Many of us are sitting on top of valuable treasures and not know it. Old jewelry that has been passed down for years can sometimes be worth more than one would at first assume. The only problem is that you need to be able to find out what it’s really worth from someone who will give you an accurate and honest figure. This means that you need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable. This can sometimes (who am I kidding, often) be hard to find. That’s why the best approach is to try to get the data from several sources and then you’ll have plenty of opinions to go through.
First, there’s the internet. Very often you can write down a description of the type of jewelry that you have, and what year it came from (if you know) to get some general idea about the piece. Try to look for any identifying marks on the item, like numbers indicating the purity of the metals, or perhaps even a mark from whoever made it.
You can also try a pawn shop. Sometimes they have people who are knowledgeable about jewelry working there so they can give good appraisals. Just keep in mind that pawn shops are trying to make money off of your items, so whatever they tell you they will pay for it, consider that it is worth more. The good thing is that in the USA pawn shops are everywhere, so you can get many different appraisals in a single afternoon.
There’s always hiring a professional to do the appraisal, but they cost money. If the item you have really isn’t worth much, then that would be a waste. Better to get an idea of the value of the item by doing the above first, and if it seems like it could be a real treasure, only then hiring a pro.