Of all the items you own in your lifetime, jewelry is often the most personal. Your prized pieces can represent a special occasion, a memory you cherish, or the love you have for another person.
Unfortunately, sentimental value isn’t a factor when assessing how much your jewelry is worth. If you want to list yours for sale, or you are doing estate or tax planning, what you really need to know is how much money you will get for your ring, earrings, necklace, bracelet, watch or or other item.
To know if your gems are worth their weight in gold (har har!), consider getting a jewelry appraisal.
What is a jewelry appraisal?
A jewelry appraisal is a statement of value that spells out the worth of your item. The person doing the appraisal — the appraiser — does a thorough inspection of your jewelry to determine the value.
Note, there is a big difference between an appraisal and a grading.
The internationally recognized laboratories at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or International Gemological Institute (IGI), will grade your diamond or other gemstone jewelry, determining the cut, color, clarity and exact size, as well as other attributes like name brand, and market value, to give you a certified lab report with detailed information about the metal, diamonds, and gemstones. The lab report will also include an estimate resale price.
An appraisal from a local jeweler, for example, may be useful in determining insurance replacement value, but is not useful in in understanding exactly the quality, specifications and other attributes inherent to your item.
A jeweler or pawn shop, however, can easily weigh your gold, silver or stones for the purpose of scrap metal value.
How to appraise jewelry
A common concern among jewelry owners is how the jewelry appraisal actually works. You might wonder how to appraise jewelry yourself, but the process requires in-depth, scientific knowledge of gemstones and metals.
If you have an engagement ring or other diamond jewelry, and already have a lab report with specific details of the cut, color, clarity and carat of your jewelry, check out Worthy's list of recent sales to get an idea of the marketplace.
If you have gold or silver jewelry, CashforGoldUSA may be a better fit. If you know the weight of your item or coin, you can use their online calculator to get an estimate, since the value of precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver change every day.
As of this writing, 1-ounce of gold 24k was worth $1,307. A 1-ounce gold bar is about the size of a military dog tag, and 24mm (0.95 inches) x 42mm (1.65 inches x 2mm (0.08 inches). Check the latest price of gold with CashforGoldUSA's gold calculator.
Recent gold prices, as of Feb. 13, 2019: Price per 1 ounce of gold:
|10K Troy ounce of gold is worth $26.10|
|14K Troy ounce of gold is worth $36.15|
|18K Troy ounce of gold is worth $46.86|
|24k Troy ounce of gold is worth $1,307|
How much is a gram of gold worth?
As of this writing, a gram of pure, 24K gold was worth $42.23. To visualize, a 1-gram gold bar is 8mm (0.32 inches)x 15mm (0.59 inches) x 0.4mm (0.02 inches) — or smaller than a thumb tack.
|10k gram of gold was worth $16.79|
|14k gram of gold was worth $23.27|
|18k gram of gold was worth $30.20|
|24K gold was worth $42.23.|
You can also take your jewelry to a local, reputable jeweler who can give you a written appraisal. But again, this is very different than a lab report from IGA or GIA.
Otherwise, use Worthy's online estimator:
Keep in mind that how you get jewelry appraised can make a big impact on the sticker price of your pieces. If you have an item that includes diamonds, finding a certified appraiser who understands how to appraise diamond jewelry is your best chance at a clear value.
How old your piece of jewelry is can also impact what it’s worth, making estate jewelry appraisals a little tricky. While some of your heirlooms could become valuable showpieces with larger price tags, others go out of style and lose their value.
Sometimes a local jeweler can help with general inquiries about how much your valuables are worth. But to know how to get jewelry appraised and sold, partnering with a reputable online jewelry buyer like Worthy can help.
Worthy is an online resource that works exclusively with GIA and the IGA to have certified gemologist appraisers complete a free appraisal and lab report of your prized possessions. There are no other online jewelry sellers that offer this free service.
