Selling Old Jewelry

By Doug Mayberry

July 1, 2019 4 min read

Q: I have a bunch of old, outdated family jewelry that none of my children are interested in. I have no idea if the items are even worth much.

I've figured out the rest of my estate plans, and I think the best option for me is to sell these old pieces and split the cash fairly between my heirs.

The only problem is I don't know where to start! I don't know anything about jewelry, and I'd like to get a fair price.

How do I go about finding the value of what I own?

A: First, get your jewelry appraised by a professional.

Look for someone who belongs to the American Society of Appraisers, International Society of Appraisers or National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Members of these organizations adhere to ethics and standards that will help protect you.

For the appraisal process, your fee should be either per item or per hour — not a percentage of the value of the item appraised! More complex pieces, with intricate settings or multiple elements, will take the appraiser more time.

Ask your appraiser if your jewelry would be worth more as it is or if you sold the components off separately. You can ask for a "melt" price, which tells you the value of precious metals in your jewelry.

You're unlikely to sell your jewelry for the estimated price. Your resale price will likely be much lower, due to retail profit margins and labor costs. Appraisals are frequently done for insurance purposes and, therefore, calculate the replacement cost of your belongings — not what they're worth to someone else.

One selling option is to look online. Although you will find a larger market, there is more risk involved. Before selling, do your research. If you're selling to a company, check them out with the Better Business Bureau first.

If selling to a local store, you should get at least three estimates (more for more expensive items). Get these offers in writing; tell the buyer you are shopping around to get them to commit to their best offer.

If selling to individuals online, check the website's selling and commission fees. Although you'll likely get a better price for your jewelry, the website may take a big enough cut that it's not worth it. Additionally, this process requires more of your time and effort.

If you have the time, don't rush the process. Finding the best value takes time. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter


Q: I just moved into a new retirement community and am not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I haven't made a strong bond with any of my neighbors, and it's a pretty quiet, sleepy place. I thought living near other seniors would help me feel more connected to others.

Have I made a mistake in thinking that moving here would solve my loneliness?

A: Take advantage of the opportunities of living in the community.

Many seniors move into a retirement community because they are seeking to form new bonds. These communities usually have a slew of communal activities and facilities in which you can meet others.

It's up to you to pursue these opportunities — and the earlier the better. Don't get set into a new routine alone, as it will be hard to break.

Your experience is dependent on you. If you choose to seek others out, you will see some results. Passively expecting things to happen is unreliable: You may have something good happen, but there's no guarantee!

Make choices that will get you what you want. — Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay

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