Sell Your Brooch Online
How To Sell Your Brooch
Whether you have a mourning brooch that you have inherited or a collection of novelty brooches that you have built up over the last 10 years, knowing how to sell your brooches can be somewhat difficult. Over the years, collecting habits have changed and what might have been in fashion 5 years ago may no longer be sought after.
Selling at auction used to be a good option for selling brooches, however, the average seller’s commission is now 18% and the average buyer’s commission is 25% – meaning that if you sell at auction you only get back 57% of what the buyer was willing to pay. We can help you get the most for your earrings so please get in touch.
This guide aims to help you understand what your brooch is worth and what affects the value of your brooch. You can also get in touch for a free valuation and no-obligation advice.
How Can You Sell Your Brooch?
Are you looking to sell your brooch but don’t know where to start? At Mark Littler LTD we make the selling process as simple as possible by handling all of the logistics, paperwork and fully insured shipping.
We can help you sell your earrings in two ways:
- Through a brokered private sale
- Through specialist online auctions
Our aim is to achieve the best possible price for your jewellery; after all, you can only sell once. By giving you all of your options you can be sure you are making the right decision.
Common Brooch Types
Bar – Bar brooches became fashionable in the Victorian period, and were often designed as a simple metal bar with a central motif. Edwardian bar brooches made use of gemstones that were often calibre-cut. In the Art Deco period, bar brooches were geometric in design.
Novelty – Novelty brooches date back to the late Victorian period. They are characterised by popular motifs of the period that are often kitsch or funny. Victorian-era novelty brooches featured motifs such as kittens chasing balls of wool, rabbits eating carrots, wishbones, horseshoes, and winged bats.
Spray – Spray brooches are characterised by floral or spray patterns set with gems. Spray brooches in the Victorian era often included flowers, stars, or bows. The spray brooch was very popular during this era, but the more structured and geometrical nature of Art Deco era designs saw the spray brooch fall out of fashion somewhat.
Cluster – Cluster brooches are designed as multiple gems such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies and more set close together in a clustered arrangement. Cluster brooches were worn as early as the medieval period, much like this medieval cluster brooch that was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum. Cluster brooches continued to be popular in the Victorian era, and were even fashioned as multifunctional hairpieces.
Pendant – Pendant brooches first became popular in the Edwardian era. They were versatile pieces that were designed to hang from a chain and be worn as a necklace if needed. Brooches were often detachable from other pieces of jewellery in this period.
Aigrette – An aigrette is tufted plumes or feathers that were often seen in Europe on hats and headdresses from the 1700s all the way until the early 20th century. The aigrette brooch, therefore, usually consists of a feather or plume made of diamonds or other coloured gems.
Mourning – Mourning brooches were a feature of Victorian-era mourning dress. Women who were in mourning for a lost relative would dress in black mourning clothes and veils and often don a mourning brooch. These brooches were often made with black enamel with intricate engravings, pearls or diamonds. Sometimes, hair from the deceased would be woven into the brooch.
What Affects The Value Of Your Brooch?
Jewellery is made either in anonymous workshops or by well-known designers and jewellery houses. As you can imagine, pieces that are designed by famous designers or jewellery houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Georg Jensen will command a premium over those that were mass-produced. Brooches by well-known jewellery houses have more provenance and history behind them, making them more commercial than their fashion jewellery counterparts.
Most brooches that were designed and made by famous designers will bear a maker’s mark, telling you who produced the item. This information is important in valuing your pieces of jewellery. The marks can be very small, and you may not be able to read them with the naked eye. For example, brooch hallmarks are often located on the pin.
The value of a brooch can also be affected by whether or not its design is indicative of the period that it is from. For example, a brooch from the Art Deco period features a geometric pattern and bold colours, it will be more commercial than an Art Deco that shows none of the defining features of the Art Deco period.
Most brooches are made from some kind of gold, silver, or platinum. Identifying the purity of the metal can help to determine the quality of the item. For example, gold comes in various different purities, with 24-carat gold being the purest, with 99.9% pure gold. As such, 24-carat gold items are considered of a higher purity than 9-carat gold items (37.5% pure gold).
