There’s nothing quite like a beautiful piece of jewelry. A diamond engagement ring, for example, is full of promise. A gold wedding band represents a lifelong bond of love. Jewelry means so much more than money. Jewelry means love, affection and warmth. Lovely, isn’t it?
It is—until it all goes wrong.
Ouch. Perhaps you’ve felt the sting of a broken engagement. Maybe the person you thought was a friend turned out to be a fiend. Whatever the reason, you don’t seem to have the same warm and fuzzy feelings when you look at that ring or necklace anymore. In fact, you want it out of your sight. Selling it sounds like a good idea.
In fact, selling your jewelry can be a great idea as long as you do it the right way.
Here’s how to get started and what you can expect.
Think Before You Sell
Before you head to the pawn shop or peruse jewelry sites online, take a few minutes to face some truths.
You will not get your purchase price on a used piece of jewelry. What’s more, it’s unlikely you’ll get the appraised insurance value.
As appraisal expert Howard Rubin explains in an article in the Los Angeles Times, insurance appraisals take into account a variety of factors including retail replacement cost, manufacturer and retailer profits, and overhead. Appraised value and resale value are never the same.
You also have to consider the emotional toll of selling your jewelry. Selling an engagement ring after a breakup is one thing, but if you’re selling a family heirloom because you’re strapped for cash, you might have to deal with guilt and sadness as well. And, you have to face the fact that your heirloom diamond may not fetch a price anywhere near what you hope. A potential buyer doesn’t care about your grandmother’s ring except in terms of monetary worth. If you have to sell, keep your expectations real.
One last tip before you attempt to sell your jewelry: Clean it before trying to sell it, particularly if it’s old and looks a bit worn. Gentle cleaning with warm water, dishwashing soap and a soft toothbrush brings back the luster.
I Do Now I Don’t: What Springs Out of a Broken Heart?
Sometimes the best things come out of heartbreak. That’s what happened to Josh Opperman.
In 2007, Opperman was looking forward to marrying the love his life. Opperman bought a lovely engagement ring for his fiancé and the two were planning their lives together. Three months into the engagement, however, Opperman came home to find that his fiancé and her belongings had vanished. The only thing left was the engagement ring.
Heartbreak doesn’t describe the devastation Opperman felt. But, he was in for a bigger surprise. As he recovered and began to move on, he tried to sell the ring to get what he could. That’s when he found out the truth: Though the ring was in great shape and only three months old, the retailer who sold it to him offered only about a third of what he’d paid. That didn’t sit well. Opperman looked into selling on eBay and Craigslist but wasn’t comfortable with the free-for-all style. That’s when he came up with the idea for I Do Now I Don’t (IDNID).
IDNID is a jewelry marketplace that brings sellers and buyers together. What makes IDNID different from other auction sites is that it protects both buyers and sellers. Sold items are sent to IDNID for authentication before going on to the buyer. Because pieces are authenticated, buyers have confidence they won’t be ripped off and are often willing to pay higher prices. It’s a win-win. If you decide to put your jewelry on IDNID, you’ll pay a 15 percent commission when you sell your item.
Out of Time? Try These Options
If you’re not in a position to wait for someone to see and purchase your piece online, try local jewelers and other venues. You won’t get much money, but what you do get will be in your pocket fast.
Unless you have an established relationship with a local jeweler, check out Better Business Bureau ratings to find a reputable professional. Also look for American Gem Society members, who agree to comply with the highest ethical standards.
Pawn shops typically pay money for jewelry, but you won’t get much. If you need money yesterday, though, a pawn shop is one of the options to consider.
Also check small local consignment shops. Some mom-and-pop stores purchase jewelry to sell outright; you might get a better price there than at a local jewelry store. If you have a little time, you could try letting the store sell on consignment for you. Proprietors generally charge a small commission for consignment items.
Craigslist and eBay Online Auctions
You have to admit: It’s not difficult to post an ad on Craigslist. What is difficult is avoiding the multitude of problems that can happen. You also have some work to do before posting your item for sale.
Whether your jewelry is relatively new or an antique, do some research on similar items on online auction sites and figure out current selling prices. It doesn’t matter that you bought the ring for $5,000 three months ago if people aren’t paying more than $3,000. If the ring has defects, you’ll get even less. Be painfully honest in your description, include flaws and provide pictures from every angle. Take precautions if you plan to meet up with someone who answers your Craigslist ad. Here are some tips to stay safe:
- Do not allow the person to meet with you at home. Agree to meet in a public place.
- Check with your local police department to see if they provide a safe transaction area for meetups like this—many do.
- Only accept cash. Do not accept a check or money order