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Here's What You Need To Know About Cashing In Your Old Jewelry

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jewelry, diamonds, bangle

These days, the hot trend in flashy jewelry isn't wearing it so much as selling it off.

That's according to Heidi Mitchell's Wall Street Journal article which notes that more women are ditching their cherished heirlooms than ever, thanks to a spike in gold prices, now hovering around $1,800 per ounce. 

"Some people are using the money to pay for mortgages, educations, theatre tickets, vacations, houses, all sorts of things," Andrew Fabrikant, co-founder of Andrew & Peter Fabrikant in New York, told Business Insider, adding they've been "buying larger percentages of an estate than [they] were before the recession." 

"And consider this too," said Carmen Wong Ulrich, president and co-founder of ALTA Wealth Management, "if you have enough jewelry, it can end up costing you just to keep it safe and secure" in a home safe or security deposit box. 

Whatever the situation, consumers have got to be smart before selling. We asked Fabrikant to share his tricks of the trade:

Get an educated opinion. Do this if you're unsure what to sell or can't tell one bauble's worth from another. As a rule, Fabrikant says diamonds over 1 carat will have the most value and notes there's a strong market for "important and recognizable brand names" like Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpel. Diamond and gold bangles remain wildly popular, while broaches have gone out of vogue. And the biggest money-grabbers are still engagement rings. 

Skip the appraisal. "You're paying for a service that doesn't net you any money," said Fabrikant. "If you don't know a diamond's quality, then let the jeweler submit it to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)." 

Avoid envelope drop-in services. "People with good reputations take the time to let you know the jewelry arrived safely and leave the decision of whether to sell up to you," said Fabrikant. They also won't toy with your profit and ensure the trade's fair. "It's like a gold-buying service," he continued, you wouldn't trust someone who's "basically buying scrap gold but they pay you fractions on the dollar." 

You'll also want to avoid the pawn shop and even an auction house (unless you're a big name celebrity), which charges a 25 percent premium to the buyer and seller, as well as fees if the items don't sell. 

Don't clean or repair items before bringing them in. "The jeweler will do that," said Fabrikant, and you don't want to end up ruining the value. "It's like taking apart an intricate diamond," it's hard to put back together. 

Bring your paperwork to the sale. "If you have a GIA report or a report from another laboratory, bring it with you so there's no question about what you're showing to them," said the jeweler. 

Find a buyer with a great reputation. This counts more than anything, said Fabrikant. You've got to work with someone you trust and should comparison shop before settling on a buyer's price. Though there are plenty of ways to research online, he specifically recommended checking out a jeweler's credentials on the Better Business Bureau.  

Now see three things you need to know before selling gold > 

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