by Heather S. Bormann
Have you ever inherited a piece of old jewelry from a loved one and wondered, “What do
I do with this?” If so, this article is for you.
There are some helpful tips here, both for selling an item like this, as well as how to best enjoy it. Not all of us are lucky enough to have inherited a piece of jewelry, but if fortune has smiled on you in this way, I hope these recommendations are useful to you.
As a jeweler, the number one question I am asked most is “Do you buy jewelry?” from
people who find themselves in this situation. Bear in mind, it is never the grannie or auntie in her later stages of life calling me up to ask “Will you buy my life’s treasures from me so I can split
the cash value amongst my relatives?”, but always those who have been gifted these items after their loved one has passed on. Please let me say, before I can answer the “What do I do?”
Questions, I would like to get to the “Why do I have this ring?” part of the equation, first.
When a person chooses to spend his or her hard-earned money on a jewelry item, it was
more than likely a way of collecting a bit of joy that they could hold in their hand. That is all a piece of jewelry is. A wearable treasure, sometimes made from long-lasting materials, that serves as a marker in time for life’s special events and occasions. They are not stocks, bonds, investments, or cashier’s checks. You have just inherited a thing from a person that brought them a smile, a sense of pride, and a heartfelt story connected to the piece. My first answer to
“What do I do with this?” will always be to wear and enjoy it, even if it does not fit your own
personal style. I do not care if you think it is ugly. It is the memory of this loved one you are holding close to you each time you wear it. You are honoring their memory by choosing to enjoy
that which brought them a smile. Wear that ring.
Alright, my sentimental side has shared enough. Now I will answer your “How do I sell
this wedding ring of my aunt for as much cash as possible?” questions. This is not an easy
answer to hear, but the longer you wait to sell it, likely, the more money you can sell it for.
The quicker you want the cash, the less cash you might get. Jewelry stores and online merchants pay top dollar for either a strong mall presence, web presence, or hefty advertising bucks to draw a broad range of shopping customers to their doors to see if their jewelry offerings can fit
the discriminating tastes and budgets of the potential jewelry shoppers of this world. It’s not
about what piece you have inherited, but what is the global demand for the exact type of item you have acquired? Who wants what you are trying to sell? The jewelry store already has suppliers in place for newer, shinier goods than your inherited ring is, so you would need to sell this ring to them for less than they can buy new, better goods, in order for that purchase to make sense to them.
If you are unsure about the quality or makeup of this item you have inherited, head to
your closest local trusted jeweler and ask them to clean and inspect the piece for you. They might point out to you some repairs the item needs, but tell them that right now you are simply trying to get a good understanding of how this item looks when it is clean. You don’t need to tell them your motives just yet; sit back and allow them to tell you what they see when they examine it closely after cleaning it for you. The more interesting your piece is, the more questions they will ask you about it.
If you are in a store that is uninterested in cleaning your ring for free and they do not
offer advice or tips for good jewelry care, then move along to a different jeweler. These are not the right people for the job. You want to find a jeweler who wants to make sure you are enjoying your jewelry properly.
Then you have found a place you can trust.
Remember when I said that this could take some time? It can take a few stops to find a
jewelry store that wants you to fully understand what you have and honestly give you the best
advice for the most advantageous decision you can make. The more places you visit, the more clearly your image of the piece will come into view. If you have a ring that requires repairs that far exceed the cash value of the item, you need to know this. Don’t let anyone talk you into
expensive repairs unless they are qualified to justify the value in the piece they are assessing
for you. Follow your gut, and patience will pay off. If a store offers you cash on the spot for the item, ask them to write it down for you. If the offer is good enough to be put to paper, it is probably a fair offer. When you are able to sit down later and look over all of your notes and offers from every place you have visited, you will have a better sense of what offer to pursue.
I will leave you with one final piece of advice, and that is what my grandmother Joyce
Sutherland told me “Never sell a watch or a piece of jewelry unless it will change your life”. If your life is to remain the same, you might as well feel more elegant and bejeweled in the process. Wear that ring.
There are many types of earring styles available, making it difficult to choose what to wear, and even harder to decide what to purchase when picking a pair of earrings for the perfect gift. Should the earrings dangle and catch people’s attention? Should the earrings be understated, small and close to the ear? If I go for a hoop, how large is too large? The number of options can be as overwhelming as the opinions that are available on this subject.
Well, you’ll never know until you try, and do try them all! If you are choosing the perfect earrings for a special occasion, give yourself time while getting dressed to try on a few options. Look in the mirror after your hair is styled, to make sure you are seeing the right balance of impact and subtlety you are going for. They should catch the eye, but not detract from your overall look. There are no rules about when to choose a hoop, a stud or a dangle, but it’s important that the chosen earrings do not compete or clash with the necklace that is worn. When choosing a really dramatic earring, in any style category, the loudest version can always safely be paired with no necklace at all, bearing in mind that it’s easier for a necklace to compete with an outfit than your earrings. If you are making the decision on which style of earrings to purchase as a gift, ask for help, and have someone try them on so you can see them on someone. Then, try and imagine the earrings on the recipient to see if you think that’s an attractive look. A gift does not need to be a carbon copy of something the person already owns. The gift of jewelry is a sentiment that says “this made me think of you”, and no one can have too many earring styles in their life.
Choosing the right earrings for work, however, can be less of a tricky decision, and more of a very dull business.
Conservative styles such as stud earrings and tiny hoops can be a safe choice if flash and flare are not appropriate for the work atmosphere, but mix-matching these can add a little spice to an another wise ordinary accessory choice. A small, sparkly aquamarine stud in one ear and the same size white pearl in the other ear may not catch everyone’s attention around you, but the pay off you will enjoy comes from the feeling of making a fun accessory decision on what would be just an ordinary Tuesday.
How large is too large? The question of the ages in the hoop department! Size does not matter, but how they hang on the ear absolutely does. No matter how attractive the earring, if it pulls the lobe down in a stressed or wrinkled way, this will take away from the attractiveness of the earring, and even cause discomfort while wearing them. If the hoop is large, but sits nicely on the lobe and doesn’t create any drag or pull downwards, try the next size larger and see if the same is true. Just go for it!
Life is short. Wear the hoops. Buy the dangles. Mix the studs.