Certain metals and purities are better suited to gem settings than others. For example, you would not set a 3ct emerald in a 9ct gold setting. Instead, you would use 18ct platinum, which is more durable than 9ct gold.
Silver and platinum also have different levels of purity that affect the value of items made from these metals. The purity of an item can be identified either through testing in a lab or through the hallmarks on the item. For example, a silver item with a full set of UK hallmarks can be called sterling silver.
If your brooch is set with gemstones, there are many attributes of these gems that can affect the value of your item.
Firstly, what is the identity of the gemstone? Diamonds have always been, and remain, extremely commercial. Other stones such as tanzanite, sapphire, and emerald are also highly sought after.
Other attributes such as the cut, colour, inclusions, damage, carat weight, and clarity of the gemstone can affect the value. For example, a 1ct round brilliant natural diamond with high clarity will be more valuable than a 1ct round brilliant natural diamond with several inclusions and a chipped girdle.
There is also a disparity in value between natural gemstones and man-made gemstones. Whether or not a gemstone has been treated can also affect the value of your brooch.
Of course, the condition of your brooch will have an impact on value. Any dents, missing claws, scratches, etc will affect the value.
However, with jewellery, the condition of the item is more relevant to some styles than others. For example, gold is extremely malleable, and so a missing claw in a ring can be easily replaced. By contrast, items made from enamel, such as cameo brooches, can be very difficult to repair and restore.
The same can be said for different gemstones. Some gemstones are much easier to re-cut and re-polish than others.
When sending us photos of your items please be sure to include photos of any damage to the jewellery so that we can accurately assess the condition of the item.
At Mark Littler Ltd we have sold jewellery from many different time periods, from the medieval Green Hammerton Ring to modern Cartier pieces. Jewellery from certain time periods is more sought after than others. For example, jewellery from the Victorian Era (1837-1901) is more sought after by collectors than jewellery from the Retro Era (1939-1950).
Whilst this is not always the case – sometimes more modern pieces command a premium, depending on numerous factors such as the designer – the age of your jewellery can be a good indication of its rarity and value in some instances.
As mentioned above, jewellery from specific periods is always more sought after if it reflects the characteristics of the particular period. For example, Art Nouveau jewellery bearing the characteristic swirls and natural motifs will be more valuable than jewellery from the same period that does not share these features.
The form that your jewellery takes can have an effect on the value of your piece due to certain types of jewellery falling in and out of fashion.
As an example, solitaire rings and stud earrings are somewhat timeless. Brooches, by comparison, have fallen out of fashion in the last few decades. Brooches made of metal date back to the Bronze Age when they were used to secure woollen cloaks and tunics. They remained in fashion for a long time but eventually fell out of fashion in the 1980s due to changes in fashion trends and textiles. Today, clothes are more often made from polyester and cotton rather than from sturdier materials such as wool, meaning that the brooch pins are more likely to damage the clothing.
Of course, this is not to say that brooches are not worth much, just less commercial at this moment in time. That said, some of the most commercial brooches are from the Art Deco period and can command five-figure sums.
Rings, necklaces, and earrings are all very commercial, with specific styles commanding different premiums at different times in history.
How We Can Help You Sell Your Brooch
Our brokerage service is a simple and stress-free way to sell your jewellery. We will broker the sale between you and one of our private buyers, handling every aspect of the sale on your behalf. For this service, we charge a 10 + VAT commission (12% total). This avenue is quick and easy. We will take care of everything for you.
We have built relationships with some of the country’s best specialist auctions. These industry relations help us to help you sell jewellery through the auction house that is best suited to you and your item. This is critical given the high cost of selling your items through traditional auctions. We will consign your item to the appropriate auction house for you.
Sell Brooches: Expert Valuations
To make the process as simple as possible for you, we give you the opportunity to get your jewellery valued for free with our quick and easy-to-use valuation form.
Please provide as much information as possible about your item so that we can give you an accurate valuation.
Jewellery Valuation Contact Form
We make getting your jewellery to us simple.
We have a fully insured postage service. We send you specialist packing materials and instructions together with a pre-paid returns label so that you can ship your jewellery back to us quickly and safely.
For large collections and very high-value items, we also have a hand-courier service available.
