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How to sell estate jewelry (antique and vintage) at the best price

How to sell estate jewelry (antique and vintage) at the best price

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Wondering how to sell expensive jewelry and inherited jewelry such as your grandma’s vintage fine estate jewelry? Look no further, Raymond Lee Jewelers is here to offer you CASH for estate jewelry, precious metals, silver/gold coins, diamonds, and everything (authentic) in between. We are your premiere estate jewelry buyers. If you are ready to start selling unused jewelry, whether it has sentimental value or not, read this article, then contact us today.

If you are looking for a good buyer to sell your estate jewelry at the best price, you have landed at the right place. It can be quite challenging selling old and vintage jewelry due to the complexities and changes of the luxury jewelry market.

Navigating through the numerous methods to find the best way sell inherited jewelry can take up copious amounts of time. And, finding a trustworthy antique jewelry buyer to sell to can take even longer. Especially if you want to secure the most money for your heirloom or luxury piece of jewelry.

We wrote this article to teach you how to sell estate jewelry. To tell you where to sell estate jewelry. And, we hope this will give you a better understanding of the estate jewelry market in general.

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What is estate jewelry?

It’s important to know the differences between certain estate jewelry and how they are classified. Estate jewelry is technically defined as any jewelry that is pre-owned, however, the term is usually used in regards to jewelry that is part of a deceased individual’s overall estate. They are often pieces of jewelry that have distinct pieces and designs from decades before. It is quite common for estate jewelry to be passed down generation after generation. Many of these pieces were crafted in the 1800s and 1900s. There are two main ways to classify estate jewelry: Antique or Vintage. Here are the defining factors between the two.

Antique Jewelry

Antique jewelry pieces are at least a century old. These are universally the most collectible. The main features that decide the price of antique jewelry are rarity, design, age, and provenance. It’s truly captivating to imagine that these items were crafted over 100 years ago. The majority of antique jewelry pieces that we see, on a monthly basis, are from the USA or Europe.

Vintage Jewelry

Vintage jewelry items were made within the last 100 years. They can be classified as 20 years or older. They are often collectibles due to them not being mass-produced. Currently, the 1930s to 1980s are the ages of vintage jewelry that are highly sought out.

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Where to sell estate jewelry

The best place to sell estate jewelry, whether antique, vintage or luxury, is with a reputable jeweler. However, you must make sure they specialize in estate jewelry. There are numerous trustworthy jewelers across the States and online that you would be best to deal with if you plan to sell estate jewelry. So as long as you research the company’s reputation, you won’t have to worry about getting ripped off. The best jewelers offer the most competitive cash price for estate jewelry.

Put simply, a jeweler can manage the process from A-Z.

  • They can appraise estate jewelry
  • Repair estate jewelry
  • Clean estate jewelry
  • And, they will buy estate jewelry.

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Why should you sell estate jewelry to Raymond Lee Jewelers?

We, at Raymond Lee Jewelers based out of Boca Raton (with our retail store Diamonds by Raymond Lee in Boca as well), are specialty antique and vintage jewelry buyers. Our team comprises of world-class experts who have a complete understanding of the estate jewelry market. We have been doing this for many years. Our goal is always to achieve 100% customer satisfaction and to build long-term relationships with our clients, whether they are buying OR selling luxury jewelry.

Raymond Lee Jewelers makes the selling process simple by giving you all the information you need in one place. Our online process allows you to expedite the process or you can visit our retail store. We are the one-stop-shop for luxury jewelry. Our GIA gemologists are always on staff so we can tell you precisely what your estate jewelry is worth. We can clean and fix up any issues your antique jewelry might have. And, we can buy your vintage item for cash on the spot. All it takes is a simple appointment or walk-in. Note: Our online process takes up to 24 hours and you will receive payment immediately after accepting the price.

We aim to give you the highest competitive market price with the quickest turnaround – If in person it is on the spot; online can take around 24 hours.

We are one of the top jewelry destinations in South Florida with a BBB A+ rating. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook where our following amounts to over 550,000 followers.

“How to know if my estate jewelry is antique or vintage?”

It is extremely common for people to inherit jewelry that has some or practically no information. However, if you want to sell it, it can be difficult to do research on your own to figure out what that jewelry piece is worth. You might not even be sure if it is actually antique or vintage. Not to worry, though. At Raymond Lee Jewelers, we have experts on staff at all times and it is our duty to help. With an examination, we can tell you all the information and facts you need to know about your estate jewelry. We will research the market for you so we determine the most competitive price.

