Estate Jewelry Appraisal: Determining the Value of Inherited Jewelry

Estate Jewelry Appraisal: Determining the Value of Inherited Jewelry

Inheriting jewelry is often one of the only ways to keep something from a loved one who passed away. In many cases, people keep the jewelry because of the sentimental value attached to it, while others store it so that the next generations in the family can use it.

However, some people leave jewelry behind so that their loved ones get a powerful resource they can use later. Depending on how much the jewelry piece is worth, you may be able to get enough money to pay for a few expenses.

Unfortunately, not all old, vintage, fine, or costume jewelry has huge value. Before you start looking to sell your items, you must first appraise them to get an idea of what you may get.

There are a few factors that influence how much you can get from your jewelry, and that’s what we’re going to evaluate today. If you’ve recently inherited a piece of jewelry, you should start looking for appraisal options right away, you may be surprised when you find out what you can get from it!

Why Is It Important to Get an Expert Appraisal?

Assessing precious metal prices is a complex process that requires the work of a professional, especially if you’re planning on selling fine jewelry.

Getting an appraisal ensures you understand all the factors associated with your jewelry, which in turn helps you find the best selling price possible.

There are four values you must consider when getting your appraisal value, including:

Insurance Replacement Price

It represents the amount you would have to pay to replace a piece of jewelry that’s at least comparable in terms of design and quality in case it’s stolen, lost, or damaged.

Even though insurance appraisals can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of coverage, it may not be the most important value to consider when evaluating the selling price of your piece.

Estate Retail Value

The estate retail value represents how much an individual buyer would pay for your piece of jewelry based on its current fair market value.

In this particular case, the buyer considers common factors like demand, market trends, and rarity.

Estate Liquid Value

Estate liquid value, on the other hand, represents the amount a wholesaler may pay for your jewelry piece. As with the estate retail value, the buyer considers factors such as demand and market trends.

Keep in mind that, most of the time, the liquid value will be lower than the retail value. This is because of the nature of the transaction type.

Intrinsic Value

This is one of the easiest yet complicated factors to consider. This is because, even though it’s not hard to calculate this kind of value, not every qualified jewelry appraiser will give you the same price for your piece.

Intrinsic value represents the worth of your jewelry based on other factors like historical relevance or sentimental value. Even though a reputable jeweler may still consider its materials, demand, and market value, they’re more likely to focus on the other factors we mentioned above.

Of course, it can be hard for someone other than yourself to calculate this, as sentimental value is something personal to each owner. A willing buyer may not give the same importance to your jewelry as you unless it has some kind of historical significance.

What Can You Expect from a Professional Jewelry Appraiser?

.Getting your estate appraisal is the first step toward selling your jewelry. If you don’t do this, you risk getting less money than what the piece is worth.

What can you expect from appraisal services? It depends on who you hire. According to the American Society of Appraisers, an expert appraisal should:

  • Specify all the qualifications/certifications of the appraiser.
  • Describe the piece that’s being valued.
  • State the kind of value being assessed, which can be fair market value, replacement value, liquidation value, etc.
  • Describe all the procedures used to come up with the final estimate.

The appraisal document should also include the appraiser’s signature.

There are many ways to appraise precious metals. An expert will examine the piece thoroughly and complete a few steps, including:

  • Testing the metal used in its construction.
  • Identifying jewelry marks or stamps.
  • Examining its stones and settings.

Technically, you could appraise your jewelry yourself, but keep in mind you may not have the necessary tools to do it. Expert jewelry appraisals often include expert tools and techniques to ensure you get the most accurate value possible for your piece.

Thankfully, getting your jewelry appraised isn’t as expensive as you may think. As long as you know where to look, you’ll be able to assess your jewelry value without any problems.

Which Factors Affect the Value of Vintage Jewelry?

As mentioned at the beginning of this page, not all jewelry pieces will have the same value. Even if you think your vintage jewelry might be worth a lot of money, you must get a professional appraisal to make sure.

There are a few factors that will influence how much you could get for your estate jewelry, and we’ll explain them all below:


The rarer the materials used to craft your jewelry, the more money you may get from it. You may get more from pieces made of gold, silver, and platinum. This is because they’re more durable and “timeless” compared to other materials.

You must also keep in mind that most materials are graded based on their purity. The more “pure” the metal is, the more valuable it’ll be.

