Expert Advice About Buying or Selling Estate Jewelry |
Whether you love to collect vintage jewelry or inherited pieces you just won’t wear, there’s a lot to know about estate jewelry. We’ve got expert tips to help you buy or sell estate jewelry.

What is estate jewelry?

Estate jewelry is defined as a previously owned jewelry item. An estate piece may be an antique or vintage piece, though not necessarily. While an antique piece of jewelry would definitely be estate jewelry, estate jewelry is not necessarily antique. Antique jewelry is any jewelry more than 100 years old. Therefore, most estate jewelry may not be considered antique. Also, while a piece of jewelry may be antique, the item may not be of high value.

Is it worth buying?

The value of estate jewelry is determined by an agreement between the buyer and seller, according to Keith Austin, owner of Austin’s Fine Jewelry in Las Cruces. A collector may be a willing buyer for a particular piece. If the estate jewelry is created with precious metals and gemstones, the value may hold over decades — depending on fashion trends, quality and artistry. An estate or antique ring may be worth more than a new ring, depending on the aesthetics of the purchaser — or, if there are no buyers, such a ring may be a bargain.

Can inherited jewelry be sold?

In many instances, inherited estate jewelry may be sold. A previously owned piece of jewelry may be placed on the market for a number of reasons, including changes in styles, new jewelry trends or financial obligations.
Keith has the experience to guide clients through a process of selecting which pieces of estate jewelry to keep for sentimental reasons or as family heirlooms, as well as which to sell. He asks a variety of questions to guide the client, such as:
  • Is the jewelry sentimental to the client or a family heirloom?
  • If it is in poor condition, Is it worth repairing?
  • Would the sentimental value be maintained if the jewelry were remade into a different piece?
  • What price do you expect for this piece of jewelry?
  • Must the jewelry be evaluated for the division of assets in the estate or to create cash for other purposes?
Keith is sensitive to aiding the client to make decisions based on sentimental attachment as well as financial value. He can advise a client who is creating an estate or is distributing assets of an estate on value, so the jewelry’s value may be evenly distributed.
He determines the client’s needs and then facilitates the client’s goals — from determining value to its donation, sale, redesign or other use.
Estate jewelry can include gold, platinum, and silver pieces.

How to fairly distribute inherited jewelry?

When a person inherits jewelry or wants to sell estate jewelry, Keith provides a process.
1. Bring the estate jewelry for evaluation to Austin’s at 230 E. Idaho Ave., Las Cruces. He and his team examine and separate the jewelry into categories such as costume and precious gems and metals such as sterling silver, gold or platinum. They test gold to determine karat. Diamonds and other gems will be noted.
2. Keith makes recommendations, such as:
  • which jewelry with precious metals and gems is worth retaining
  • whether the client needs an insurance or an estate appraisal for jewelry
  • guidance on equitable distribution and impacts of estate taxes.
3. Keith recommends disposition of the jewelry. He can work with the client to:
  • determine the scrap value.
  • trade jewelry or purchase jewelry for resale
  • recommend markets for sales
  • recommend nonprofit organizations for donations of jewelry.

Is estate jewelry more expensive?

Maybe, maybe not. The value of estate jewelry varies according to style, taste and custom of the area — as well as current trends in fashion.
For example, a current trend in fine gold jewelry reflects a purchasers preference for 14K white gold, rather than previous generations’ penchant for 14K yellow gold. White gold particularly is preferred in the Southwest because it combines well with Native American silver jewelry. Therefore, some yellow gold estate pieces may be worth no more than the scrap value.
Keith Austin appraises estate jewelry.
Keith Austin advises a client about her estate jewelry.

About Keith Austin and Austin’s Fine Jewelry

Gemstone expert Keith Austin, owner of Austin’s Fine Jewelry, offers a wide of range of jewelry services, including estate and tax appraisals of jewelry. He advises clients on a range of issues that may impact estate jewelry from establishing age, quality, marketability and, most of all, equitable distribution of estate assets and heirlooms.
Keith has more than 35 years of experience in the jewelry business and has earned an excellent reputation for dealing fairly with clients. He can address concerns about estate jewelry and jewelry in general, which may include:
  • discomfort of being taken in by fake sites,
  • being misled on the value of jewelry,
  • purchasing fake jewelry,
  • determining the value of designer jewelry.
Austin’s has been serving the Mesilla Valley community for more than 35 years. From Native American jewelry to new engagement rings to estate jewelry, this locally owned business offers many choices. Austin’s also houses the free Las Cruces Ring Museum with thousands of rings created over centuries on display.
Austin’s Fine Jewelry takes pride in asking more questions and, through education, guiding customers, so they can make informed decisions about their estate jewelry. They are knowledgeable experts in evaluating estate jewelry.
Story by Jackye Meinecke

Story sponsored by AUSTIN’S FINE JEWELRY

Austin's Fine Jewelry logo

Call Austins Fine Jewelry | 575-525-3340

Visit the Website



Posted by

Featured Businesses