Manufacturers & Brands that we are interested in purchasing:

  • Asprey
  • Boucheron
  • Buccelatti
  • Bulgari
  • Cartier
  • Caldwell
  • Chanel
  • Chaumet
  • Christopher Dresser
  • David Webb
  • Faberge
  • Fouquet
  • Garrard
  • Georg Jensen
  • Harry Winston
  • Hector Aguilar
  • Liberty & Co.
  • Marcus & Co.
  • Oscar Hayman Bros
  • Raymond Yard
  • Rolex
  • Seaman Schepps
  • Schlumberger
  • Shreve Crump & Low
  • Tiffany
  • Van Cleef & Arpels

Contact us if you don’t see your estate jewelry’s brand on this list. The list above is not all that we purchase.

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Sell estate jewelry online:

At Raymond Lee Jewelers we provide you with a seamless and reliable process to sell your estate jewelry online. Our goal is to offer you the most accurate price and ensure that you not only get the right amount but aslo that the end results satisfy you as well.

How it works:

  1. Fill out our online form and in the ‘message’ section let us know that you want to sell your watch to us.

  2. We will email you back shortly requesting pictures and any documents that you may have.

  3. We will coordinate the purchase of your watch from there.

Once we have all the information, we will make you an offer and provide assurance of the sale.

If you accept, we will send you a prepaid label to ship the item to us. The label is for overnight, fully insured shipping to our store in Boca Raton (Raymond Lee Jewelers).

From there, we send you a check or bank transfer (depending on your preference) the same day we receive your watch.

We make sure the sale/purchase of your watch is intimate and we follow up with a phone call or email (depending on what you prefer) to finalize everything. We strive for 100% satisfaction in both efficiency and experience.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

How much will you receive when you sell estate jewelry?

As I am sure you can imagine, that is impossible to say without seeing your item. Nonetheless, we promise and guarantee that it is in our best interest to make you a competitive offer. Our reputation means the world to us. We also see every transaction as a possibility to make a long-term customer relationship. We will do everything to research your item and offer you as much money as possible, however, we must keep in mind the current condition of the market.

Factors for determining the value of Estate Jewelry:

  • Historic Period
  • Intrinsic Value
  • Condition
  • Rarity
  • Collectability & Demand

Historic Periods for Antique and Vintage Jewelry:

There has been widespread acceptance of certain historic periods of jewelry. These specific styles that have been well accepted are actively traded more than other time periods. Some historic periods have come and went in terms of being favored and valued higher. So, you might think, the older it is the more valuable. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Yet, experts who understand the market are still willing and able to accept pieces that go beyond the wants and needs of their local market.

Currently, the hottest collectible jewelry comes from the Art Deco and Edwardian historic times.

Let’s us discuss a bit about each of the historic times that make up the most valuable antique and vintage jewelry. The style significance and origin will add to the value of any antique or vintage jewelry.

Georgian Jewelry: Early 1700’s to 1830’s

The Georgian Era extends the rule of four English Kings called George. Jewelry from the Georgian Era often had stones set in silver with a metal back. Rose Cut or Old Mine Cut diamonds were paired with popular styles of the time, like foliage, ribbons, flowers or even animals. Items from this era were handmade, so they show slight irregularities. The stone cuts are cruder than in later eras. If you have a Georgian Era piece, it has incredible status as a collectible due to the fact that Georgian Jewelry is so rare. Much of the items were melted and reused in later eras due to them being considered as “too old fashion”.

Victorian Jewelry: 1837 to 1901

Victorian Jewelry marked a time of prosperity. It was when the rise of the middle class and industrial revolution took place. The era, named after Queen Victoria, was when Great Britain became a major jewelry hub. The styles of that time used intricate parts made of rare shells, seed pearls, and stones. Jewelry was often designed with an animal theme. The Victorian Era is separated into three time periods: Romantic, Grand and Late Victorian.

Art Nouveau Jewelry: Early 1890 to 1914

By the end of the 19th Century, the Victorian era attitude had shifted, which created a strong cultural movement. With that came sensual women with voluptuous designs. A vitreous enameling technique called plique-a-jour was used which allowed for more light to shine through. Common styles during this period were designs of women with abounding hair, flowers, animals and beautiful insects.

