Having a career in vintage and estate jewelry -- in an auction house, antique store or E-commerce -- can be colorful, exciting and filled with history and culture. Holding history in their hands, professionals in this field have an opportunity to work with rare and iconic examples of artistic creativity throughout time.

In addition, long before banks became a part of every community, pawnbrokers and loan officers served essential financial functions. Today, these professionals continue to offer immediate expert valuation and loan funding by purchasing luxury assets as collateral including fine jewelry and diamonds, luxury watches, fine art, luxury and classic cars, designer handbags and accessories, precious metals or one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Customers also trust pawnbrokers when it comes to buying special occasion jewelry.

Overall, the secondary market for jewelry has grown with rising consumer interest in buying or selling pre-owned jewelry.

A career in this field may include working with clients and artists, valuing works, scouting emerging estates, or growing business. For those interested in research, history and buying and selling, a career in this sector may be of interest.

On the Job

Those that work in the second-hand jewelry market – whether auction houses, estate jewelry dealers, or pawnbrokers – will spend time ensuring jewelry has been authenticated and properly valued. Professionals in this field often conduct market research through reference books, previous auction catalogs and industry price lists when forming a qualified opinion on value. This role also requires specific knowledge of computer software, capturing and processing images, retouching photos and adding detailed descriptions to ensure accurate documentation and cataloging.

Additionally, these professionals apply valuation theory training, tools and a variety of skills when conducting initial inquiries of incoming merchandise submitted for examination, purchase or auction. These tools include but are not limited to gemological microscopes, scales, slide gauges, metal testers, diamond master stones and millimeter measuring devices. Depending on the role, daily tasks may also include educational training for clients and staff, event planning, merchandise management and setting up display showcases.

Whether it’s the love of history, the deal, the exceptional jewelry or their clients, people working in the pawn, auction, or estate side of the jewelry business report one thing: they are never bored!

Growing in the Industry

Since sales – no matter what the environment – is the foundation for many careers within the jewelry industry, working for a pawnbroker, an auction house, or an antique and estate dealer is a great place to start your career. Salespeople can move on to management positions or go into buying; some prefer to work wholesale while others stay in retail. Many start their own businesses or become consultants and work with private clients or other firms.

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Jewelers of America

In 1906, Jewelers of America was founded by jewelers for jewelers, with a desire to advance the professionalism and ethics of the jewelry industry.

Today, we continue that mission and Jewelers of America Members stand as the most trustworthy, informed and professional jewelry businesses within the United States.