Need Extra Income? Learn How to Resell Estate Jewelry for a Profit

Flipping jewelry from estate sales can be a clever way to bring in some side income, especially when you don't have a large sum of money to invest in grander ventures. Once you've found pieces to sell, it's time to go through your purchases and get them ready for resale.

Decide Whether to Fix or Disassemble

Jewelry you find in estate sales and charity shops will often be worth less than the sum of its parts, but it's not uncommon for valuable pieces to be far under-priced, either. Before you can get your items ready for resale, you'll need to sort them by value.

Gold components and precious gems are often worth more than the value of the item as an accessory, especially when the whole piece is tarnished or broken. Before you commit to repairing pieces with valuable constituent parts, consider whether you might be able to get more money by selling them individually. Without a letter of authenticity or a maker's stamp, most jewelry made from precious materials can be easier to move after being broken down into parts.

Costume jewelry, on the other hand, is not worth as much when taken apart. The individual pieces are usually inexpensive to manufacture, and the value usually comes from the age of the accessory, rather than the materials cost. That said, the profit margin on costume pieces is often so low that fixing broken ones won't be worth your time.

Get Whole Pieces Ready for the Market

Once you've identified the broken jewelry worth repairing and the whole jewelry worth selling as-is, it's time to get both groups ready for resale. Clean any dirty pieces with soap, water, and ammonia for tough residue. If you're having trouble taking the tarnish off of silver pieces, try briefly soaking them in boiling water with some aluminum foil.

When you repair broken items, do your best to use components from other broken pieces in your collection. This reduces the cost of repairs and helps you avoid having to hire a professional to do the work. Of course, very fine repairs on high value items may still require an expert in order to maintain the jewelry's value. When you have very valuable pieces appraised, it's a good idea to ask the expert whether or not home repair would be appropriate.

Once you're ready to sell, it's time to locate buyers. Many resellers choose to use online markets, since jewelry is inexpensive to ship and it's easy to reach a large number of customers. The average online buyer may not be willing to pay full price for your most expensive pieces without seeing them in person, however. In these situations, you can try selling directly to a local jeweler or advertising your wares in local publications.

Organize & Sell the Remaining Components

Even if you're taking apart some of your jewelry, cleaning up the pieces is still important. Fortunately, this is easier when you can take things apart and get into the nooks and crannies with a Q-tip. Once everything is clean, sort your removed components by type, dividing up gems, precious materials, and costume elements.

Valuable gems need to be officially appraised before you attempt to sell them, or you risk forgoing hundreds of dollars without a certificate of authenticity. Providing expert appraisals for even cheap gems can help to solidify your reputation as a trustworthy dealer, as well. Once identified, gems should be sold directly to jewelers or private customers. Pawn shops and other middlemen will likely not be able to offer you full price for them.

On the other hand, gold and other precious materials can be worth selling to middlemen. The value of metal chains, rings, and findings is often derived from the quality of the metal and not the intricacy of the work, so you don't have to worry about paying to have these items officially appraised.

Elements of costume jewelry can fetch a pretty penny in the right markets. Online crafting websites and local jewelry circles will pay well for beads, findings, clasps, and low-end gemstones, as well as retro-chic charms, like cameo pendants.

Knowing where to sell each item will get easier as you become more experienced, so don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake or undervalue some of your jewelry early on. With enough practice and expert advice, you'll become a pro in no time. For more tips or assistance, contact resources like Rocky Mountain Gold & Silver Exchange.