Many older Americans reach a point in their lives when they are interested in selling some of the jewelry and “heirlooms” that they have owned over the years. In some cases these are gifts they no longer wish to own and in others there is a need for cash and the sale of valuables can fulfill this need.
There are a number of ways to go forward but there are also a number of things you must do to make sure you maximize your return value.
Depending on the item you are interested in selling you can try and sell them on line via Craigslist, Amazon or eBay. Generally selling on-line can result in screening people and potential fraudulent buyers.
“If you have a valuable piece of jewelry it is probably better to go to a qualified appraiser,” say Gall Raiman who have been buying and selling jewelry for over 30 years. “It is better to deal with someone who makes a living buying and selling diamonds as they know the market very well and can use their vast network of connections to help the sale.”
Of course there is a huge difference between retail and the price you might get when you sell. Checking value yourself is worthwhile; the more you know the less likely you will be taken advantage of. What you will receive will also depend on how quickly you wish the transaction to take place.
If you are in no hurry you can place your items on consignment at an agreed upon price with a Diamond jewelry dealer/seller agreeing upon the seller making a percentage profit (usually 10%-20% of the sales price). In some cases it could take many months to find the right buyer, but the right buyer is the one that can maximize your returns.
The market price for a piece of jewelry, is “what a willing buyer is going to pay; there is no Blue Book for selling a piece of jewelry”, says Gall Raiman from Raiman Rocks
If what you are interested in selling a piece of jewelry that has great value, selling online is probably not your best option. Go to a reputable dealer in gems and fine jewelry in your area or in some cases an auction house like Christie’s or Sotheby’s.
If you decide to go to a jeweler, check to see how long they have been in business and if they are certified gemologists and check their YELP reviews.
What if you sell to an auction house?
Gary Shuler, director of the jewelry department at Sotheby’s in New York, agreed that most people don’t understand the difference between the real price and the appraised value. “We might get you half to one-third to even one-quarter of what you’ve had the item appraised for,” he said. “Everyone has an inflated idea of the value of their possessions.”
Sotheby’s sells jewelry that has a minimum value of $5,000, and adds a negotiated seller’s premium, which is a percentage of the sale price. A buyer’s premium also applies, adding an additional amount up to 25 percent of the price. But just because a piece is valuable monetarily may not mean there is an eager buyer for it, Mr. Shuler said.
“I send people elsewhere all the time,” he said. “The key is, Are we doing you a service? Are we the best people to sell it for you? We don’t make a market. We reflect markets. And we don’t want the piece back. We want it sold.”
Rahul Kadakia, senior vice president and head of jewelry in New York for Christie’s, said: “we see items that are really not suited for the sales that we put together and we refer clients to local auction houses or dealers who might handle these jewels..”
Gloria Lieberman, director of the jewelry department at Skinner Inc., an auction firm based in Boston, said her firm is one of the few relatively inclusive auction houses.
“Impatience will literally cost the seller dearly because the faster the seller needs the money, the lower the price that will be offered, as low as 50 percent of wholesale”, she added.
The experts all agreed that before someone even considers selling a piece of jewelry, whether for scrap, at auction or to a local dealer or retailer, that person should do research and try to determine its current value. A trained professional certified by GIA can help.
“You don’t think about selling your jewelry until you have to do it, and it’s tough to find a liquid market for a high-end item,” says Gall Raiman. His firm, Raiman Rocks, will write a check on the spot, whether the item is a small diamond or a twenty-carat. We usually complete a deal with more than 90 percent of clients who approach us, he added. Raiman Rocks also offers a free insured-shipping label to sellers from all over the world who send in their diamonds for evaluation and sale. Sellers from around the world mail their jewelry to the firm or e-mail images.
“If the seller is not in a hurry, the best option in my opinion is to leave the item with us, on consignment”, says Gall Raiman. “That way, we have the time to work with the item and market it properly to maximize it’s return value. We have done so well for many satisfied customers who had the patience to let us do our work and increase their return”.
- If you are not in a hurry – place it on consignment with us and we will maximize your returns.
- If you need cash now – email us photos of your Jewelry for a firm cash offer and get paid immediately.
- In any case, as auction houses are known to offer very low reserve on Jewelry items, you are better off selling your item directly to a Diamond expert than to an auction house, maximizing your returns.