Where to have antique jewelry appraised ?

Some tips to identify the value of your antique jewelry

The material

No need to be an expert to determine the material of an antique or pre-owned piece of jewelry. If it has precious metal hallmarks, examine it, and you can deduce whether it is gold (18 karats gold /14 karats gold/9 karats gold), gold-plated, silver, or just metal. To identify the hallmarks, feel free to read our article “How to Recognize Gold.”


If your jewelry features stones that you recognize, such as diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, or ones you are not familiar with, this antique piece should catch your attention. For a quick reminder on gemstones, read our article “Everything You Need to Know About Gemstones.”


Whether it’s a necklace, ring, earrings, or bracelet, the aesthetics of the jewelry are crucial. Since it’s a subjective criterion, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this piece of jewelry typical or atypical in its design?
  • Have I seen people wearing this type of jewelry before?
  • Does the craftsmanship of this jewelry seem intricate to me?
  • Is this jewelry antique?
  • Since when has this piece of jewelry been in my family?

These questions are crucial; they will enable you to make the right decision between consulting an expert gemmologist in pre-owned or antique jewelry or selling it on a second-hand platform.

Antique engagement ring in gold and silver, adorned with marcasites.

Where to Get Antique Jewelry Appraisals ?

The professionals in the antique jewelry market are numerous (gemmologists, experts, antique dealers, auctioneers, and jewelers), but they have gaps in expertise in certain areas of jewelry. See by yourself:

  • A gemmologist is a professional who deals with the identification, assessment, and classification of all precious, organic, and ornamental stones. They are qualified to identify and assess the authenticity of gemstones based on their physical, chemical, and optical characteristics. In case of doubt, the gemmologist goes to the laboratory to analyze the stone in question.

Free appraisal (unless you request the creation of a certificate in the laboratory).

However, it’s important to note that gemmologists are rarely knowledgeable about the ‘history of jewelry.’ They can provide information about the quality and prices of your gemstones but may not have expertise in the overall value of the jewelry piece.

  • An expert in antique jewelry is a person specialized in the authentication, evaluation, purchase, and sale of antique jewelry. They are most often specialized antique dealers with experience and in-depth knowledge of antique jewelry, the techniques used to make them, as well as precious metals.

Free appraisal (unless you request the creation of a laboratory certificate), buying and selling of jewelry, purchase of broken jewelry.

However, it is rare to find an antique dealer who is also a gemmologist. Inquire about your interlocutor’s background before asking for a free appraisal.

  • An auctioneer is a professional in the art market who handles the organization and conduct of public auctions. They are responsible for appraising and selling movable or immovable property, collections, or art objects, and facilitating transactions between the buyer and the seller. The auctioneer is equivalent to a general practitioner: they are knowledgeable in the expertise of a multitude of art objects and jewelry in general; however, they may not provide the most accurate appraisal and expertise for your gemstones and antique jewelry if they are not a gemmologist or specialized in antique jewelry. Once again, inquire about your interlocutor’s background before requesting an appraisal for the jewelry you have in your possession.

Free appraisal (unless you request the creation of a laboratory certificate).

A jeweler is a person who manufactures, sells, and/or repairs antique, pre-owned, and new jewelry. They have a comprehensive knowledge of jewelry-making techniques. However, appearances can be deceiving—jewelers have no knowledge of gemmology, so their expertise in your gemstones may not be accurate or precise.

Free appraisal (unless you request the creation of a laboratory certificate), jewelry creation, jewelry engraving, jewelry repair, jewelry transformations.

You may be wondering why these professions cannot provide you with a comprehensive appraisal of your jewelry?

Gemmology is often a skill lacking in these professions. Consequently, obtaining a genuine free appraisal of your gemstones is challenging. Gemmology training is a costly discipline, offered by few institutions in France and lasting for an extended period (between 1 to 4 years). Few professionals have the time, finances, and opportunities to undergo this training. Fortunately for you, Angéline Chanson from Maison Mohs is both a gemmologist and an expert in antique jewelry. As a result, she can provide information on both aspects that contribute to the value of your jewelry: the gemstone and the jeweler’s craftsmanship! To learn more about our gemmologist, click here.

The importance of jewelry appraisal

The appraisal of jewelry serves to assess its value at a specific point in time. It is conducted by a qualified professional, as mentioned above, who examines the jewelry and prepares a detailed report providing information on the authenticity, quality, age, and market value of the piece. This appraisal is useful for an accurate valuation during commercial transactions (such as jewelry resale or purchase), inheritance or gifting situations, as well as for insurance against theft.

The value of the appraised jewelry is not fixed over time.

The appraisal or price range of a piece of jewelry can vary over time. Why? It depends on markets such as the price of gold and the price of diamonds, trends, and types of jewelry. Thus, the value can change over time based on market conditions and fashion trends.

Art Deco brooch set with diamonds and a moonstone.

Buying an antique piece of jewelry is a responsible and cost-effective choice

Do you know? Extracting 3 grams of gold (equivalent to a ring) requires 1500 liters of water and 100 grams of cyanide poured into nature. Approximately 700 tons of rock need to be mined to find 320 grams of diamonds. Every year, hundreds of miners perish in mines and operations. While our drawers are filled with antique jewelry that we don’t wear, it is now a responsible and essential step to reintroduce these jewels to the market and bring them back into the economy. This is known as a circular and virtuous economy because it consumes few, if any, resources.

The profit margins on new jewelry are significant, often due to the cost of a well-known brand, sometimes located in a prestigious and expensive location, and engaging in large and costly marketing campaigns. Antique jewelry has already amortized these costs long ago, allowing it to be offered at a lower cost, with equivalent quality, than new jewelry. For an equal model, it’s important to note that second-hand jewelry costs 20 to 40% less than new models.

Buying an antique piece of jewelry means having a unique piece with a touch of history

The problem with contemporary jewelry is that the designs are not unique. Thus, anyone can buy them. And what could be more unpleasant than ending up with the same engagement ring as your table neighbor? In the world of antique jewelry, this problem doesn’t exist: back then, there was no mass production of series. You can find pieces that are close, in the same style, but your piece of jewelry will always be unique.

Antique jewelry always comes with its own story. Either we know it personally, or it’s history that will tell us the tale.

  • Why were silver brooches set with diamonds made in the late 19th century? Because diamond production surged during that period, and the costs of the gemstone decreased.
  • Why did this lady request the setting of an emerald between two onyx stones? Because the color codes of the Art Deco period called for contrast.

Fashions, crises, and styles influence the course of the history of jewelry. By choosing to buy an antique piece of jewelry, we decide to carry that history forward and add our own personal story to it.

Our article « Where to buy antique jewelry in Paris? » may also interest you.

Our article « How to Appraise Antique Jewelry? » may also interest you.

Our article « Everything you need to know about diamonds » may also interest you.