What To Do if You've Just Inherited Antique Jewelry

January 30, 2019 3 min read

antique jewelry

So you've just inherited a bunch of jewelry...what now?  Whether you're dealing with heirloom antiques, or less valuable pieces, sifting through everything can be overwhelming.  From care and maintenance, to reselling and restoration, we break down everything you need to know.

Evaluating What You Have

The first step to figuring out what to do with your inherited jewelry is to evaluate what you have and what condition it is in.  Heirloom pieces, be they twenty years old or from the 1800’s, can almost always be restored. This refreshes the piece and makes it secure to wear for another lifetime, without disturbing the spirit of tradition in which it was given.

The first thing to check when evaluating heirlooms is the condition of the prongs.  The prongs are responsible for keeping the stone safe and secure, so check that they are laying flat against the gem, that they are not paper thin, and most importantly, that there are none missing.  Now’s a good time to look at the stone itself, and take note of any cracks or chips that might be a problem in the future.

Next we look at the undercarriage: engagement rings are usually worn alongside wedding bands, and this can cause uneven wear to the sides of the ring.  Finally, check out the shank, or back, of the ring.  This is the area that will be worked on when the ring is sized, so take note of any engravings you’d like to keep for sentimental reasons.  If the metal is worn very thin, a new shank may be in order.

At Market Square Jewelers, we specialize in antique restoration, along with many other repair services.  Click here to learn more about the types of services we offer, or stop into any of our store locations to get some advice.

What to Keep, What to Sell

The most important thing to consider when determining the value of your inherited jewelry is whether or not the piece holds sentimental value to you.  This will be your guiding light when you decide whether you want to invest in restoration, appraisal, or other jewelry services.  Pieces that may not have a lot of retail value, can still bring you great joy, and are worth the investment to pass on to the next generation.  

Although a certain piece may not be your style, think outside the box before you decide to sell it.  We often convert antique brooches into more wearable pendants, or pendants into rings, to give heirlooms a new life and make them more appealing to the modern woman.  Stop into one of our stores, or drop us a line, and we'll brainstorm the possibilities with you.

If you are still having trouble deciding what to keep and what to sell, visit any of our store locations.  All of our staff are trained to evaluate your jewelry, and provide you estimates should you choose to sell or have your jewelry repaired.  We buy gold, platinum, sterling silver, pocket watches, diamonds, costume jewelry, and flatware.  Whether or not you choose to sell your jewelry to us, we are happy to place a value on your pieces, which can help you decide what to keep.  

Sorting through inherited jewelry can be stressful, but it doesn't need to be.  Consider one piece at a time, and call in the experts.  We are here and happy to help you on this journey.

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