Prospering with estate jewelry

A niche worth exploring 

Estate authorJoel BigelmanThere is economic uncertainty like never before in the country today, and we are a luxury market, but what if you could learn to profit from all this economic stress?

I love the jewelry business and know it will always survive. People have been buying and wearing jewelry since the beginning of time. We will survive this time too. We are strong and know how to change with the times.

I want to talk about the estate jewelry business. What exactly is estate jewelry? Estate jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is used (pre-owned). It can be antique - which is greater than 100 years old; it can be vintage - generally 20 years or older; or it can be modern.

Estate jewelry is a niche you can add to your business model that can increase revenue and help you to survive down markets and uncertainty. You might be surprised to hear this, but this one concept can add extra income to your business without adding extra employees or adding another location. In fact, you will attract new customers and add more service to your current clients.

People are going to need money when the country reopens. People are going to be looking to sell their jewelry. Gold, as you know, is usually high when the market is down. We can serve our customers by buying their unwanted gold, diamonds, jewelry and watches.

This specialty allows flexibility, and gives you a department that is free from manufacturers and their rules. You have the freedom to buy what you want, when you want, and know there is always a way to turn the merchandise back into cash.

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Of course, to be successful you will need to learn a few new skills, but you already have most of what you need: the jewelry knowledge, the trust of your customers, and most importantly your reputation, honesty and integrity. You do need to apply for a second hand license, so look up what your state, city, or county requires. Start the process now so you are ready to roll when your store reopens.

I have been in the 2nd hand jewelry business for over 30 years, and I have also had the experience of a retail operation much like yours. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn from the best estate buyers, who were successful and fabulous teachers (my father in-law and his father). I have made some mistakes along the way and had some home runs. As with anything, you have to be willing to try something new. My father in-law’s favorite quote is, “if you are not making a few mistakes then you aren’t buying enough.” There are no real downsides to this business if you are buying correctly - more income, better margins, additional service for your current customers, and adding new customers.

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In 2007 we had just decided to try our hand at an estate jewelry only retail and wholesale operation, and opened a brand new store. We were scared when the recession hit, but it ended up being one of our best years. We all want a business that can stand the test of time.

I am sharing this with you because I want all independent jewelers to not just survive, but prosper. This is a chance for you to try something new and add another revenue stream. We are all in this together and if we keep this mindset, we will be stronger.

For more information contact Joel Bigelman, GG, Bardy’s Estate Jewelry at 561-430-5304 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..