Most advertising campaigns by De Beers feature their famous slogan “A Diamond is Forever.” Consequently, women seldom sell a diamond and often feel uncomfortable buying diamonds previously owned by other women. There is a sentimental aspect to diamonds that is very different from other tangible assets like boats, houses or automobiles. However, there are occasions when consumers need to sell their diamonds and, unlike the used car market, there is not a well-developed method for consumers to sell their diamonds.
As a consumer, you face some unique challenges when trying to get the best price for your diamond in a safe and comfortable manner. Your starting point is to know exactly what you are selling. This is much easier if the diamond has a grading report from a major laboratory like the GIA or AGS. You have more of a challenge if there is no formal grading report. In this case, you need to find an independent appraiser who can evaluate the diamond and determine its quality and potential value.
Once you know your diamond’s specifications, you can find the current retail asking price by checking with online retailers to see what similar diamonds are selling for in today’s retail market. It is unlikely you will be able to get the going retail price for your diamond. Selling your diamond at 80% to 90% of that amount would make it sell quicker. Be realistic about your expectations. The lowest cost online retailers, not the expensive jewelry stores with double the price, set the value of your diamond.
You now know your target price and simply have to figure out how to find the right buyer for your diamond. There are several options available to sell your diamond and you need to determine which is best for maximizing your money and safety while minimizing your time and effort.
Your first thought might be to go to the closest jewelry store or pawnshop and sell them the diamond. The key to remember here is that they do not need your diamond. They can get all the diamonds they want on the wholesale market. The only reason they will buy your diamond is if the price is a fraction of the wholesale price. They hope you need the money bad enough to take 25%-50% of what you could be getting for your diamond elsewhere. They might offer you a little more if you “trade up” to something in their display case. However, this often results in you paying more for the new diamond and receiving less for your diamond than if you sold it elsewhere.
Several online brokers specialize in buying diamonds and estate jewelry from consumers. They typically have you ship the diamond to them so they can determine the amount they will pay you. All too often, this amount is much less than their preliminary estimate so you must either pay the return shipping, or accept their price. If your main priority is getting money fast, this is a valid option. If your main priority is getting top dollar for your diamond, there are better selling methods available to you.
Auctions like eBay are very popular for selling jewelry items but there is so much low quality jewelry listed, it is hard for potential buyer to find your quality diamond. You are competing with jewelry retailers whose entire business is selling on eBay so they are experts at writing the descriptions (often with exaggerated quality), taking impressive pictures and shipping their items. Even if a bidder does find your item, the odds of getting your target price are slim to nil because other retailers are advertising items with similar descriptions for about half the amount you want. Notice I did not say they are advertising similar quality, just similar descriptions. Do a search for diamond rings with GIA grading reports and you will see the vast majority of diamond rings have paperwork from sources you have never heard of before.
Other effective ways to find a buyer are classified ads in local newspapers and bulletin boards at church or work. The challenge is reaching enough people to find at least one buyer willing to pay your price. You have to be careful when doing this kind of transaction, especially if selling to a stranger. Do the transaction in a safe place and be sure you have a valid form of payment. You do not want to hand over your diamond and end up with a phony cashiers check or bad personal check.
Some jewelry stores and online retailers will sell your diamond on consignment. Online retailers with a local presence have an advantage in that they have large numbers of diamond shoppers on their website plus walk in traffic that can see your diamond in person. They also have lower overhead and prices so you can get a bigger share of the selling price. With jewelry stores often marking up prices over 100%, your share is likely to be less than half of the selling price.
Just be sure to get a written description of the item you are giving on consignment and the minimum amount you will accept for your diamond. All too often sellers are not being able to get their jewelry items back from a store or only receive a fraction of the amount they expected from the sale. However, if you have patience and a low priced, trustworthy retailer to broker your diamond, you have an excellent chance of getting an excellent price for your diamond without the hassle and safety issues of selling it yourself.