It’s the time of year when people try their hardest to give loved ones gifts that have lasting value. For my grandmother, that gift often turns out to be an heirloom piece of jewelry. She has given me several pieces, and each time with the words: “You can sell it if you need money.” I can’t say that hasn’t crossed my mind. Then again, who has the heart to sell a family heirloom? Buying a friend or loved one an original piece of jewelry with the caveat that they may always sell it if they need some extra money could be a diplomatic middle ground. In other words, buy them a gift that is literally intended to pay off at some future date. Some companies sell jewelry for people interested in buying it as an investment. One is Menē Inc. (pronounced “meh-nay”) US:MENEF, which crafts 24-karat gold and platinum jewelry. It defines “investment jewelry” as a store of value that can appreciate over time. (24-karat gold is essentially pure gold.) Products at Menē and GoldSilver.com do not include diamonds or other gems, which can make efforts to value the piece more complicated — so the real value of their jewelry is in the metal it contains. Make sure it’s nice to look at GoldSilver.com sells gold and silver bars and coins, as well as 22- and 24-karat gold jewelry. The precious-metals retailer offers gold pieces from its own line of jewelry as well from New York-based Auvere, which creates and sells high-karat gold jewelry online. “If you’re going to buy jewelry as an investment, be sure it’s something you’d enjoy keeping and potentially wearing,” said Adam Koos, president and portfolio manager at Libertas Wealth Management Group. “Worst case, if you can’t unload it, you’ve got something you can enjoy.” He said commissions and fees on jewelry can be high. If you end up overpaying for a piece of jewelry? “Good luck cutting for a break-even,” Koos said. The value of design vs. the material Menē, which sells exclusively online, has an average markup of 20% over the precious metal weight, so a $200 ring has $160 worth of precious metal, according to Roy Sebag, co-founder and chief executive officer of Menē. The average markup at GoldSilver.com stands at roughly 35%, said company president Alex Daley. Markups for gold jewelry on eBay US:EBAY and retail stores vary widely, with premiums anywhere from double to three times or more over the metal’s value. If you decide to sell your jewelry, Menē will buy it back at the real-time value, less its 10% buyback fee, then melt it to make new jewelry. GoldSilver.com will offer a price close to the value of the pure metal in your jewelry, and sell it to a gold refiner who will melt it into bullion. If the company you purchase jewelry from doesn’t offer a buyback option, you can calculate gold scrap value using websites such as Goldcalc.com or Meltvalue.com, by entering the weight and purity of the metal. There are laws regulating the purity stamp on the metal, but a testing kit can help you verify purity. Of course, the jewelry may have value beyond the price of the precious metal in both its design and the quality of the gems, so it’s best to get an appraisal by a reputable jeweler.