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SELLING ESTATE JEWELS

Get maximum value with Fred Leighton.

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You need to make some important decisions.
We can help guide you.

As the leader in purchasing and selling vintage fine jewelry for more than 40 years, Fred Leighton is a trusted advisor to those handling the management and disposition of estate assets. With honesty, discretion, compassion, and a reputation for offering the most competitive prices, we are here to support your needs, including appraisals and maximizing the value of the jewelry from the estate.

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THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH US

Working with Fred Leighton on the sale of your estate jewelry has many advantages:

  • The most competitive values
  • Lower commission rates relative to auction houses, with no transaction fees
  • Immediate resolution and payment
  • The ultimate privacy and discretion

ACCORDING TO OUR CLIENTS

ACCORDING TO OUR CLIENTS

In the September 15, 2019 edition of The New York Times, journalist Kathleen Beckett recounts the journey of selling her inherited rings and how Fred Leighton offered her the most attractive price.

“Everyone who looked at the gold band had offered a couple of thousand dollars. Mr. Kwiat of Fred Leighton offered $3,000, saying he could turn two of its diamonds into ear studs.

Sold.

I also sold the platinum ring to Mr. Kwiat because his $11,000 price was competitive — and I liked the idea that a diamond which had meant joy and love to my mother-in-law and to me would be part of something new and beautiful.”

Read the entire article here.

“During a complicated probate process, I know I can always rely on Greg Kwiat and his team at Fred Leighton to help me manage jewelry appraisals and sales with total ease. I wouldn’t work with anyone else.”

-Joshua Goldberg, Esq.

“I inherited a diamond necklace from a great-aunt. I sold it to Fred Leighton and it was so easy and stress-free. I think my aunt would be pleased that I paid off my student loans.”

-Jamie P.

“My father collected watches. I kept two, but I had to part with the rest. I turned to Greg at Fred Leighton and feel confident that I got a great price. Plus, the entire experience was very smooth and transparent.”

-Doug D.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I sell my jewelry?

We understand that the process of selling jewelry can seem daunting. Our goal is to make it easier for you with transparency and education. The first step is to contact us to start the conversation. We can set up an in-person appointment or speak via telephone or Zoom. We will walk you through the entire process from start to finish to ensure that you are comfortable and confident with the outcome.

What kind of jewelry do you buy?

At Fred Leighton, we buy a wide range of fine jewelry and watch types and styles. Even if you think “it’s not for Fred Leighton,” we would be very pleased to review it with you and to answer any questions. The piece does not have to be branded or “signed” for it to be of interest, although branded pieces from well-known jewelers are often worth a premium.

What are the ways I can work with Fred Leighton to sell my jewelry?

The most important thing to know about working with us is that we are flexible and transparent. Our goal is to make the process easy and comfortable, while helping you achieve the maximum value for your jewelry. We offer several different ways of working with us.

Outright Purchase
After a detailed review of your items, we are pleased to make you an offer to purchase your jewelry with immediate payment by check. As an alternative method of payment, we can offer you a trade-in credit to be used at the Kwiat & Fred Leighton store in an amount greater than the cash purchase price.

Short-Term Consignment
If an item is not quite right for our inventory, we can still help you sell it. After discussing value expectations with you, we will take the items from you on consignment for a short period of 1-2 weeks, during which time we will show potential clients and solicit offers on your behalf. These clients include private retail clients as well as retail store and trade customers. Once we have received offers, we will communicate with you and provide market feedback and advice. The ultimate decision whether to sell is yours to make. Typically, we charge a 10% commission on these sales.

Long-Term Consignment
There are times when your value target may be greater than our purchase offer, but we still believe strongly in our ability to achieve a sale of your jewelry piece. In this case, we can offer you the option to place the item on consignment in our store at a higher value. We work with you in advance to agree on the net price you will receive upon a sale, and we market the piece to our clients. In order to give us time to show your piece to a range of our clients, we typically need at least six months with it. And while there is not a guarantee of a sale, we have a very strong track record of success when working this way.

How will you determine a value for my jewelry?

The secondary market for jewelry and watches is often hard to navigate. Values can be subjective, based on an individual’s perception of intrinsic value of the materials, design and brand value, and ease of resale. Because we are active every day in the buying and selling of vintage and estate pieces, we are best positioned to value your jewelry properly and fairly. And our leadership in the vintage and estate jewelry market allows us to give you the highest offer for your jewelry.

We will always treat our conversations with transparency. In the instances where we might not be the strongest buyer for certain styles or brands, we will be open with you about how you can maximize value and how we can help.

Is the process confidential?

We treat all our customer relationships with the utmost discretion. Everything we discuss is held in the strictest confidence. There are no public records or reporting requirements upon the sale, so all personal information remains entirely private.

How does working with Fred Leighton compare to selling at auction?

There are many advantages to working with Fred Leighton rather than an auction house.

The most competitive values.
We consistently deliver the strongest offers to our clients for the full range of jewelry and watches. Our leadership in the vintage and estate jewelry market allows us the strength to deliver to you the highest value for your jewelry.

Lower commission rates than auction houses.
Between the buyer’s premium and seller’s commission, the auction houses routinely take 25 and 30% of the total sale proceeds. This is far more than what we would take at Fred Leighton. This means that an auction house has to be at least 30% better than a private offer just to net you the same value.

No transaction fees.
Auction houses typically charge various fees for photography, insurance, storage, etc. There are no additional or hidden fees when working with us. We cover the insurance costs and take full responsibility for your jewelry while it is in our possession.

Immediate resolution and payment.
Our purchase offers are based on immediate payment, whereas selling at auction typically entails waiting for an extended period of time with uncertain results.

The ultimate privacy and discretion.
Our conversations and transaction details are always kept confidential, and never available on the internet or in the public domain.

What’s the difference between an insurance appraisal and the price I should expect to get upon a sale?

As you consider the sale of jewelry, it is very important to understand the difference between an appraisal done for insurance purposes and the realistic market value of a piece. Insurance appraisals are prepared at a “retail replacement value,” or the value you might expect to pay if you were to repurchase the item again in the event of a loss. It is typically not realistic to expect to receive this value when you are selling your jewelry.

Is there an obligation to sell?

In choosing to work with Fred Leighton, there is no pressure or obligation to sell. It is our goal to make sure you are fully informed so that you can make a final decision that best meets your goals.

A HISTORY OF EXPERTISE AND TRUST

Established in New York City the 1970s, Fred Leighton is one of the world’s most important houses of fine antique jewelry. For those looking to buy or sell pieces of any style and from any era, Fred Leighton has been the trusted advisor for more than 40 years.

In 2009, Fred Leighton became a part of Kwiat, New York’s renowned diamond jewelers since 1907. Under the leadership of the Kwiat family, we are also an authority on fine diamonds and gemstones.

Our extraordinary collections are available to browse and purchase at our flagship boutique at 66th Street and Madison Avenue, Manhattan’s premiere luxury shopping destination.

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JEWELRY WITH STORIES AND STYLE

We are always in search of jewelry of all styles and from all historical eras—from the antique designs of the Georgian and Victorian periods, through the defining style of Art Deco and the mid-20th Century, up to the modern day.

Of particular interest are jewels and timepieces created by renowned houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., David Webb, Rolex, Patek Phillippe, and many more. If you aren’t sure of the jewelry’s value, creator, or provenance, you can rely on us to identify it.

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