You can find fine jewelry at thrift stores, but most shoppers don’t know how to spot the real stuff that has resale value.
The fact is many people have fine gems in their jewelry boxes that they never wear, which have resale value, yet end up donated to local charities.
Perhaps, it was a gift that didn’t really suit their style.
Or, this may have been a piece of jewelry inherited from a distant family member that didn’t hold much sentimental or aesthetic value for them.
Case in point, I recently paid $20 for a 1969 ‘PLEASE RETURN TO TIFFANY & CO. NEW YORK 925’ Sterling Silver Dog Collar Necklace at a thrift store (see description and retail/resale value below).
I have also listed several other pieces of jewelry purchased in the same haul.
More often than not, valuable pieces of jewelry are misidentified as junk or fake and sold for $1 to $20.
When you know how to find fine jewelry at thrift stores, these pieces can be flipped for quick, extra cash.
Here are some in-demand categories in resale jewelry, along with advice on how to sell it.
American and European jewelry that’s older that 50 years, but newer than 100 years is considered vintage.
Of this range, pieces from the 1920s to 1940s Art Deco period are in very high demand.
Streamlined, angular, très chic Art Deco jewelry still looks cool today.
Many of the most celebrated names in jewelry and fashion, including Cartier, Tiffany and Van Cleef & Arpels, came into their own during the Art Deco period.
Therefore, it isn’t surprising that pieces from these brands command top prices on today’s market.
The Deco period also gave rise to a lot of mass-produced jewelry, which is very much in demand today.
As much of the Deco period coincides with the Great Depression of 1929 to 1939, department stores found ways to market more affordable jewelry that was still quite stylish.
At the time, one of the key materials they used to achieve this goal was a brand-new synthetic wonder resin called Bakelite.
It could be easily molded, with vivid colors ejected directly into the resin, and was used as a kind of a cheap and cheerful alternative to precious metals or stones.
It pays to know your gemstones because there is a vigorous online international market for Native American jewelry as well.
However, you must do your homework if you want to obtain top dollar for what you have to sell.
Rural Money Tip: Don’t take it to a pawnshop because they’ll buy it for the meltdown value of any precious metals contained in the piece. In my experience, pawnshops aren’t that educated, and a certain piece could be worth a lot more just because of the person who made it.
Hopi jewelry in general really sells the best with beautiful silver overlay work, without a lot of precious or semi-precious stones.
On the other hand, Navajo turquoise work is also a big seller.
The best resale pieces were made for tribal or ceremonial purposes.
As a general rule, handmade is much more valuable than anything machine made.
According to the experts, if you want to sell your stuff, don’t clean it because collectors like “patina”.
Etsy, Ruby Lane, eBay, Poshmark and Paul Fraser are good online platforms for selling vintage jewelry.
This is the description of my 1969 ‘’PLEASE RETURN TO TIFFANY & CO. NEW YORK 925’ Sterling Silver Dog Collar Necklace for possible resale.
TIFFANY & Co. Vintage Sterling Designer Necklace
Measurements: 16” L x 0.75″ W x 0.38″ H
Weight: 55.2 grams
Condition: Gently used, tarnish and dirt from years of storage. Any Tiffany shop will clean and give it the TLC to return it to as close its original condition as is possible for free!
Thrift Store Price: $20
Retail Value: $1500
Resale: $650 (Shipping Included)
Description: This choker length necklace is from the ‘Return to Tiffany’ line that Tiffany still makes. It has the oval tag that was the original 1969 design and Tiffany brought it back recently, selling out in days! It is Sterling Silver, links with an oval shaped tag in the front that reads ‘PLEASE RETURN TO TIFFANY & CO. NEW YORK 925’ and large Sterling Silver lobster claw clasp, which attaches to the tag in the front of the necklace. It comes with its original suede drawstring pouch and box! This is an authentic piece from the original run, which is why the price is higher than other used pieces you will see online.
Other vivid, vintage inspired jewelry pieces acquired during my recent thrift store jewelry haul include:
My jewelry descriptions are subject to errors as I am learning; so feel free to offer polite corrections in the comments.
In addition to finding fine jewelry during my recent thrift store haul, I got several brand name purses in excellent condition such as Fossil, Tignanello, Kim Rogers, Cappelli Straworld, BCBGENERATION, and vintage Sunco Genuine Eel Skin clutch…
I hope you are inspired to invest a small amount of money to find fine jewelry at thrift stores to turn into big cash.