Do you pay Zakat on jewelry?
Dear questioner, we are very pleased for the great confidence you repose in us and we really commend your apparent interest in having a better understanding of the teachings of Islam and the rulings of this great religion in all matters. In fact, Islam is a religion that encompasses all aspects of life and secures guidance and light for all mankind.
In an attempt to furnish you with an answer to your question, we would like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist and counselor, in which he states the following:
the idea of zakah is based on giving to the poor and the needy out of one’s wealth. Therefore, all items that are assigned for personal use are exempt from zakah. This includes personal clothing, books, residence, furniture, home appliances, and personal means of transportation, and so on. This is also why the condition of nisab exists. The condition of nisab means that a person who owns less than a given amount is not subject to zakah on the grounds that this amount is needed for emergencies and other precautionary spending. The amount of nisab equals 85 grams of gold.
Since women’s jewelry is normally for personal use, it must be exempt from zakah. However, it is argued that women’s jewelry may be a form of wealth. The argument continues: What is the difference between keeping a thousand dollars as cash or keeping jewelry that is worth a thousand dollars that at any time can be liquidated?
Therefore, a moderate approach is suggested by many Shari`ah scholars as follows: If women’s jewelry is valued above what her peers usually wear, or if such jewelry is not actually being used but stored as a reserve asset, then such jewelry is subject to zakah because in this case it is either a surplus that reflects visible wealth or is actually treated by the owner as a reserve fund like the nisab.
this means that the amount of women’s jewelry that is in excess of what her peers usually wear or that is stored, rather than used, must be subject to zakah provided it reaches the amount of nisab as mentioned above.”
Based on the above, you should judge your case according to what is mentioned in the above fatwa. Calculating the amount of weighing the jewelry your wife have is something easy and it is not necessary that you have a scale at home as you can easily do that with the help of a jeweler nearest to your home.