Is Your Family Jewellery Valuable?

A couple of weeks ago, my Aunt contacted me about some family jewellery that she came across when she was decluttering.  She asked if I wanted a few of the pieces and could I find out how much they were worth.  So, I decided it was time to consult an expert on the subject. 

Dana Westall has over 30 years of experience and is one of Canada’s top Graduate Gemologists (GIA) and an AAP (CJI), to name only two of his many qualifications. It is worthwhile consulting an expert as you don’t want to mistakenly discard a piece that you think is not valuable simply because you don’t want to keep it.

My Family Jewellry

These pieces are not something that I would ever wear so my Aunt was wondering about selling them.  According to Dana, the ring is 10 karat gold with a genuine pearl and would have had a retail value of $250 to $300 but you probably couldn’t sell it because of the outdated style.  The brooch didn’t test as gold, but the pearls are genuine. Retail would have been $40 to $60 but it can’t be sold for more than a few dollars at a yard sale. The necklace also didn’t test as gold but has genuine pearls with a retail of $50 to $80 but again couldn’t be sold for much.  

Because this collection can’t be sold for any amount of money, we are now looking for a place to donate it once donation centers re-open. It’s not necessarily an easy task to find the right home for these pieces. Looks like it’s time for me to do a bit of research.

Here is a great comparison. Below you will see pictures of two brooches. They look similar. The brooch on the left belonged to a friend’s grandmother and was given to her as a gift by someone she cleaned house for.  They were under the impression that is was quite valuable. Dana says that it is not karat gold nor are the pearls or colorless stones genuine. While it might have important sentimental value, it has very little monetary value.

On the right is a Diamond and Gold Basket Brooch (photo provided by Duncan Parker, FGA, FCGmA, Vice President of Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers). Here is the complete description from Duncan.

“Of jardinière design, with round diamond blossoms and leaves, in a textured and polished basket accented by a diamond-set handle and centre rib, mounted in 18k gold. Weight 15.4 g, Height 1 1/8 ins, width 1 1/4 ins, approx. diamond weight 3.00 cts, G-I/SI/I2, several chipped, in good condition, can be worn as a pendant using the basket handle hoop.”

The item sold at auction for $2,750.00 (not including tax)

Sometimes the story behind the piece and the age of the piece can lead you to believe that it has significant value. Age doesn’t necessarily translate to value with so many of the items we have collected and inherited. That’s because there has to be demand in the market for these older items.

If you are looking to sell a valuable piece, it would be much easier if you had a jewellery appraisal completed by a qualified gemologist. You would be provided with a document that contains a complete and accurate description of the item in question (similar to Duncan’s above) including quality and weight of gold, description of any and all diamonds and/or gemstones and an estimated replacement value along with the appraiser’s qualifications. 

My advice to you would be to keep any pieces you absolutely love whether they are valuable or not.  If you don’t love them and would never wear them, but are having trouble letting go, consider taking a picture of the pieces. Perhaps type up the story of who owned them and where they came from and keep that along with the photo.  You might also want to post the story and photo on social media and share it with friends and family.  Then you might feel better about letting them go to someone who will use them.

If you have a collection of jewellery, or anything else for that matter, that you need to downsize please get in touch with me and I would be happy to lend a hand.