Could your engagement ring be a priceless crown jewel such as The Koh-i-Nor by any chance? Unless it is, diamonds are the only ‘investment’ almost guaranteed not to get you a return. If you thought your engagement ring was an investment, you’re dead wrong. Unlike gold, there’s no such thing as diamond bullion or diamond coining. Just diamond stones, which could be natural or lab-grown. The supply and demand often fluctuate, affecting prices and value. You may be wondering: How could that be possible, yet diamonds are one of the most valuable precious gems? Well, that’s conventional wisdom, and it isn’t your fault—millions of people think so too.
You got expert advice when buying your engagement ring, but you still lost money on the purchase. To understand better, look at this analogy. Assuming you purchased a diamond engagement ring at $3000. Jewelers source diamonds from wholesalers (the guys with direct connections to uncut diamond suppliers). The jewelers then sell to you at retail prices. Back to your purchase: the jeweler probably got that stone at $1500 or less. Or, they had consigned it from the wholesalers to pay at a later date as per terms and conditions of trade.
The difference ($1500) represents the setting of your ring and the jeweler's overheads and profit margin. It’s also part of the loss you incurred beforehand, now that you’re selling the engagement ring. What you’ll get for the ring is approximately a third of the $3000 original price. In case you’re wondering what just happened, your engagement ring’s resale value is at work. Plus, diamond engagement rings ceased being an investment some time back. They’re now a symbol of love that almost everyone’s sweetheart gets for their engagement or wedding. Regular trading of the stone affects price fluctuations that could go up at any time and plummet just as easily.
If you decide to sell your engagement ring while prices are down, you’ll end up taking an even bigger hit. So, take this valuable information and make it your ammunition to fight for a better resale price. Before you start thinking of a price deliberation strategy, talk to the right second-hand jewelry buyers. In this article, you’ll find a list of potential buyers you can talk to and an in-depth analysis of each of them.
Note that there’re fine details to iron out before scheduling appointments or setting up online listing to sell the engagement ring. It’s essential to know the value of your engagement ring. While local jewelers can give you a free appraisal, that’s not enough. Typically, the jeweler’s appraisal is equivalent to a replacement value, which is only suitable for insurance purposes. Engagement rings are subject to depreciation, and it’s best to have the diamond or sapphire set in the ring graded afresh.
Re-grading is necessary to ascertain the current quality and value, especially if the ring is antique or vintage. Maybe the ring is an heirloom or an estate ring that hasn’t been well-maintained. That’s an added reason to get it analyzed. On average, professional grading by the GIA costs $200, but different carat weights attract different charges. The quality check fees are inevitable. It’s an expense that you’ll have to incur to get the much-needed lab report when selling an engagement ring. However, you can minimize it by working with certain types of buyers or jewelry dealers (more on that later on in this article).
Jewelers and gem wholesalers value the center stone of the engagement ring than they do side stones. If you have a halo or pave type of setting, don’t expect much value to come from the accent stones. They’re usually less than a carat in size. The setting itself boils down to the price of scrap gold, silver, or platinum: or whatever the metal used. Make sure you have the legal rights to sell the engagement ring. State and family law requires you to have the legal capacity to sell the engagement ring. It’s an express right if your ex-spouse gifted you the ring, and you accepted it unconditionally. However, if there happens to be a caveat (for instance, in a prenup), selling the ring without consent from your ex could lead to felony charges against you. But if it’s all good, talk to the following buyers and find your ‘best resale price.’
The urgency to get cash’s the number one reason why sellers go for pawnshops. Besides hard cash, they’re also easy to find; there’s one in every town. Pawnshop owners aren’t your average diamond engagement ring experts. They don’t often deal in diamonds, either, unless their doors swing open to let in an engagement ring seller. At most, they have the basic quality check skills that you can get off the internet. Don’t be surprised if they keep you waiting while they do some unorthodox ‘experiments’ on the ring. Like scratching the setting to see whether it pure gold. Or using the fog test to check how quickly the stone dissipates the fog. Just save them the time and embarrassment and pull out your quality certification. However, they may not relax their hard stance in regards to price.
