Many people feel connected to jewelry because of the person who gave it to them. The sentimental value of owning something that passes down from generation to generation creates an emotional bond that might lead people to believe something is expensive and objectively valuable. When it comes to a gemstone, Rarity has many elements.
Whether its gemstones, family heirlooms, or old estate rings, sentimental value and actual value are two completely different concepts.
A legendary story goes as follows: a gem dealer
bought a second hand old 1 carat ruby ring.
He submitted it to a lab to identify the gemstone and discovered
that it was actually a red diamond.
Instead of a maximum payout of maybe $10,000.00
The fancy red diamond was worth well over $500,000.
On the one hand, you might be thinking: “Wow! that could be the red colored stone ring my grandmother had given me!”
So you found an old relative’s estate ring and you want to find out if its valuable?
Common Mistakes To Avoid:
Common Mistake #1: setting your expectations high. As noted above, hitting the jackpot on a family heirloom, estate piece, or attic discovery, are not common.
Common Mistake #2: immediately selling for cash. Avoid instant gratification for green. The worst thing you can do is walk into your nearest pawn shop and accept what you can get for it. Chances are if it is worth a lot, a clever prospective buyer will minimize its worth, exaggerate the difficulties and risks associated with buying it from you, and offer minimum to balance these influences. So don’t eagerly dump what you have.
Common Mistake #3: trading it in with your local jeweler for an “upgrade.”Unless you absolutely trust your regular jeweler or source, err on the side of not upgrading your stone for a shiny piece. Your eyes and emotion should not replace your hunt for the truth.
Gem Due Diligence:
Do as much research as possible. Countless times people have walked into a jewelry store with a story about their great grand father or mother’s ring that was given to them, and expecting it to be worth a fortune. The truth is that the 20th century was a unprecedented time for synthetic gemstone creation. That is, gemstones that were made in a lab and are worthless. Usually these gemstones are too good to be real. They have perfect color. They have no inclusions. There is a high probability that natural gemstones will not be perfect in all these characteristics.
Do: Submit your ring or gemstone to an independent gem lab for identification.
Do: understand the reality of the jewelry business. The lifeblood of many businesses is the middleman. The jewelry trade from mine to market has been relying on middle men for centuries. Although your gemstone may be in fact valuable, demanding full value is unrealistic. Some portion of the value needs to be left for the person who has the connection, and resources to make sure its eventually sold.
Therefore, it is very important to ask your relatives and family as much information about the piece as you can to determine the chances of it being real. If you reasonably believe the stone is worth something, then you should definitely submit it to a reputable lab for identification.