Getting the most for jewelry from a loved one’s departure

Robert Kirker puts a wedding ring, lost for 30 years, on his wife Ofelia's hand at their home in Las Cruces, N.M., May 27, 2015. It's been decades since Ofelia Kirker lost her wedding rings, but she'll be wearing the treasured jewelry for her 64th wedding anniversary. The rings were unearthed in a yard there years ago and have finally made their way back to her thanks to an observant yard worker, one woman's sharp memory and her daughter's persistence. (Jett Lowe/Las Cruces Sun-News via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Many have an extra piece of jewelry, acquired over time, that just doesn’t fit for everyday wear. An easy answer for what to do with that jewelry is to sell it off, however a nagging question is how does one get the most bang for the buck?

Between sentimental rings, bracelets necklaces and more: Does one sell or keep old keepsakes?

It’s a tough market. Baby boomers are retiring and old jewelry is flooding the market. You may have a piece that’s worth something, though.

“Today, price of gold is dropping, price of diamonds are dropping,” said Mark Palmgren, an estate buyer and gemologist. “What you’re looking for right now are the more collectible pieces, and collectible pieces has more to do with today’s fashion.”

Broaches are out, but rings and bracelets are in, Palmgren said.

“Gold is a softer metal and it’s going to wear faster,” he said.

Platinum pieces will hold their value longer than gold, so hold on to them, too.

“Go to someone who’s going to make you a cash offer,” Palmgren said.

That’s likely to be completely different than an appraised value you may have from an insurance company. You can expect to get about 50 percent of the true value from a jeweler and more from a private buyer.

“When you go to sell a piece of jewelry, it’s kind of like selling a used car. Once you drive off the lot, that value depreciates instantly, until you get into that collectibility factor.”

At the end of the day, Palmgren says it’s the sentimental value that really counts. If you never wear it, don’t bother keeping it.

“If there’s something that you want to hand down to the next generation, you need to wear it in front of the next generation.”

Another tip: take a look at the piece of jewelry and check for names etched into the back of the metal — that generally adds value. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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