Last week, we talked about the liquidation value of estate jewelry, the price you might get for it if you bring it to a pawn shop in Vienna, VA. There are several other values that can be assigned to your piece of jewelry:
Estate value: the amount determined if the item will be taxed for an estate
Retail replacement value: the amount determined when insuring an item
Fair market value: what appraisers are required to use by the IRS, and which pretty much ensures that the above two values will be the same.
So in brief, fair market value is assigned based on the current price one could buy a similar item—in quality, condition, etc.—in the common marketplace. Since estate jewelry would not be available new, the common market comparison is generally through an establishment that sells used jewelry to the public. And very often, because an older item may not be desirable, this value is often determined by the wholesale value of the gold and gems only. This is often a disappointment to the owner, who may be advised that if the piece has sentimental value, it might be better just to hang on to it.
When we buy estate jewelry at Vienna Jewelry on Maple Avenue, we try to be cognizant of what might resell and what our customers might find desirable, even today. We only buy the most classic and unique pieces that will appeal to one with modern sensibilities and vintage taste.