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Is It Wrong to Sell Old Jewelry After a Death?

Apr 16, 2015

The death of a loved one is a painful time. While mourning, it can be extremely difficult to make decisions about your loved one’s possessions. Everything seems to have sentimental value. As a result, things simply go undecided for months or even years. When you’re finally ready to think about everything they’ve left behind, the question might arise: “Is it acceptable to sell old jewelry that belonged to someone who’s passed away?”

It’s natural to feel uneasy about this. Hopefully this blog post will help you decide what’s right for you.

elderly hands sell old jewelry

First, know that you have our sympathy. We’re sorry for the sorrow you’re experiencing. There is nothing wrong with waiting for emotions to quiet before you consider selling jewelry. Take all the time you need. However, if financial security is an issue, consider the following points:

1. Don’t pawn it.

Sometimes, as if death weren’t difficult enough, you may have been struggling to pay mounting medical bills for months before someone passed away. Faced with healthcare costs, you might want to rush to the nearest pawn shop to sell old jewelry. However, that is where you’ll get the worst offer. Pawn shops profit off of people’s desperation.

Instead, get quotes in person from 2-3 different respected jewelers. (Online appraisals aren’t accurate, as the appraiser cannot examine your jewelry up close.) Then compare their offers and what you thought of them. We know from decades in the industry that a trusted jeweler will offer you much more than a pawn shop for old jewelry. We’re experts at evaluating engagement rings, costume jewelry, and antique and vintage jewelry — whereas pawn shops are not.

selling jewelry after a death necklace

2. Talk to other relatives.

Jewelry often has sentimental value. If the person didn’t leave a will, or didn’t explicitly leave you the jewelry, talk to your other family members about how they feel.

One or more of them may object to you selling the jewelry. That’s OK. Sometimes these attachments subside with time. Often it’s more about symbolically losing part of the loved one than it is a specific desire to keep the jewelry. Don’t rush — perhaps the time will come when you can sell old jewelry without upsetting anyone else.

If the jewelry is legally yours, you don’t have to consider others’ wishes, but you may want to out of consideration for their feelings.

3. Don’t feel guilty.

There is nothing wrong with deciding to sell old jewelry if it belongs to you. As someone once said, “You can’t eat jewelry.” Your loved one would not want you to struggle financially. They would most likely want you to be taken care of.

Remember that your loved one is more than his or her possessions. You already have the best thing: memories of the time you spent together. If you wish, take a photo of the jewelry first so you can remember it.

Additionally, selling jewelry might be less painful than seeing one of your relatives wear it. It also eliminates having to argue over who should have it. If you sell old jewelry, you can agree beforehand to split the proceeds between your family equally. It can seem cold to discuss money in the aftermath of a death, but you shouldn’t have to pretend it doesn’t matter. It is a very real consideration.

vintage engagement ring sell jewelry

Conclusion

We at Samuelson’s Buyers will never pressure you to sell old jewelry. Our jewelry experts are happy to evaluate your loved one’s jewelry, educate you on the state of the industry, and discuss a fair offer with you — with no hard-sell tactics. We want you to feel good about your choice, and you are always free to walk away.

When you’re ready to think about selling jewelry that belonged to a relative, or that you’ve simply been meaning to get rid of for years, contact us to make a private appointment at our secure office.

Photos: Jessie Jacobson, Melissa Ingram, Bill Young

 

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