Edwardian Jewelry: 1901 to 1910

With the death of Queen Victoria came the reign of King Edward VII. This era was famous for the return of elegance. It was when jewelry started being made from platinum. The advancement of technology made for faster manufacturing, decreased costs, and production on a large scale. New methods for cutting and setting diamonds allowed for stones to appear more refined. Gems that were most common and revered were diamonds, colored stones, and pearls.

Art Deco Jewelry: 1920 to 1939

Art Deco jewelry made for a dazzling rebirth after the First World War. The jewelry had exciting, luxurious features. You can easily recognize Art Deco jewelry from the symmetrical arrangements and repeated designs. They commonly utilized pyramids and stepped ziggurats structures. It was a time when linearity and geometric forms were first emphasized. Although the development of Art Deco was in France, it was essentially an American sensation. The movement of “The Roaring Twenties”, amongst other global events, profoundly energized the change to decorative arts.

Retro Modern Jewelry: 1935 to 1955

During this time, American culture had finally become highly recognized in Europe. Hollywood stars were great influencers of styles, as they are still to this day. Jewelry became very flashy. Gold took on a new role due to the war effort of the time. By using different allows, they were able to produce many colors of gold. Scrolls, bows and radical curves were extremely popular. Rubies became a “hot” gem to use when making jewelry.

Currently, people widely collect jewelry pieces from the 1970s-80s.

As with everything, jewelry goes through fads and phases of popularity. It may be out of style now, but in 10 years it could be back and worth a lot more – this is something to consider if you plan to sell your estate jewelry.

Rare estate jewelry from any of these eras can be extremely unique and rare (potentially one of a kind). So, if you have any question of what your jewelry is worth, it is best to speak with an expert.

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Intrinsic Value:

Intrinsic value is what the jewelry is worth for just the “rocks and metal” itself. By not taking your antique or vintage jewelry to an expert, the only offer you might get is of the intrinsic value. This wouldn’t be ideal. It’s a value based off of melting the jewelry down, not keeping it intact. However, of course, there are premiums that go far beyond the intrinsic value, such as what we have already mentioned (period style), condition, collectability, supply and demand, rarity, brand. Also, if you have the original box that can spike the value up greatly.

Note: Jewelers use an x-ray testing method to verify the quality of the metal, which doesn’t damage the item as it does with an acid test. Most pawnshops use the acid testing method. Avoid acid testing for antique or vintage jewelry.


For this category of judgment, the gentler it has been worn and the more pristine its condition, the greater the value. If an item has been restored, is missing any gems or pieces, or there was a period of mounting followed by restoration with more modern gemstones, the value will be greatly reduced.

Common Problems Areas:

  • Chipped or missing gemstones
  • Worn out prongs
  • Use of lead solder for repair
  • Overly polished to the point of removing details
  • Redesign or remodeling of the piece as it was during the original historic period
  • Cut down in length


This is the most important factor for selling estate jewelry. Even if the piece is only in fair condition, it can still be of high value if it is rare.

Rare items:

Engagement rings in excellent condition
7” long bracelets

Rare by brands:

Boucheron, Tiffany, Fouquet, Cartier, Oscar Hayman, David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpel 

Collectability & Demand

As mentioned above, Art Deco and Edwardian jewelry are currently the most highly collectible. Other historical periods will require more time to find the right buyer to garner the best price. There are periods within the Victorian age that are worth more than other periods. Pins and brooches don’t carry as much value as they aren’t in fashion. The higher the demand for a certain period paired with the condition of the jewelry will highly determine the value of the item in question. An expert in the antique and vintage jewelry market will tell you everything you need to know about the collectability of your estate jewelry.

About Raymond Lee Jeweler:

We are located in Boca Raton, South Florida. Proudly serving the surrounding areas as well: Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Broward County. So, stop by and talk to one of our experts if you are thinking to sell your estate jewelry! We are happy to do an estate jewelry appraisal in Boca Rotan or online! Just contact us if you are interested to get started.

sell estate jewelry

Note for selling estate jewelry:

If you are not authorized to be involved with the estate jewelry, nothing can be done with the items until the estate is legally settled.

Furthermore, the property should be protected, and any expenses paid to do so should be carefully tracked and accounted for so they can be reimbursed from the estate later on. Once the estate is settled, estate jewelry pieces should be appraised to know their true value and background.

Then, depending on marketing conditions, a party can make an educated sale. So, if you want to sell estate jewelry but want to learn more first, read our previous post on Everything You Need To Know About Selling Estate Jewelry.

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