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What Do You Do With Old Jewelry?

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On a weekly basis we have customers come into the store and ask us if we would like to purchase any of their selection of old jewelry. We open their decrepit bag and a little puff of dust fills the air as we reach into the abyss. We pull out their great grandmothers diamond necklace that broke thirty years ago, that even she didn’t know what to do with. We all have it, that little bag of “sentimental” jewelry that has staked land in the back corner of our sock drawer. So here we arrive at the burning question, what do you do with old jewelry?

The first option would be to keep it stored away in a box somewhere letting it continue to collect dust. Obviously, this is not the preferred option. So many times people come into the store with beautiful and irreplaceable items that deserve to be worn! You could be sitting on a goldmine (pardon the pun) and not even realize. Just last week we had a customer come in store with a handful of old rings she found that her mother had stashed away years ago. Upon further investigation by our gemologist, she came to find out that she had an incredible 14 karat gold ring with a real 3 carat pink tourmaline in the center! Her ring was estimated to cost at least $3,000 in today’s prices, yet it was sitting in a box. Of course, that situation doesn’t happen all the time, but why take the chance? Why let something valuable sit out of sight, when you could enjoy it?
The second option would be to sell your piece. Obviously, if this is your deceased grandmother’s one-of-a-kind diamond wedding ring, this doesn’t apply to you. However, if you have gold necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc… sitting around and they have no sentimental value, sell it! We do caution you against selling jewelry on things like Craigslist. We would hope that it would be obvious that meeting up with a random person in a dark parking lot somewhere with just yourself and your $5,000 wedding set is a good way to get robbed, but it never hurts to give a good warning. Thankfully, there are several (safe) ways to get money for your old pieces. The very first thing you will want to do is look in your area for jewelry stores that are members of the American Gem Society, or AGS. When a store is a member of AGS they are dedicated to customer protection and honesty. Now, we aren’t saying that other jewelry stores aren’t honest, however members of AGS have been proven to be honest. If you are doing something like selling old jewelry, wouldn’t you want to be sure that you are getting the best deal? That’s why we suggest AGS stores, so you get the proper price for your pieces! Next, most jewelry stores that do custom/repair work will buy your old gold. These pieces can be melted down and made into something else. Think of it like organ donation, your piece can help save a new piece from breaking, never to be worn again! Ok... that might be a little bit of a stretch, but you get the picture. The other selling option is if you have a nice antique piece or something that needs to be sold as-is, you can always ask your AGS jeweler or check out antique shows/estate jewelers. It never hurts to take your piece in to let them see if it’s something they would like to purchase and resell. Sometimes all your jewelry might need is a little T.L.C. to get it back to buying condition! If your jeweler likes the piece, they will give you an honest offer. We must make note that you cannot expect to get 100% of the selling price from the person who is buying your piece. There might need to be some work done to the piece to get it back to selling condition which costs money and time, and they will need to make some profit. It’s not a bad idea to take your piece around to a few different places and see what they offer.
(Here’s a pro tip: Clean your piece before taking it somewhere to sell. A clean, sparkling ring is much more appealing than one that has gunk stuck in it from 20 years ago.)
The third option is our personal favorite, remake your piece. It is amazing what can be done with a couple old necklaces and a diamond ring with a broken band. These pieces can be completely custom designed into something that you will love with the sentimentality of the original pieces. About a year ago, we had a customer come in with a diamond heart necklace from his girlfriend’s grandmother and his mother’s previous wedding set. He had the wild idea of making an engagement ring from the old pieces. He talked with us about what he was looking for and we created the custom design. Once he approved the design, we got to work. We used the diamonds from both the necklace and the ring, and we used the gold that was from the previous pieces to fashion an incredible round halo engagement ring. The result was stunning, but what was even more meaningful was that it was created from such sentimental pieces. The beauty of custom design is that it can be almost anything you desire! If you would like to see a little bit more about the custom design process, click here. If the idea of custom design scares you, maybe go for a little less of a drastic change. Maybe you have this old pendant that has a nice setting but your center stone is cubic zirconia. Why not change out your CZ for a beautiful ruby? Perhaps you have your dad’s plain gold wedding band. Why not size it down and wear it as a thumb ring? There are a million different ways for you to take an old piece and make it your own, all you need to do is ask!
Some rainy Saturday, when you’re stuck in your house, go through your sock drawer and pull out those old pieces. We encourage you to take them to a jeweler to get checked out! Think of all the possibilities that are just sitting, collecting dust!


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