?
If you have antique, estate or inherited jewelry you no longer enjoy, and need the money, consider selling it.
Sarah surprised me, as when we met for a ramen lunch a few weeks later, she told me that she had sold that sapphire brooch and received more than $3,000 for it!
She told me:
“I talked to my mom about it, and I told her that having that heirloom meant a lot to me, but it ultimately was a negative in my life, and that didn’t honor Grandma.”
Sarah told her mom about honoring her grandma by selling the pin and using the proceeds to contribute to Sarah’s twin sons’ 529 college fund.
“My mom really loved that idea, since family and children were so important to Grandma, selling the brooch and using the money for the kids really touched her. She actually teared up a little.”
Sarah’s mom was worried about getting the true value for the brooch, as after the grandmother’s passing, the family had taken the pin to a local jeweler to be appraised for insurance purposes, and been suspicious of the quote.
Ready to sell your inherited estate jewelry?
Get a quote for your gold or gemstone jewelry from CashforGoldUSA >>.
Get a quote for your diamond items from Diamonds USA >>
To learn how much money your antique jewelry is worth, you can take it to a local jeweler for an appraisal, or send it to an online jewelry buyer for an estimate, lab report or quote about how much they are willing to pay for your old jewelry.
A local or or online jeweler or professional appraiser will help you understand whether your item is antique fine jewelry, vintage, or costume jewelry.