So you’ve finally decided to collect all of that old jewelry you never wear anymore, figure out how much it’s all worth, and sell it. Or you’ve inherited a large collection of jewelry, have no idea what it’s worth or what to do with it, and want to exchange it for cash. Or maybe you have a piece, which you want to sell for personal or financial reasons.
In any of these cases – the first step in redeeming your unwanted or unused items for a potentially big payoff is getting reliable jewelry appraisals. There’s no way to know what you should be paid until you know exactly what you’ve got.
Where to Find Jewelry Appraisals
Unless you’re a demon with a jeweler’s loupe and have lots of experience evaluating diamonds, precious metals and fine gemstones, you’re going to need some help appraising your jewelry. There are three ways you can go:
1. Bring the jewelry to a pawn shop, where you’ll probably be offered a very low price for the stones and spot price for the metal. The pawnbroker may not even be quite sure what he’s looking at, since he spends his days buying everything from low-end jewelry to electronics to guns. Anything he offers will most likely just be the lowest payout he can get away with, rather than an accurate offer based on full knowledge of your pieces and the market. It’s a rare pawnbroker who is an expert at appraising fine gemstones, let alone valuable vintage jewelry or exquisite antique jewelry.
2. Bring the jewelry to a local jeweler, where the items can actually be appraised by a professional. The problem is that while most local jewelers are capable of telling you the ballpark value of engagement rings or diamond jewelry, they’re not necessarily familiar with high-end luxury items and may not recognize the true value of a vintage, antique or rare piece. Also, many jewelers just aren’t set up to appraise large numbers of items, so if you have an entire estate jewelry collection or decades’ worth of pieces, it could be too much for them to handle.
3. Use the services of a reputable, responsible and fully-insured online jewelry appraisal service like Luxury Buyers. There are several reasons why this is the best option for most people. First, we have decades of experience examining and appraising fine jewelry and luxury items, so we can immediately recognize the pieces which are rare or have high worth. Second, we have a large staff and don’t run a retail storefront, so we can devote our full attention to each of your items, evaluating and appraising your jewelry quickly and expertly even if you have a large collection of estate jewelry. Finally, we have anxious buyers waiting to purchase fine jewelry, so we don’t have to spend money on marketing and storage; we’re uniquely able to offer you the highest price for your jewelry.
There are times when it might make sense to bring a ring back to the store where you bought it, if you’re ready to have it appraised and then sell it. Otherwise, the most efficient and profitable way to get jewelry appraisals and fast payouts is to deal with a high-quality online appraiser and buyer.
What You Need To Know Before a Jewelry Appraisal
You probably already know that most previously-worn jewelry will not appraise for its original retail price. That price wasn’t simply based on the actual value of the precious metal and gemstones, but also included the price of mining, cutting, designing and producing the piece, as well as the cost of marketing and the jeweler’s profit. And most jewelry is going to suffer at least some minor dings if it’s been worn regularly, so condition is also a consideration when pre-owned jewelry is appraised. In other words, if an emerald necklace originally cost $5,000 ten years ago, you probably shouldn’t expect an appraiser to tell you that it’s worth $5,000 today.
Some jewelry, primarily if it features rare stones or cuts, does actually appreciate in value, but what’s more realistic to hope is that it has held most of its original value. Signed jewelry and pieces from brand-name designers like Tiffany, Harry Winston and Cartier are most likely to retain their value over time, as is platinum jewelry, which holds its value better than gold or silver. Natural emerald jewelry and natural sapphire jewelry are also good candidates to retain much of their original value.
Now, for perhaps the most important fact you need to know: there are two types of jewelry appraisals you can receive. One will tell you the “actual cash value” of the jewelry, while the other will report the “retail replacement value” of the item. This distinction confuses many people who have their jewelry appraised in order to sell it.
The actual cash value is simply the real monetary value of the piece, usually calculated by adding together the value of the precious metal(s) and the market value of the stone(s). However, for very high-end, antique or rare pieces which would be in extremely high demand, the actual cash value might be figured on the value of the piece at sale or auction, rather than the value of each of its components.
On the other hand, the retail replacement value is the much-higher jewelry appraisal which is given to your insurance company. It’s equal to the retail price you would have to pay to buy the exact same piece today, and it’s the amount that your insurance company would pay you if your ring, bracelet or necklace is lost or stolen.
In other words, if your engagement ring was originally appraised at $15,000 for insurance purposes, that is not what it is worth in real life. The actual cash value, which will be significantly lower, is what your jewelry is worth – and the approximate price that someone should pay you in order to buy it. The retail replacement value is usually only used for insurance company purposes – it does not represent the actual value of your items or what you can expect to receive if you sell them. Understanding this will save you a lot of angst when you receive your jewelry appraisal.
When sending your jewelry to Luxury Buyers for appraisal, it’s always a good idea to send any supporting documentation (such as bills of sale or previous appraisals) as well as the original box the items came in – that will help us accurately determine the value of your items and may increase the price you receive, particularly if the jewelry came from a name designer.
Finally, you need to know that jewelry appraisals from Luxury Buyers will reflect reality – but our offers to buy your jewelry will also reflect the desirability of your pieces. Because we have the largest group of buyers ready to pay cash for fine jewelry, we can always pay the highest prices, usually in about 48 hours.