Usually, pawnshops buy stuff with the sole aim of turning a profit. They also deal with all kinds of items: a mix between your everyday consumables and an assortment. Shelve prices of most of these items are already lower than the current market offers. Your engagement ring is likely to suffer the same
Fate while at the hands of the pawnshop. Other pawn shop operators behave like brokers and corner you on the negotiation for the engagement ring. Next thing you know, they turn around and flip it at a diamond retailer’s outlet or sell it to a wholesaler. Generally, pawn shops have a strict resale price ceiling, especially when buying engagement rings from private sellers. They’re your best option when in a situation that needs a quick financial fix. But if you’re not cash-strapped, extend your search to the next potential buyer.
Engagement Ring Brokers and Consignment Shops
The only distinguishing factor between brokers is the sale of different products and services that these ‘agents’ intermediate for a commission. You’ll have to find the right broker to sell the engagement ring. One who’s good at communication and, preferably, a diamond industry insider or avid in jewelry circles. Also, it would be better for you if the broker comes highly recommended by a colleague or friend of yours. That’s important considering the time you’re likely to spend finding a broker and the strenuous efforts of doing a background check. Please get a broker who doubles up as a professional diamond buyer. Such experts are not only actively involved in brokering, but they've also certified diamond handlers. They probably have more tricks up their sleeves in terms of getting you an appropriate buyer.
When you find a reputable broker, question their business model. Different brokers do different forms of brokering. For instance, a broker may offer to buy the engagement ring directly from you at fair market value. Of course, they would have to assess it first. Other brokers are savvy and would suggest you leave the ring under their care and marketing on your behalf. For such a deal, make sure you get an insured receipt for your protection in case of any downside risks.
Demand to have the agreement written down and signed by both parties. If you agree, the broker would probably use their contacts to get an acceptable price and then deduct a commission for their troubles. It shouldn’t take long to get results. Intermediaries work relatively fast because they know speed works to their advantage. The quicker they find a buyer, the sooner they earn their fee and move on to the next business. Brokers use hybrid models for their deals and creative selling strategies. Request for prompt updates and stay informed every step of the way.
Consigners aren’t much different from brokers. Slight variations in how they handle their business may exist, but their approach has a lot more in common with brokering. They do their best to find the ideal buyer: sometimes an end-user. The extended duration it takes a consignment shop to sell the ring is compensated by delivering a higher dollar-sum. A massive chunk of that money goes towards the consignee’s share, which could be as high as 35 percent. Consignment shops have several operational costs, which bite into your engagement ring proceeds. While consignment may ultimately give you an upper hand in resale value, the time horizon and transaction charges weigh you down. Explore other avenues to dispose of your engagement ring before settling for consignment.
Most people are familiar with auctioning. It’s a popular selling method that’s been around for decades. The inner workings of an auction house are easy to understand for engagement ring sellers. That’s because jewelry auction houses make the process as painless as possible. It’s common for auction houses to have an online presence, though others have physical offices across the globe. You can visit one near you to make an inquiry in person.
That human connection is crucial, given that you may have a sentimental attachment to the engagement ring. A face-to-face conversation turns your acquaintance into a trusted party that you can give custody of the ring. And the detailed information you gather assures you that you’re ready to let go of any emotions and have closure. Whether it’s an online or a brick-and-mortar auctioneer, the process of selling your engagement ring starts with filling a particulars form. The purpose is to collect your contacts and relevant information regarding the engagement ring.
Once they have the details, they’ll likely give you an introductory call and make shipment plans. To be sure that your description matches the realities of the actual ring, you’ll have to send it to them for an up-close examination. Remember the regarding mentioned earlier, that might be unnecessary when dealing with an auction house. That’s because this type of buyer caters to all grading requirements free of charge. They also clean and capture high-resolution images of the ring to showcase to their array of bidders. So, don’t fear to send the ring to them: the shipment is usually insured (up to $ 100,000 for most houses).
