Passing down family heirlooms is one of the oldest traditions in human history. When a loved one passes away, it is common for surviving family members to inherit jewelry. Examples include wedding bands, pins, brooches, necklaces, earrings, lockets, and cuff links.
Family heirloom jewelry often contains precious metals and valuable gemstones, giving them sentimental and monetary value. If you’re looking for the best way to sell your inherited jewelry, AU Precious Metals can help you determine the value of the precious metals and diamonds so you receive a fair trade-in amount.
Deciding What to Do With Inherited Jewelry
If you have recently inherited jewelry from a family member, determining what to do with your items may be one of the many decisions you’ll have to make. When you’re ready, examine the jewelry. Consider its sentimental value and whether it fits your current tastes. Then, decide between the following:
- Keep it. You may keep your inherited pieces to wear or preserve for future generations. If this is the case, consider getting an appraisal from a reputable jewelry store to understand their true worth as an antique or heirloom and to learn the best methods for storing them to preserve their value.
- Restore it. If your jewelry is damaged, broken, or tarnished, seek the expertise of a professional jeweler for restoration or remodeling. Expert repair can return heirloom pieces to a wearable condition, potentially enhancing their future resale value.
- Sell it. If you don’t have an emotional connection to the inherited pieces or need funds, selling them could be a practical option. This approach provides you with a fair financial return.
What to Expect During the Valuation Process
Knowing what to expect during the valuation can help you prepare for the experience. At AU Precious Metals, our valuation process includes the following steps:
Your Initial Consultation
Your value appraisal will start with an initial consultation. Typically, this includes visiting our Rochester, Michigan storefront, where our friendly and knowledgeable staff will begin by asking you a few questions about your pieces.
During this consultation, we will outline our process, answer any questions you may have, and discuss your goals for selling the items.
Detailed Examination of the Items
With your approval, our staff will begin the examination process and closely examine your jewelry. We use a comprehensive multi-step procedure.
Initial visual inspection and weighing
The appraisal of your inherited heirlooms starts with a meticulous inspection. We’ll examine your jewelry for unique identifiers such as hallmarks, stamps, maker’s marks, and other distinctive features.
If your items are crafted from precious metals, they might have markings indicating the type and purity of the metals. For instance, a marking of “916” signifies the purity level, commonly representing 22-karat gold.
Your heirloom jewelry may carry stamps or symbols from an assay office, depending on its country of origin, whether private or government-run, assay offices certify the type and purity of precious metals in jewelry. Hallmarks from assay offices can vary, such as the anchor for Birmingham, England, the castle for Edinburgh, Scotland, or the triple crowns for Sweden.
AU Precious Metals uses state-of-the-art X-ray spectrometry fluorescence (XRF) analysis equipment to measure the type and purity of precious metals in your jewelry. An XRF test involves a specialized instrument capable of shooting large numbers of X-rays.
When fired on the surface of a jewel, the precious metal atoms react to the X-rays and emit their fluorescent X-rays back. Each precious metal produces distinctive fluorescent X-rays, allowing an XRF machine to identify the type and quantity of precious metal.
XRF analysis is safe and non-destructive. X-rays emitted by our equipment cannot damage, scratch, or chip, making it the safest option to analyze the jewelry you want to sell.
While AU Precious Metals specializes in gold, silver, and other precious metals, we also purchase .5-carat or larger diamonds.
Our team has access to typical jeweler’s tools to provide you with an accurate assessment of your diamonds’ four Cs: cut type, color, clarity, and carat weight. This permits us to provide you with the items’ fair market value.
Fair Market Value Use
We use the fair market value (FMV), a neutral estimation of the value of the metal contained in each piece. We assess this by using the current spot prices for the precious metals and gemstones they contain.
For instance, if you present us with a gold wedding band, we will use the current spot prices of gold to estimate its FMV.
Legal Implications of Selling Inherited Precious Metal Jewelry in Michigan
Although Michigan is not one of the 17 states that impose an estate or inheritance tax, state legislation does regulate the sale of items containing precious metals and gemstones.
The Michigan Precious Metal and Gem Dealer Act of 1981 imposes multiple requirements on dealers, some of which may impact your transaction. Some federal laws may also affect the total take-home amount.
- Bring a valid ID. Michigan law prohibits precious metal dealers from receiving items from individuals under 18. They also cannot accept items from individuals without a valid ID document, such as a driver’s license, a Michigan State ID card, or a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). Don’t forget to bring at least one of these documents before selling jewelry in the state.
- Bring proof of ownership. It is unlawful for a precious metal dealer in Michigan to accept stolen items knowingly. The best way to sell inherited jewelry quickly and efficiently is to bring documents proving you legally received it, such as a will or an inheritance affidavit.
Receiving Your Payment
The last step in the sell-back process for inherited jewelry is receiving your payment. AU Precious Metals gives you several options for your settlement, including cash, wire transfer, check, or precious metal bullion.
After our team provides a valuation, you can accept the offered price or retain your pieces for potential future sales. If you decide to proceed with the sale, simply inform us of your preferred payment method, and we will promptly process it.
If you cannot come into the store to sell your inherited jewelry, we offer a mail-in program at our Rochester location. You can contact us and request a mail-in envelope. Once it arrives, put your pieces into the envelope and send it back.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
For those unfamiliar with the jewelry market or selling jewelry for the first time, here are critical pitfalls to avoid to ensure you maximize the resale value of your pieces.
- Selling in a rush. Selling too quickly or before you are ready can result in getting less than you deserve for your pieces.
- Not verifying a buyer’s identity. Confirm the identity and legitimacy of a buyer before proceeding with a sale. Selling to an unknown or unverified buyer increases the risk of fraud. Conduct transactions with reputable companies like AU Precious Metals, with a record of satisfied clients.
- Falling for common scams. Be aware of common jewelry-selling scams, such as false payment methods, bait-and-switch tactics, or offers to buy without seeing the item. Always be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true, and conduct transactions through secure, traceable methods. Educate yourself on typical scams in the jewelry market to protect yourself from fraudulent activities.
Sell Your Family Heirlooms for the Best Price at AU Precious Metals
Inheriting a loved one’s rings, watches, necklaces, or earrings can leave you with a valuable collection of the precious metals in the jewelry in your possession. If you want cash back for these items, working with AU Precious Metals is the best way to sell your inherited jewelry in Michigan.
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can assist you at every stage. We will make a fair offer based on the current prices of precious metals and gemstones.
Contact us today or visit us in person to learn more about our assaying process and get a quote for your inherited jewelry pieces.