Estate JewelryI often get asked what I will pay for jewelry, and to be perfectly honest, this is not a question I can answer without seeing the piece.  This is also a question that gets asked to me at least 50 times a day because my business is not just based in Houston.

Because I buy jewelry from all over the United States and even some overseas I get a lot of calls and inevitably the first question is…

Yo, Jewelry Buyer, what’s my jewelry worth?

Is Your Jewelry Worth a Trip to Houston?

First, let me make it very clear that I never put a value on anything without seeing it with my own two eyes and having it in my big ham hands.  Any jewelry buyer who will give you a price for your jewelry without seeing it is not a jewelry buyer that you should trust.  Second, there is only so much you can see with a photo, so here are a few things that I will look for when you send me a picture before I will even decide if it is worth your time and mine to have you send the piece to me.

  • From the picture how does the condition look?
  • What is the style or period of the piece?
  • If the stone is a gemstone, how does the color and size look?
  • Is it a signed piece by a designer?
  • Does the piece come with the original box and papers?

Your Jewelry Is Going on a Jet Plane!

If your jewelry is something that I am interested in, then we arrange to get it to Houston so I can take a look at it.  Once it gets here, I have a new set of criteria that I place on each piece before I ever put a price on the item.

  • Is the piece marked with a stamp for the metal or does it have a hallmark?
  • If the piece has a stone, what are the exact dimensions and weight?
  • This takes measurements, calculations and weighing
  • Examining the stone through the loupe and possibly the microscope
  • Checking for inclusions, fractures and chips and cracks
  • Testing the metal to see if it is stamped correctly and weighing it to get the weight in grams
  • If there are multiple stones, measuring and adding up total carat weight of all stones
  • Pricing per carat the weight of stones and pricing the weight of the metal in grams based on the current price of the gem and the metal for that day
  • Researching various other pieces that are similar to see what they have sold for around the internet, as well as calling other resources for sales numbers and future interest
  • Meeting with my team to discuss the purchase and price of the piece
  • Putting it aside to think about it

Say What, Jewelry Buyer?

Sometimes it’s not so simple as to be able to make a snap decision on buying a piece of estate jewelry.  In fact, it rarely is that simple.  You see, when I add any piece of estate jewelry to our inventory, I have to think in terms of how long it will sit, what is the resale and the current market for that piece, do I have any buyers for it or do I have any other wholesalers that I can possibly make a trade with.

When I buy a piece of jewelry, that money comes out of my pocket and there is no guarantee that I will get a return on my investment for a long time, if ever.  This is something that I think if really important for the customer to know.  It’s not like we turn around and sell it the next day and make oodles of money off your piece.  We don’t.

We go through a process once it’s in our inventory, which I will go into next week, but take my word for it, it can be weeks, months and sometimes years before I see a penny of profit on what I have bought from you, and sometimes I don’t get any profit!

Show Me The Money, Jewelry Buyer!

Okay, Okay.  If I decide to buy your jewelry, I give you a call and send you a check.  It’s that simple.  If I decide to not buy it, I give you a call and send it back to you, very carefully packed via FedEx next day air.  It’s also that simple.

The Bottom Line

Being a jewelry buyer may seem glamorous and sometimes it is, but the fact is, it is a lot of work and hustle and then there is a big question mark of the not knowing if what you bought will sell or not.  I am very careful in pricing everything that comes across my desk and pricing it fairly.  I am meticulous and thorough, and THAT is why I have the repeat business and testimonials that I have.

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