Understanding pricing and value when selling your jewelry

Set realistic expectations and get fair market value

How to Sell Estate Jewelry in Ohio

Selling jewelry can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’ve inherited an estate you know little about. So, understanding pricing and setting realistic expectations is essential.

Below are some helpful tips to take the frustration and ambiguity out of selling your jewelry, while answering tough questions like: Will I receive a fair price for my jewelry? Or why is the retail price or appraisal value so much higher than the resale offer?

That said, if I could only help you understand one thing through this article, it would be that regardless of what you may have paid, what someone tells you should get paid, or what your appraisal says your jewelry is worth: the only true measure of your jewelry’s value is what an actual buyer is willing to pay for it at the time of sale. Period.

Now, let’s answer some of your questions…

Why is my Resale Offer so Much Less than the Retail Price?

Everyone knows that the value of a new car drops by around 40% the moment it’s driven out of the dealership. But, what most people don’t know is that jewelry buying and selling works in a similar way.

With jewelry, the original retail price is inflated to cover business expenses: employee wages, rent for the building, marketing, electricity, etc. As in every business, jewelry stores need to cover their costs and make a profit. Therefore, the retail price of jewelry is usually double or triple the wholesale price.

Also like cars, the value of jewelry usually depreciates over time. Driven by fashion trends, some jewelry styles might be popular for decades, while others fall out of favor in just a few months. Some styles become so undesirable that the only value is the jewelry’s intrinsic worth, ie. the value of the raw materials. And of course, jewelry shows signs of wear with usage and time.

On the other hand, some Antique or Vintage jewelry pieces—just like vintage cars—are highly collectible and may fetch a premium price, far exceeding the items’ intrinsic value. Knowing if your jewelry is a collectible antique can mean the difference of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Why is my Jewelry Appraisal so Much Higher Than my Resale Offer?

Many people get confused about why their resale offer may be as low as 30% of their jewelry’s appraised value.

Using the car example once again, though your car is insured for its original purchase price, you wouldn’t expect to receive the full insured value if you decided to sell it secondhand. A used car is always worth less than the original retail price. In other words, when it comes to cars, there is a big difference between the insurance replacement value and resale value. The same goes for jewelry.

When people get their newly purchased jewelry appraised, the appraisal states the item’s “Retail Replacement Value”, or in other words, what it would cost to replace it with the same or equivalent piece. However, this value is often above what an insurance company would actually be willing to pay in case of loss.


Selling jewelry can be overwhelming, but equipped with the right knowledge and tools, it can be extremely rewarding. As with most things, when it comes to getting the best advice and value, it pays to work with a specialist.