Some diamonds and gemstones can also have plenty of value, depending on their clarity, color, and cut. If you have rare gemstones like emeralds or rubies, you can expect to get a lot of money for your piece.

Regardless of what you have, don’t try to sell your pieces without getting an appraisal first.


Rare jewelry is more likely to fetch a higher selling price. In other words, the more “unique” your piece is, the more likely it is that you’ll get more money from it.

Antique jewelry is known for having special designs, so it’s possible that you could get a great price for it. Any factor that makes your jewelry rare will increase its value.


Jewelry can wear down with time, depending on how it was taken care of. If there are any signs of damage or repairs on the piece, you could get a much lower price for it.

On the contrary, estate jewelry that’s in great condition will get a much higher price. Most buyers will be more likely to buy something that has been kept in good shape.

If you have an old piece of jewelry, make sure it’s stored somewhere safe, and keep it clean.


Some jewelry materials are sought after by enthusiasts and collectors. Unique or designed pieces are likely to fetch higher prices since more people are looking for them.

The greater the demand, the more you could make from your piece. If you have something that’s in high demand, you could even negotiate with several buyers until you reach a selling price you consider appropriate.

Market Trends

Evaluating market trends will help you understand what most people are looking for in jewelry today. As the years pass, the demand for certain materials and styles changes.

As you may have guessed, if your jewelry is currently in high demand, it may be a great time to sell it. This is why you must keep up with market trends so that you have a better idea of when you should sell your piece.


Antique jewelry made by reputable brands or designers is likely to fetch a high price. This could be because of the craftsmanship, collectability, or the reputation of the maker.

In most cases, you will be able to identify who made your jewelry by looking at their mark or signature on the piece. You can also get a professional jewelry appraiser to help you.

Where Can You Find an Appraiser for Antique Jewelry in Your Area?

We’ve mentioned plenty of times that you should look for an expert appraiser before selling your antique jewelry, but where can you find one?

The good news is that you can find these professionals in many places. Whether you look online or locally, many experts will be more than happy to examine your jewelry.

You must look for someone with the right qualifications. Technically, anyone can claim they’re an appraiser, but if they don’t have the right skills, tools, or certifications, you risk getting a poor examination of your piece.

You may be tempted to go to your local jewelry store, but we suggest you consider more than one expert to be sure. If you have the time, you can also check online to find marketplaces or individual appraisers. The more options you have, the better.

There are also many industry groups that may give you information about where to find the right appraisers in your area. These include:

  • Accredited Gemologists Association
  • American Gem Society
  • American Society of Appraisers
  • Appraisers Association of America
  • Appraisers International Society
  • National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
  • Jewelry Judge

Where Can You Sell Your Estate Jewelry?

Once you get your appraisal, it’s time to sell! There are four different options you can consider to sell, and you’re free to choose the one that feels more convenient.

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces are among the most practical options on the list. This is because many platforms can connect you with buyers worldwide.

Some marketplaces also offer appraisal services by scheduling an appointment, which is great if you’re looking to sell as fast as possible.

If you’re going down this route, make sure you take your time to do research. Not all marketplaces are trustworthy. Look for reviews, and only go for the websites that have a great reputation.


Estate sales and auctions are great places to sell your jewelry. Most of the time, the people attending these events have a better appreciation for estate jewelry, meaning you could fetch a higher price for them.

The difference between estate sales and auctions is that the former is a more “intimate” event where buyers can look through different items, whereas the latter tends to attract collectors willing to pay more money for some pieces.

As with the previous option, make sure you do research about market trends and the value of your piece so that you can negotiate accordingly.

Expert Appraisers

Individual appraisers are sometimes willing to buy your piece. Reputable ones will tell you right away if you have valuable jewelry on your hands and how much you can truly get from it.

Since they’re more knowledgeable than many other sellers, it’s possible that you could get a better price for your jewelry.

Antique Dealers

As the name implies, antique dealers specialize in older pieces. These kinds of businesses and dealers attract buyers who are interested in antique jewelry, so this may be a great opportunity to get a great price for your pieces.

Bottom Line

We hope this page has helped you understand how you can get the most value from your estate jewelry.

If you’re planning on selling, you better prepare and consider all your options so that you can find the right price for your pieces.

As long as you take care of your estate jewelry and get different appraisals, you will get a better idea of which option is more convenient for you.


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