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Commentary: The Business

Why Selling Estate Jewelry Is Worth Considering

Buying over the counter can provide you with a new customer base.




ARE YOU LOOKING for a way to gain a whole new customer base? Are you yearning for inventory that provides higher margins? Have you considered venturing into the estate jewelry market in the past but never fully committed? The time is now to make a move that can change your business.

Many people find themselves with inherited jewelry items that are not their style or items they will never wear but have tucked away in a drawer or safety deposit box out of sight and out of mind. They just don’t trust anyone to make them a fair offer.

Start by advertising in your market that you are buying estate jewelry, gold and diamonds. You will be surprised what starts walking through your doors.

The majority of businesses that buy over the counter end up just scrapping the items they buy to make a quick profit and move on. Please, don’t just scrap everything that comes in your doors! Educate yourself on the time periods and history behind the items you start seeing. The majority of these items may not be your style or what you think your business should carry. That’s OK! Refurbish them and put a price tag on them, see what happens! People are always hunting for an item to replace something they lost, had stolen from them or a piece they coveted but unfortunately a sibling inherited.

Examine each item for its estate value and make an offer that you feel comfortable with that allows room for profit once it sells. Move some items around in your showcase for a little section with in-case signage like “Estate Jewelry” or “Previously Loved.” Post a piece or two on social media and see what kind of response you get.

If you are not comfortable learning with your own money, consider taking higher value items on consignment. Make a deal with your client on what you will price the item at and what they will receive once the piece is sold. If the item doesn’t sell, call the client to come back in and retrieve the item or renegotiate to a lower sales price.


Your last resort should be to scrap/melt an item that has not sold and is in resalable condition.

After all, you are already the trusted jeweler in your marketplace for a reason; people will want to sell to you rather than pawn and vintage resale stores. You will bring in new faces to tour your showroom and learn about your brand. You will grow your custom and repair business from the items people wish to hold onto and want to have sized or restyled. You will certainly buy items that end up being scrap and can make a profit on them, too.

Most importantly, word of mouth will travel that you are now buying estate items and paying fair prices.

Josh Perry is director of sales at Perry’s Emporium in Wilmington, NC.



It Was Time to Make a Decision. It Was Time to Call Wilkerson.

Except for a few years when he worked as an accountant, Jim Schwartz has always been a jeweler. He grew up in the business and after “counting beans” for a few years, he and his wife, Robin, opened Robin James Jewelers in Cincinnati, Ohio. “We were coming to a stage in our life where we knew we have to make a decision,” says Jim Schwartz. He and Robin wanted to do it right, so they called Wilkerson. The best surprise (besides surpassing sales goals)? “The workers and associations really care about helping us move out own inventory out of the store first. It was very important to us.”

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