Unless you wear your jewelry often, it's common to have one or two pieces that live perpetually in your dresser drawer. If you need a little extra money or just want to free up some cash, you should consider selling your unworn jewelry. The process of valuing and selling it may seem daunting, but it isn't too difficult once broken down into steps.
Step 1: Open Up Your Filing Cabinet
If you bought the pieces you're looking to sell from a big name jewelry company, chances are you were given a certificate of authenticity for them. Now that you want to sell them, it may save you some effort if you have a quick look through your important documents to see if you still have the certificate.
If you do still have it, you won't need to worry about identifying whether the piece is costume jewelry or genuine, and getting it appraised will be much simpler. Plus, having a certificate of authenticity allows you to know the pure material value of the jewelry right away.
Step 2: Identify Your Jewelry
If you don't have a certificate on hand, or the jewelry was given to you without one, you'll first need to identify whether the piece is made of genuine metals and gems or if it's costume jewelry. Typically, costume jewelry will be lighter in weight than the genuine article. It may also leave discoloration on your skin after being worn for long periods. False jewelry will also have no stamps on it to indicate manufacturer or quality, though this tip is mostly specific to gold articles.
Costume jewelry can still be valuable in some cases. Vintage costume jewelry is considered fashionable and still fetches decent prices. Unfortunately, if your jewelry is both made of cheaper materials and new, it likely isn't worth the appraisal fee to find out its value.
Step 3: Get Discounts On Your Appraisal
Once you've removed any pieces that are sure to be low-value, it's time to get your jewelry appraised before you sell it. Unfortunately, appraisal fees can be expensive. Seeking out discounts and low rates will help keep your profits high, and you can do this in a few different ways.
If you need money quickly and you just want to know a general value for your items, you can take them to pawn shops. Shop owners will give you a rough estimate of what they would pay for the pieces, free of charge. If possible, you should get these estimates in writing. That way, you have a bargaining chip with which to haggle for more from competing shops.
On the other hand, if you don't mind waiting longer to get the full value of your items, you can take them to licensed jewelers to be appraised for a fee. Discuss fees with several jewelers before choosing one. If you have many pieces, or you know other people who also need appraisals, you should also ask if the jeweler does bulk discounts. Partnering up with other people looking to value their items may help you save a percentage of the total fee.
Step 4: Choose To Value By Materials Or Artistry
Every piece of jewelry can be valued in two essential ways: as a complete piece and as the sum of its parts. When valued as a complete piece, you'll typically be able to get more money than if you sell it for the value of materials used. For intricate and very well-preserved jewelry, it will likely be worthwhile to hold out for a price that takes craftsmanship into account.
Damaged, worn, unfashionable, and old jewelry, on the other hand, will typically merit a lower materials price. However, unlike the price of a pristine piece, the materials value isn't subjective. It represents the hard minimum you should accept for a piece, which can help guide you more accurately to a fitting final price.
Once you know the value of your pieces and you have any relevant documentation at your disposal, all that's left is to sell them and pocket your profits. Just think, your old accessories could be turned into bill payments, a vacation, or a rainy day fund -- and all you have to do is follow these four steps.
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