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What to Do with Inherited Jewelry

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Your beloved great-grandma has passed on, leaving you with a few of her favorite pieces. Among them, you find an inherited engagement ring with a European cut diamond, a pair of lovely clip-on pearl earrings, a diamond tennis bracelet that’s far too delicate for you to wear, and a wonderful antique brooch that was already an antique when it was passed down to great grandma! The question is, what to do with inherited jewelry? Here, we’ll take a look at a few options.

Keep It!

There’s no question about it: Heirloom jewelry is a treasure, often with an important story to tell. If the items have great personal significance, then it’s a good idea to keep the jewelry and enjoy it. If you’d like to keep the jewelry, then there are a few different things that you can do with it.

  • Save it to pass on. Keep your treasures in the condition you received them in, and pass them on to another family member when the time comes. If you choose this option, be sure to pass the items along to someone who will appreciate them!
  • Wear it yourself. Does the ring fit? After ensuring that the stones are tightly mounted, show off great grandma’s engagement ring! Enjoy wearing it and telling the story that goes along with it. Everyone will love hearing the tale of your ancestors’ romance.
  • Have it made into something else. If you’re not particularly attached to the jewelry and the stories that go along with it, but you’re not interested in selling heirloom jewelry passed on from a loved one, then seek the services of a custom jeweler who can help you design a special piece or two using components from the jewelry you received. You’ll still be reminded of great grandma every time you wear her sparkly diamonds.

Sell It!

Selling inherited jewelry is a very common way to transform pieces that just don’t hold any emotional significance into cash that you can use to make your life better. Some people feel guilty about even considering selling inheritance jewelry, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you have items that you are never going to wear or enjoy, why keep them locked up? Many people love to buy old jewelry, and they truly cherish each piece that they purchase.

This inherited 10.01 CT Fancy Yellow Diamond ring was recently sold at Worthy for $78,185! Learn more.

This inherited 10.01 CT Fancy Yellow Diamond ring was recently sold at Worthy for $78,185! Learn the story behind this auction here.

If you’re thinking about how to sell inheritance jewelry, there are a few things to consider. First, avoid the common pitfall of going to the nearest pawn shop or jewelry dealer to find out how to sell inherited jewelry, since pawnbrokers often lack the expertise necessary to make competent offers, and as jewelers typically have high overhead costs (meaning less money for you). Second, avoid paying high prices for heirloom jewelry appraisal. At Worthy, evaluating inherited jewelry is part of the complimentary pre-sale process. Third, be sure that you can trust the buyer! It’s a good idea to work with a company that has an excellent reputation. Listing your item on eBay or putting it up for sale on a local site like Craigslist can present a variety of problems.


Here are a few tips that will help you determine how to sell heirloom jewelry you’ve received:


Antique Art Deco 2.20 CT European Cut Ring circa 1938 auctioned at Worthy for $8,415.

  • Sell only items that you’re ready to part with. If you don’t need the money and aren’t sure that you’re ready to say goodbye to great-grandma’s antique brooch, hang on to it! You don’t want to have any regrets later.
  • Selling objects and splitting the money is seen as an appropriate way to ensure that everyone gets something when there are not enough actual heirlooms to go around. If this is your reason for exchanging inherited jewelry for cash, be transparent with everyone involved. Keeping other family members in the loop can help prevent arguments now and in the future.
  • Consider selling your heirloom jewelry online, since items will be exposed to a large audience of interested buyers. At Worthy, we cultivate relationships with professional buyers, many of whom are looking for antique and vintage pieces like the ones you may have received.

We hope this gives you some ideas about what to do with inherited jewelry. If you’re not sure what you have, or if you wonder if it’s a good idea to sell your items, feel free to chat with one of our experts online. Selling inherited jewelry isn’t right for everyone, but it may be the best course of action for you.

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