Selling Estate Jewelry: A Comprehensive Guide To Maximizing Value

July 15, 2023

Embellishing the body with head-turning ornaments and dazzling diamonds represents one of the earliest developments in human history, so it’s understandable why the market for time-honored pieces is so big. Due to supply shortages, U.S. diamond prices continue to rise, making this segment highly profitable for estate jewelry sellers.

In the United States alone, the online jewelry and watch market was worth USD$13.4 billion in 2022. During the same year, U.S. retail sales of jewelry were valued at approximately $91.5 billion. Compared with the previous year, this represented a $5 billion increase.

By 2026, the global jewelry market will skyrocket to $332.6 billion. When valued in terms of weight, global jewelry demand rests at a relatively heavy 2,100 tonnes! As a continuously flourishing market, there’s always an opportunity to sell estate jewelry.

What is Estate Jewelry?

The term “estate” is generally used to describe previously owned items. Otherwise known as “pre-owned” or “used” jewelry, this type of jewelry usually has a story to tell, considering that it will have formerly been used as someone else’s ornament. Antique and vintage jewelry stands the test of time. Something inspired by the 1920s could cling to its charm to this day! A fine example was the discovery of an ancient shell necklace believed to date back more than 100,000 years.

Where to Sell Your Estate Jewelry?

As fine wine improves with time, so do certain types of estate jewelry. Estate jewelry is a good investment since most pieces are produced with durable and long-lasting materials. On top of this, buyers can add timeless pieces to their collections that are no longer manufactured anywhere in the world.

Before determining a selling price, decide where to sell your used pieces. Here are a few options:

  1. Specialized Online Buyer 

One of the easiest and fastest ways to sell estate jewelry is through specialized online buyers. Many experts are willing to evaluate pre-owned items, such as antique diamond jewelry, before contacting you with an offer. Many certified buyers send funds on the same day, and if you change your mind, items can be returned free of charge!

  • In-person 

When selling estate jewelry face-to-face, a potential buyer(s) can get to know the person behind the deal. Negotiating is common during in-person sales, so work on your sales skills, expect some haggling, and decide how little you’re willing to bid farewell with a piece for.

  • Pawn Shops and Secondhand Stores  

If you’re looking for a fast, short-term loan, consider pawning estate jewelry at a pawnbroker dealership. Although pawning is ideal for people wishing to redeem items sold later, the downside is that you are limited to borrowing a percentage of the jewelry item’s worth, so you won’t get the maximum amount of money for your treasured goods. Secondhand shops are another option.

  • Auction 

Auctions have a reputation for selling pre-owned items in immaculate condition, thus giving buyers confidence. Some of the most expensive items have been sold at auctions, including The Princie Diamond, which sold for $39.3 million at Christie’s New York on April 16, 2013.

Get the Most Money for Your Estate Jewelry

Don’t be fooled into thinking that low-priced jewelry sells faster. When you sell pre-owned fine jewelry, you can earn 20%-50% of the original purchase price. However, the profit potential rises for scarce, rare, and trending items. Take the following tips on board to ensure maximum return on investment with estate jewelry:

  • Do Your Research Before Selling Estate Jewelry – Spend time visiting jewelry dealers and researching the different jewelry categories before pinning a price on your goods. Fine jewelry pieces should always be hallmarked as an indication of material purity.
  • Sell Estate Jewelry to a Specialty Dealer – A trusted jewelry dealer is likelier to offer a reasonable price for estate jewelry than a random person at an auction unless that person is a keen collector. Remember to assess the seller on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to ensure their legitimacy.
  • Sell Materials that Appreciate – Due to the scarcity of materials like rhenium, ruthenium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, diamonds, gold, palladium, platinum, and silver, jewelry of this kind increases in value. This makes estate jewelry a good investment, even during economic uncertainty. The more difficult it is to find and mine certain metals and stones, the higher the processing value.
  • Practice Proper Maintenance and Upkeep to Enhance Condition – Well-maintained jewelry sells for more. This includes repairing or upgrading worn parts, such as clasps, chains, and prongs in diamond and gemstone inlays.
  • Obtain a Jewelry Appraisal from an Expert Appraiser – Refrain from selling your estate jewelry without a jewelry appraisal. Why? Not only does this document provide a detailed description and value for a specific item but also, it indicates the maximum value. You can seek an independent appraiser via the American Gem Society (AGS) or the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA).
  • Advertise the Jewelry as Part of a Collection – Do you have more than one item to sell? Increase selling allure and profit by promoting estate jewelry as part of a package, such as a diamond ring, necklace, bracelet selection, or an artistic range of pearl pieces.
  • Promote the Sale Far and Wide – The broader your audience of prospective buyers, the higher the chances of earning a sizable profit selling estate jewelry. Consider your target market when promoting via word of mouth, social media, and online marketplaces like Etsy or eBay.
  • Building a Jewelry Portfolio – Create a jewelry portfolio by allowing more people to ponder over your shimmering pearls, glistening diamond rings, and intricately carved bracelets. Compiling your portfolio in various formats, such as digital and scrapbook, is an effective way of sharing a story about the journey your prized jewels have been on.


Regardless of the way you select to sell estate diamond jewelry, it’s worth preparing for the experience. The American Gem Society recommends that buyers and sellers brush up on their knowledge of the “4 Cs of diamonds” — cut, color, clarity, and carat — before contacting buyers.

Pre-owned diamonds may not sell for as much as initially, but you will likely profit better if you obtain a high-quality diamond grading certificate. A report of this kind will assess the 4 Cs with a plotted clarity diagram.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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