Once upon a time, people kept their jewelry forever. Gems were more difficult to obtain, to cut and to afford; so people handed down their pieces from one generation to another, and if an item seemed old-fashioned, the recipient would most likely have the stones in it reset into something more modern.
But now, in this era of mass production and national chains, it's often easier (and, frankly, cheaper) to simply purchase a new piece, rather than have an old one worked on. Which is where buying organizations like Circa come in. The 13-year-old firm buys fine jewelry from individuals and resells it privately, usually to estate jewelry stores and specialists. The experience is pleasantly professional—miles away from a visit to a Skid Row-like pawn shop. Circa is situated in a Midtown skyscraper, and the private office into which a client is ushered is not unlike a tony jeweler's back room. The consultant examines the item(s)—often providing a mini-lesson in jewelry history and evaluation as he does so—and makes a written offer. They're not much for bargaining at Circa, but on the other hand, they will cut you a check on the spot if you agree. You can take the offer away and think about it, too.
So, if Granny leaves you that weighs-a-ton tiara you'll never wear, don't get mad. Get money.
<< Circa, 415 Madison Ave., 800.876.5490