What is The Best Way to Sell Unwanted Jewelry?

To keep or not to keep? Ask your unworn jewelry that question.

Photo: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

Your jewelry box is memory central. The ring one loser wanted back. A charm bracelet your mom insisted on buying. Four sets of pearls, untouched for 10 years. You've got enough stuff languishing in a box or drawer to underwrite a vacation, so keeping it makes no sense. Time to get rid of yesterday's treasures. Maximize your loot by selling pieces individually. Buy something you've wanted with the profits---like that vacation---no jewelry, please.

1.

Become an informed consumer before you bundle everything up and take it on the road. Seek today's prices on the international diamond, gold, gemstone and other commodity markets. These volatile exchanges fluctuate daily so stay apprised of market prices by bookmarking these websites and checking them regularly.

2.

Locate independent jewelry appraisers. Have your collection evaluated piece by piece so you can negotiate sales with more than one buyer down the road. Start your search for reputable appraisers with the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, the American Society of Appraisers and The Gemological Institute of America.

3.

Visit multiple jewelry retailers to start your search for potential buyers. Request a ballpark appraisal on both the entire library and individual pieces. Put on your best poker face when you gather these quotes. Expect to see a variety of figures when you compare these retailer-generated valuations. Importantly, ask jewelers whether your pieces are being considered for resale or scrap. The latter pays 75 cents on the dollar and may account for differences in estimates you've gathered.

4.

List your unwanted jewelry on a website to reach a broader audience. This is where your understanding of the commodities market and the appraisals you gathered will be invaluable. Study the competition. Look for examples similar to the pieces you're selling to establish your selling prices. Determine whether it's worth your while to low ball-items to compete with other sellers when you place your product on eBay and cyberspace boutiques.

5.

Place ads in local publications, on Craigslist and in other media. Buy display ads if you believe your ad will attract more attention; include photos of the collection or individual pieces. Keep in mind the downside of promoting your jewelry in the public arena, however. Attach your ad to your home address and you could wind up with uninvited visitors dropping by at 3 a.m. dressed in their best face masks.

6.

Hold an estate sale. Advertise the sale's date and time in your church bulletin, local newsletters and other community media, inviting the public to see and purchase items in your collection at, for example, a rented room at the public library or community center. Bring along your market research materials to show buyers that you've applied due diligence when assessing the selling prices of your collection. Use your home address only if you're comfortable doing so.

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