Vintage Costume Jewelry Evaluation and Research Service
Garden Party Collection offers valuations for vintage and antique costume jewelry. We do not appraise fine estate jewelry, "fine" defined as any item in precious metal with genuine or precious gems. We evaluate and research vintage costume and period jewelry only. We receive dozens of "what's it worth" questions via email per week and as a result, we do offer an evaluation service (see below), one of the only vintage jewelry evaluation services on the net. Evaluating your jewelry takes time and expertise as each item requires research. There is a vast resource of info on the site and we're happy to give you info about dates and marks if we can. However, all emails requesting detailed info, historical research and/or a value will be referred back to this page, and to the next paragraph for info on our evaluation service. If you are interested in brief, general info, without value and research, you may contact us via email.
To evaluate any item we require either a photograph or the item itself; we cannot evaluate based on a written description. You can email a photo attachment (front and back of jewelry required) to the email link below. If you'd like to send us your item, please request this in advance via the comments box in the shopping cart as you complete your evaluation order during checkout. If you send us your item, you must send it insured. We will return it insured (no additional charge) and can include a photo (by request) of the item as well as the written valuation.
Please note: We are not certified appraisers. Any valuation received from Garden Party Collection is not certified and therefore may or may not be accepted by some insurance companies. Valuations are based on our expertise and 20 years of experience in the antiques and collectibles business specializing in antique & vintage costume jewelry.
We do buy vintage jewelry all the time and if you are interested in selling your vintage jewelry to us, we will not be able to do the evaluation, it is unethical for any dealer to appraise jewelry they might purchase for resale. The appraisal or current market value is different from the value we would use for purchasing any item. So, what do you do if you have jewelry to sell? First, it's important to understand that the price you see in our store and others is NOT the price you will get for your jewelry, unless you yourself plan on opening a store. We (and others like us) are in business, and therefore must make a profit on what we buy. How much profit a dealer makes varies greatly, but an average range is at least 3-4 times what was paid, and frequently more. The values you see in stores is a retail value and determined by the dealer according to many factors, including but not limited to geography, venue, knowledge of their market, trends, condition, age and rarity.
So, if you are looking to sell, here's what to know:
1) Determine if you have the time, inclination and expertise to sell it on your own, direct to buyers/collectors. There are loads of online and offline venues to choose from. Online venues include online auctions or online vintage malls, all of which charge some sort of fee to use their venue, typically a listing fee and a percentage of the sale value, or a commission. If you have a lot of inventory, you can think about setting up your own web store. You will not have to pay a commission, but can expect start-up costs, including things like web and graphic design, web hosting, merchant account set-up, purchase of squipment and storage, online marlketing, etc. For any online sellng, be prepared to take good clear pictures, write descriptions, add items to the venue, promote your store, accept online payments, and package for shipping. If it sounds labor intensive, it is. Offline, or brick and mortar venues include local flea markets, local consignement stores, antique malls and/or shows, auction houses. Be prepared to pay space or booth rental and commission at stores and auctions. Commissions range between 10-50% or more, depending on venue and type of selling environment. However, no picture taking, write-ups, marketing or shipping is needed and the store collects money for you. Unless you set-up and a flea or show, then be prepared to accept all forms of payment and physically be there to sell. You could also sell at your own garage sale. No expenses involved, it's quick and easy, but be prepared to sell for super low prices, less than if you sell direct to a delaer, in most cases. People shop for serious bargains at garage sales.
Selling your items yourself can be the best chance of netting the most money, in the long run. Be prepared that it will take up your time and be prepared to sit on the inventory for any length of time. It is not a fast process (unless you choose the garage sale route). It's time consuming and takes work. If you do not want to take that time and effort, continue on to tip 2:
2) Sell your items to a dealer. This a much faster way to sell your jewels. You can find dealers at your local antique store or online. Dealers perfer to buy in bulk, rather than take the time to price each item out indivdually, remember, they have a business to run and time is money. Most do not want to take the time to tell you about your items, they just want to buy them. Research and evaluation of your items is different than buying. If you must sell piece by piece, you *might* get more for each one, but there may be many that don't sell. Dealers will take more than they want or need for their stores, if the overall price is right, essentially taking the good with the bad. But, if you make them go through one by one, they'll pull out only what they really want, the best pieces for their store, and leave the rest. You *might* get more per piece for those few items, but you'll be stuck with the rest. If you're prepared to wait and visit with multiple dealers, then you might get it all sold. Again, the process takes some time. In general delaers only pay about 1/3-1/4 of what thy think they can sell an item for, and of course, that number varies dealer to dealer.
Dealers also prefer not to make an offer, particularly for items we are offered via email. First, we can not get enough info from the picture to make a true determination as to age and condition, big factors in determining a buy price. I almost always pay more for items I get in person that I can examine closely. Additionally, dealers do not like to be shopped, or pitted against one another. Most of us online know each other and we are aware when several of us are offered the same jewels for sale. We don't like to give a price that will then be used against us in a bidding war. If you want to encourage bidding, you should try eBay. That being said, you should have some idea of the price you are willing to accept. These pieces belong to you and only you know your price. If you ask a dealer to 'make an offer' EXPECT it to be lower that what you see items listed for in stores and books. We are buying wholesale not retail. We're not trying to be insulting, but to be frank, we're looking to buy for the best possible price. Your items have zero emotional value to us, and we are in business to make a living. Have a number in mind, cut to the chase and tell us! We do not like playing games and/or wasting our tme and yours! Remember, while we are not trying to take advantage, you will make less money overall when you sell to a dealer, since we need to buy low enough to make a profit. We have to cover not only the cost of the item, but the expense of doing business plus make a living. Selling direct to a dealer should, however, be a relatively quick and easy process, you will get a fair price but not have to take the time and effort to sell yourself.
It all really comes down to a choice. Only you can decide the best way for you to sell. More time and effort to sell yourself = more $$$, sell to a dealer = fast sale, fast but somewhat fewer $$. If you want to offer us any items for sale, please do not use this form, it is for evaluations only. Please get in touch via email. If you want to sell on your own, or want to keep your jewelry for your own collection and want to know more, by all means proceed with the instructions and form below.
Fill in the fields and continue on to complete your order for a vintage costume jewelry valuation. You can use the form for more than one item, separate info for each item with commas. Please include as much info you can, either in the box below or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org including where you got it, what's it made of (to the best of your knowledge), and any marks on the piece. We need this info to be able to do a thorough research job.