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 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 jewelry buyers
- Best Place to sell estate jewelry
- How to sell inherited watches
- 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 an A 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
We’ve extensively researched jewelry buyers. CashforGoldUSA and its sister site Diamonds USA are the best choices. Here’s why:
- 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 antique jewelry. 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 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 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 >>
Starting local is a great way to start your jewelry-selling journey, but it might not be the best move to actually sell to your neighborhood jeweler. Pawn shops may offer quick cash, but pay just 13% of purchase price, on average. You are likely to get more cash selling jewelry online.
Sell locally to a jeweler, which can be a safe way to sell, especially if you have a relationship with a jewelry store you trust. Selling at an auction house like Sotheby’s or Christie’s is an option if your piece is very valuable. Selling online is likely your best, most convenient choice.
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.
Wonderful, detailed information about how to your jewelry. Thanks for sharing .
I have an antique silver slave bracelet given to me 65 years ago. I can send a picture if you like. My ancestry is from the middle east, formaly Palestine.
The bracelet has a coin that says in Arabic Constantine 1300’s
I would like to know how valueable it is.
I am 80 years of age now.
Interesting post a debt of gratitude is in order for composing it I just added your site to my top picks and will be back.
Great work! Much appreciated, keep posting many more.
My mom recently passed and she absolutely loved jewelry almost obsessed with it, so needless to say I’ve inherited a lot of jewelry. First off let me tell you about my mom, she was born 1936 and raised in west berlin germany . Her grandfather worked as a plumber and during the war when services were provided they would pay with items that were valuable. Her grandfather was paid for his services with a brooch but that is the only information my mom knew. How would I be able to find out more history on the brooch and wear to sell it?
Can you find a local estate jewelry expert and ask him or her? Or find an online estate jewelry seller on ebay and send in some pics?
I have numerous uncut gemstones (emeralds, garnets, rubies, sapphires, citrine, aquamarine, tourmalines, amethyst, rose quartz, etc.) Many of these stones are large and I had a few cut and faceted that turned out to be over 1 Ct emeralds and rubies. I had a garnet cut and faceted and made into a birthstone ring for my Mother that a jeweler recently couldn’t measure with her instruments, but it was 12×17 which she said is definitely over a 5Ct stone. I have had these stones for over 20 years and need to sell them. I mined these stones myself out of North Carolina, USA, in 1998. Do you have any suggestions as to the best way to sell these. Where I live there isn’t a certified gemologist to give me a value on the stones.
Also do you know where one might take or find out the resale value of signed and unsigned excellent made costume jewelry and vintage items? I have some pieces I have bought from estate sales, garage sales, consignment stores, and even Goodwill and have found out later some are Dior, Givenchy Paris. Others are glass beads, quality broaches, and beautiful pearl earrings and necklaces that are at least vintage. Some seem to date back to the 40’s perhaps, but definitely the 50’s and 60’s. I plan to take them to an antique shop nearby to see if the owner can give me any insight into some of the older pieces, but I thought you may know of a way I could look up the value online for vintage items since I have vintage purses, shoes, hats, etc.
I’m disabled now and need to completely downsize and sell most everything I have since I am on Social Security Disability Income, and receive no assistance for my medications or the numerous expensive tests and surgeries I have to have. Any assistance/advice you could offer me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
I’d use the link in the story and contact Worthy about the gemstones. They work with GIA to appraise them, and will help you sell them on their auction site. The costume jewelry can be sold via Thredup.
I have 2 of my Dad’s Masonic rings, one with diamond, the other has a red stone with the Masonic symbol in the middle. No one is a Mason, so nobody can wear them. I was thinking of having myself a ring made using the diamonds in the one ring.
It just sits in my jewelry box