As part of the package, they work with you to set a reserve price. Any bids below the reserve fail automatically. Auction houses sell jewelry all the time. Bidders usually are on standby, and you could have a promising buyer in less than a week. Look for auctioneers that charge reasonable commissions or better yet, one that uses a graduation scale — for instance, a seller fee of 10 percent for transactions of $2000 and below. The charges should decrease as you climb higher on the graduation scale. Keep an eye out on package deals too. If you have a pair of diamond earrings or a sapphire brooch that you can sell alongside the ring at a lower transaction cost, don’t hesitate. Auction houses can be selective— some exclusively auction high-end engagement rings, meaning designer pieces such as Graff, Van Cleef, Tiffany & Co., etc. Always enquire before fixing your mind on a certain auctioneer to avoid frustrations.
An online ad is a useful technique if your strategy is to sell to direct consumers. The first thing that should come to mind is to set up an online listing. It’s by far the most efficient way to get your ring in front as many eyeballs possible at one go. eBay and Craigslist are examples of online spaces where you can run a sales ad. When setting up a listing, you’re solely responsible for the description and presentation of the engagement ring to direct buyers. The marketing case you make for the ring could make or break your efforts. Millions of people get online every day. You can integrate your social media channels and trigger interactions to do with engagement rings. Also, joining online communities in the jewelry niche in a bid to promote our sales ads could work.
Peer-to-peer selling sites have their share of challenges. They could be limited in terms of functionality. Others have associated listing costs that could set you back, derailing your attempt to make a sale. You’re not the only person running a sales campaign: there’re probably millions of other sellers fighting for buyers’ attention. Even worse, other engagement ring private sellers could beat you to the chase by under-cutting prices or offering better terms. Targeting customers online may be a bit of a hassle, but still worth trying — don’t overlook it.
Local and Online Jewelers
You’re close to local jewelry stores, so that’s one reason to sell them your engagement ring. However, local stores specialize in a select crop of jewelry. The thin line of products keeps their profit margins optimal and inventory turnover high. If your engagement ring isn’t up their alley, they’re less likely to be interested. The thought of buying your ring only for it to spend months on their displays doesn’t rub them smooth. If they admire the ring and want to make an offer, expect to take home 33 percent of what they pay their bulk suppliers. Local jewelers operate out of shops and have bills to pay. You’ll be in a tight spot, trying to convince them to buy at the current market prices. Why would they buy from you when they can get the same ring from a wholesaler on flexible payment terms?
Yours will have to be an exceptional engagement ring for them to reach such a high resale value. Picture an intricate setting design and high-quality stone. If that’s not the case, turn around and try your luck with online jewelers instead. They’re the direct opposite of the local jewelers. Running online shops enables them to maintain low business-related costs. They are in a position to offer the highest price. Reputable online jewelers buy engagement rings at about 75 percent of the original purchase price of your ring. Look no farther than online jewelers if you want to get a pleasant experience and enjoy selling your ring. Similar to credible auction houses, they too embrace naive walk-in private sellers. If you wish, this kind of jewelry dealer does the A-to-Z of turning your engagement ring to cash. You don’t even have to meet up. All the information exchange happens through phone and on their easy to use online platforms. Online jewelers would hands down come out on top of a scorecard or poll on the best place to sell your engagement ring.
The above list represents the most common avenues to sell your ring. Apart from direct buyers, all the other means are registered business entities. Even private buyers register with the relevant authorities based on state and federal regulations. When in doubt of a dealer, always cross-reference with industry associations such as The Jewelers' Vigilance Committee, Better Business Bureau, and GIA. You should be able to pull out an updated list of, say, all accredited online jewelers.
Visit a few different dealers for each of the discussed categories of potential buyers. They compete with each other, which is your bargaining chip. By visiting several dealers, you get several offers that you can judge comparatively to get the best value for your jewelry. If you recently got your engagement ring from an online jeweler and the return window’s not expired, you’re in luck. You can skip the entire ring selling process thanks to the accommodating return policies, the best in the market. Just return the ring and request for a full refund! But if that’s not the case, you now know the fair value of your engagement ring. And you have the power to turn it into cold hard cash.