I come across this issue very often and it seems that the sisters lack knowledge in this as well as some brothers. InshaAllah, this will make things a lot clearer.
How does a wife who has no source of income pay Zakat on her jewelry?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
If an individual possesses in his/her ownership wealth in the form of gold, silver, cash, merchandise, or livestock to the value of the Zakat-payable amount (nisab), then Zakat will be obligatory upon them. In the Hanafi School, one is also obliged to pay Zakat on gold and silver jewellery even if the jewellery is for personal use. (See: the various Fiqh references)
Thus, if a woman has in her ownership gold or silver the value of which reaches the appointed Nisab amount, then she will be required to pay Zakat. If she has money in the form of cash, she may pay the Zakat from it; otherwise, she will have to sell some part of the jewellery in order to pay the Zakat. She may even give an item from the jewellery itself as Zakat to the poor and needy.
However, it is suggested that if she has no other savings, her husband or father pay Zakat on her behalf with her permission. It will be as though her husband or father is giving her some money as gift, and she is utilizing that money to pay off her Zakat. If that is not possible, she will have no alternative but to sell some part of the gold and silver jewellery in order to fulfil her responsibility.
The same ruling would apply with ritual slaughter (udhiyya), in that if one does not possess cash, one will have to sell some part of the wealth in order to fulfil this duty. Udhiyya becomes Wajib when one has wealth (in any form) in excess of one�s personal needs to the amount of Nisab. Thus, even a male who has no cash on hand would be required to sell some items and perform Udhiyya.
And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK