Researching each piece is the first and most important step when trying to sell vintage jewelry. It's essential to learn more about the items, and help you determine a good selling price. Cleaning the jewelry allows the best features of each piece to stand out. as will taking quality photographs using appropriate backgrounds and lighting. Choose the right dealer to work with, but never seem too eager to sell or it may encourage the dealer to try to take advantage.
Spend time doing as much research as possible about each item. Check for a mark or signature on the jewelry, then look up what designer it represents. This can help you learn about the popularity of the designer, how rare the pieces are, and the years the designer was, or is, in business. Search through websites that showcase the designer's pieces, then look for the specific ones in your possession to learn about what increases or decreases the value, what the pieces are comprised of, and how to clean them.
Apply the various cleaning techniques to make the pieces sparkle; in some cases, all it will take is a little water. Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at each piece and clean any dirt that's nearly invisible to the naked eye. Never sell vintage jewelry that hasn't been cleaned — the less work the dealer has to do and the more impressive the pieces look, the more money it could mean in your pocket. Doing a thorough cleaning also makes it possible to get a better idea of how to price the items; it removes the dirt and leaves the flaws, such as scratches or discolorations. Be very careful during the cleaning to not cause new damage to the jewelry.
It can be difficult to sell vintage jewelry that has quite a few imperfections, considering the value typically decreases with each flaw found. Take note of the condition of every part of the jewelry, including any marks or signatures, the setting, clarity, design, prongs, and surface flaws, as well as whether the stones are real and whether all of them are there. To price each item, start with how much it is valued at in nearly perfect condition, then deduct money depending on the severity of each imperfection. Finally, choose a selling price that's substantial enough while still leaving room for negotiation should the customer make a lower offer.
Taking photographs is typically necessary to sell vintage jewelry online or while communicating with a potential customer via the Internet. Photographing the jewelry on a white or black background will showcase the colors and design of the pieces. Take pictures in natural light and from all angles — the front and back of each item, a diagonal shot of the front, and close photos of elaborate features as well as flaws. If possible, also take a photograph of someone wearing the piece.
Research the reputation of various jewelry stores, individual sellers, and websites to determine where to sell the jewelry. Individuals and many jewelry stores typically prefer to purchase multiple pieces at once rather than singles. After choosing several potential customers, call or email and let them know how much you want for the items and send them pictures if necessary. Although the goal is to sell vintage jewelry, it doesn't mean taking the first offer — wait for the best offer instead.