The History of Brooches
The earliest brooches were used in the ancient world to pin garments to one another and were often made of thorns and flints. The Bronze age saw metal pins being fashioned for the first time. Over time, brooches transitioned from functional pieces to ornamental pieces. Brooches have, somewhat, fallen out of fashion in the modern day. However, the brooch gained increasing popularity in the Victorian era which saw the introduction of styles such as the novelty brooch and the mourning brooch.
The most typical brooch forms recognised in history are spray, cluster, bar, pendant, novelty, aigrette, foliate, and mourning.
Diamond brooches in various forms continue to be the most commercial on the market. Brooches set with graduated rows of diamonds and other precious gems command premiums at auction, as do 19th floral spray brooches set with diamonds.
The 4 C’s
The 4 Cs are common terminology in the world of gemmology, and they refer to the 4 most important factors that can affect the value of a diamond but can also apply to other gemstones. The 4 Cs are:
Clarity – The clarity of a diamond indicates how inclusion-free the diamond is. A diamond free from inclusions is commonly graded as Flawless (F). The better the clarity of the stones in your brooch, the higher the value of the brooch will be in comparison to similarly-sized stones of lower clarity.
Cut – The cut of a diamond or gemstone refers to how deep or shallow the cut is. A well-cut stone will direct light through the crown. A cut that is too deep or too shallow will allow light to escape. As such, a well-cut diamond, or other gemstone, will hold more value than one of a similar size but with a shallower cut.
Carat – Carat refers to the carat weight of a diamond or gemstone. A 1ct diamond will be worth more than a 0.95ct diamond. As such, the larger the stone the more value the piece will hold.
Often the central diamond in a motif is the largest diamond in the piece. This, as well as the added carat weight of other stones in the piece, will contribute to the value.
Colour – Colour refers to the tint within a diamond. Diamonds range from colourless to very light yellow (this is specifically in reference to colourless diamonds). There are also coloured gemstones, which refer to any gemstone that is not a diamond. The colour of these gemstones can also affect their value. For example, padparadscha sapphires – which are a beautiful orangey-pink colour, are considered the most valuable sapphires. Pale blue sapphires are generally considered the least valuable.
I highly recommend Mark Littler, who is extremely knowledgeable and went out of his way to help me sell some... artwork.read more
Well having now completed the process, I can say that Mark and his whole team are absolutely excellent. We were guided through different ways to sell different bottles. Help with packaging and transport is provided, and advice on bottle values was good.
They have now all been sold, and at very pleasing prices.
Highly recommended!read more
He completed a sale for me with his... professionalism & personal service & I will happily use him again. Thank you Mark & staff., for a five star service. Lorna Hickmanread more
I highly recommend Mark Littler if you have any unusual bottles to sell, they are the people to sell it for you.read more
Friendly professional service... throughout.
Excellent company.read more
Account Manager Hannah... Thompson completed the transaction faultlessly throughout. She was quick to establish which were the highly collectable bottles and which I would just have to enjoy drinking. I had a very good idea which bottles would fetch the best price and Hannah confirmed that for me. After putting the bottles to their database of clients, I soon had a best offer which stacked up against other vendors. On accepting the offer a courier delivered all the packing boxes the following day and we dropped everything packed to the post office. Hannah confirmed receipt and a couple of days later Mark called to confirm that he had just sent the proceeds to me - All very painless!
Many companies make a lot of promises these days but never quite deliver - Mark Littler is very much the exception!read more
Knowledgeable guy and easy to talk to! Will guide you through every step.
Highly recommendread more
Would not hesitate to recommend them to any prospective seller.read more
mark has been professional, helpful and knowledgeable as a whole.
With a personal service and a reasonable price,... there really is every reason to use Mark!
Fantastic service and communication throughout. Mark sold a bottle of whisky for me and made the... whole process so easy and stress free! Cannot recommend his services enough. Thank you againread more
Many thanks Mark.
Gary Cattellread more
He connected us with an interested buyer and the sale went smoothly and at a price I was very pleased with. I am poised to use him again for items I have and would highly recommend him to anyone else located in the US to sell their items.read more
His honest advice and clear communication at every stage eased our path through the... whole transaction.
This with the outstanding sale price he achieved for us, was more than impressive.
We commend him highly to anyone with good whisky to sell.
Thank you Mark
Eddie & Anita