Other leading online jewelry and diamond buyers advertise that their appraisers are GIA certified, but that is very different than sending your item to the GIA or IGA laboratory, where it will be inspected and receive a full laboratory report — yours to keep free.
To get an idea of how much your item is worth, use Worthy's free, immediate online jewelry estimator >>
Are jewelry appraisals accurate?
Insurance appraisals may serve the purpose of buying coverage for your jewelry collection, but when selling your valuables, we recommend taking extra steps to get the most detailed report about the specifications of your item. This gives you the confidence that you are getting the highest price for your diamond, gold or other jewelry — as well as providing true value for whomever buys your jewelry.
As a general rule, update your appraisal every two to three years is a good idea, as the price of gold, platinum and silver fluctuate daily, and the market value for all jewelry ebbs and flows.
In the end, the market dictates how much your item is worth. With most online jewelry sites like eBay or Etsy, just 5% of jewelry posted is actually sold. Worthy is a live, online jewelry marketplace where hundreds of vetted buyers around the world bid on your item, based on the information from the lab report from GIA or IGA — so everyone involved in the process understands exactly the quality of the item up for sale — including you!
How do appraisal prices compare with actual selling price?
You might not know the difference between a jewelry appraisal price and the selling price, and that’s okay. However, a value given for insurance lists the retail replacement cost, which is very different from what you’d get in the resale market.
If you’re curious about the value, sometimes local jewelry appraisers give you an appraisal for free, which may serve as a general benchmark, but this won’t match what you’d earn if you list your trinkets for sale.
If selling your jewelry is the ultimate goal, consider Worthy.com — the largest online jewelry marketplace. Every item sold on Worthy.com is sent to the IGA or GIA where it receives a certified lab report from a certified gemologist — including an accurate resale price based on real-time market values.
Keep in mind that the sales price will be lower than the purchase price. Here is a good explanation for why that is:
Where to get jewelry appraised for free
Most local, reputable jewelers will give you an appraisal for free. Check the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers for a recommendation. Yelp reviews can also be helpful.
For lower-end items such as gold chains and rings, and smaller jewelry, a local pawn shop can weigh your items and offer a price that may shock you — pawn shop prices reflect around 13% to the dollar of original price paid.
CashforGoldUSA is a reputable online gold, diamond and jewelry buyback site that stands above the rest, with a B+ Better Business Bureau review and Fox News recommendation for offering 3 times the buyback price of other leading jewelry sites.
Reliable online diamond and jewelry buyers and marketplaces like Worthy include an appraisal with a lab grading report absolutely free.
Also, because Worthy has an online auction that advertises a certificate from the IGA or GIA, potential buyers know your gold and gemstones are authentic, increasing the transparency for everyone involved, and really setting the company apart from its competitors.
How much is my jewelry worth?
You might guess that solid gold and silver jewelry is worth more than costume trinkets. Yet, many jewelry owners still wind up wondering, “Is my costume jewelry worth anything?” Some vintage costume pieces have gold plating, but is gold plated jewelry worth anything?
Typically, the answer is no. Some name-brand vintage costume jewelry may have retail value at a specialty resale shop, but you may be better off donating unused plastic and costume items to a local charity, and enjoying a tax deduction.
Check out some recent Worthy sales to get an idea of the marketplace for diamond, gemstone, gold and name brand engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and fine watches.
You can always send plated and lower-end items to CashforGoldUSA. If yours is an item they do not buy, they will return your jewelry for free, at no charge to you.
It’s difficult to get an answer to these questions without an appraisal. If your goal is having a general idea of your jewelry’s value, consider working with Worthy to get an estimate and then lab report from a gemologist.
At the same time, always remember the golden rule of resale: Your stuff is only worth the amount someone else is willing to pay.
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't sell if you don't make a lot of money. In this post, I write about all the emotional value of selling engagement jewelry, as well as all the life-changing ways women have invested profits from jewelry sales.
After all, if you're not enjoying it, it is lost money.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.