Whether it’s your diamond engagement ring or a piece of jewelry you have stashed away from a deceased relative’s estate, it’s always helpful to know what your jewelry is worth so that you can make smart financial decisions down the road
How to Determine the Worth
Jewelry is one of the more difficult items when it comes to determining worth. There are a myriad of factors involved and worth is often in the eye of the beholder. However, if you’re trying to get a rough estimate in order to figure out what to do, the following factors will shed some light on the situation.
1. Determine Material
Jewelry can be deceptive. You might think you have a gold band with a massive diamond setting, but it’s possible that it’s nothing more than gold-plated metal with cubic zirconia. This isn’t meant to scare you, but should be a wakeup call. Before getting too far along in the valuation process, do yourself a favor and determine the material.
“Generally gold and silver are heavier metals than their fake counterparts like brass and pewter. If you find a thicker gold chain that feels much lighter than a similar gold chain you have, the chain is likely fake or hollow gold,” Lauren Thomann writes for The Spruce. “Fake chains feel fake. Solid gold jewelry is very smooth, heavy, and consistent throughout.”
2. Check Precious Metal Values
Platinum, gold, silver, and other precious metals actually have financial value attached to them in the marketplace. Much like stocks, precious metal values fluctuate up and down over time. A gold ring purchased 40 years ago is going to be worth more now, simply based on the fact that gold prices have increased substantially over this period.
While the value of a specific piece of jewelry isn’t going to coincide perfectly with the rise and fall of a precious metal spot chart, this can provide some much-needed context.
3. Consider Unique Features
The size of a diamond is important when assigning value to a ring, but it’s not the only factor. If you know much about diamonds, then you know that there are five “C’s” used to judge value: cut, color, carat weight, clarity, and confidence.
Cut is of supreme importance. A diamond with a simple cut isn’t going to be worth nearly as much as a diamond with a rare cut. For example, vintage cuts – such as an Old European cut – can be worth thusands of dollars more because collectors have a special interest in them.
4. See a Professional Jeweler or Appraiser
At the end of the day, an amateur like yourself isn’t qualified to assign a true value to a piece of jewelry. You can do some research on your own and come up with a rough estimate, but it’s incredibly unlikely that you get close to the actual monetary figure. Seeing a professional jewelry or appraiser is the best thing you can do.
Monetary Value vs. Sentimental Value
While the factors discussed in this article all touch on the monetary value of jewelry, it’s equally important that you consider sentimental value as well.
A particular necklace, as a physical product, might only be worth $250 if you were to sell it to a jeweler. However, if that necklace belonged to your deceased mother who gave it to you as she was dying, it’s probably worth way more to you. In your eyes, it might as well be worth $250,000.
As you try to place value on your jewelry, remember to weigh monetary value and sentimental value accordingly. This is the true test of worth and will help you decide whether to sell, hold, or pass on to others.