Considering selling your diamond ring? You’re not alone! According to Emerald.com, 1.8 million engagement rings are sold in the US annually, and 1.75 million are diamond rings. Even a tiny percentage of that number adds up to a whole lot of used wedding rings on the market for resale.
If you’re about to sell your diamond ring, you probably have questions like “how much is my ring actually worth?” or “how do I find out more about my ring?”. Don’t worry! We’ll tell you all about the various factors that contribute to the ring’s final price.
We’ll also address how local jewelers, pawn shops, and marketplaces determine a ring’s value and what to expect from each. Let’s begin!
What Determines the Price of My Diamond Ring?
The value of your diamond ring depends on the following factors:
The Center Stone
Whether it’s a diamond, ruby, emerald, or any other gemstone, your ring’s center stone will most significantly impact its resale value. Why? Because the center stone is usually the largest and best suited to re-cut if needed. Also, a precious gemstone will always be more valuable than the metal used to fashion its setting.
One of the first things to determine if you’re considering selling your ring is what kind of stone is the primary gem featured in your ring. Gemstones vary in value carat per carat. For example, at $3.93 million per carat, a blue diamond far exceeds the average $15,000 per carat value of a white diamond.
While a white diamond is the most common, it pays to verify how much your ring is worth if it features a different precious gemstone.
While diamonds are a popular center stone, other gems make stunning center stones, too. The type of center stone impacts how much your ring is worth. Stones such as garnet, amethysts, and peridots will be less expensive than gems like sapphire, ruby, and emerald. Similar to diamonds, the 4C’s—cut, clarity, carat, and color—also impact the price of the gemstones.
Emeralds tend to be more expensive stones. For example, this emerald open ring is $275, while the opal version of the same ring is only $198.
Finally, a ring without stones will be worth less, like this 14k Twist ring priced at $98.
We suggest looking for a gemstone of similar quality to yours for an idea of its worth.
Gemstone Quality Factors
Regardless of what kind of center stone you have, its value will be determined by measurements set by an organization specializing in gemstone assessment. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is the most prestigious and reputable of these organizations.
We’ll take a moment to expand on this a little later, but for now, we’ll have a look at the “4 C’s” of gemstone assessment as set by the GIA:
The best-known factor of a gemstone’s value is its carat. Carats are a measurement of weight, and one carat = 0.2 grams (or 200 milligrams). A gem increases in value with its carat size, not only because a larger stone is more dramatic on the finger but also because larger gems are less frequently found in nature than smaller gems.
Each category of the 4 C’s has its own gradient chart to help jewelers appraise the quality of a gemstone and certify its value.
The highest-rated, most valuable white diamonds on the color scale are colorless. On the other end of the spectrum, white diamonds with brownish or yellowish color gradients are the least valuable.
Naturally-colored gemstones are measured by their own standards based on their hue, tone, and saturation of color.
In contrast, when we speak about the quality of a diamond’s color, we’re really talking about its lack of color. (Confusing, right?) Perfectly clear diamonds are at the top of the rating scale (rated D) and much more valuable than diamonds with yellowish or brownish hues at the bottom (Z-rated).
This is how the color scale breaks down:
- Colorless = D,E,F
- Near Colorless = G,H,I,J
- Faint = K,L,M
- Very Light = N,O,P,Q,R
- Light = S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z
Even though the variations on the scale are too subtle to discern with the naked eye, a diamond’s color grade definitely influences its quality and price. Check out this 1-carat D-rated, perfectly colorless diamond.
Now compare it to this same diamond with an E-rating. Note the color comparison vs. price difference.
Except for opaque stones like opals, gemstones with the highest clarity are more valuable. Gems that display cloudiness or inclusions (flaws inside the stone) rate lower on the clarity scale and are worth less, with heavily flawed stones being the least valuable.
A gemstone’s cut refers to how well it’s shaped to bring out its inner beauty and showcase its balance and symmetry. “Fire,” “brilliance,” and “scintillation” are terms the GIA uses to measure the quality of a stone’s cut.
The shape of the gemstone is frequently associated with the cut. For this section, we’ll focus on one weight: 1 carat.
A 1-carat gemstone looks larger or smaller depending upon the shape due to its surface area:
|Round||6.5 x 6.5|
|Princess||5.5 x 5.5|
|Cushion||6.5 x 5.5|
|Asscher||5.3 x 5.3|
|Emerald||6.7 x 5.0|
|Oval||8.0 x 5.2|
|Pear||8.0 x 5.2|
|Marquise||10 x 5|
|Radiant||6.0 x 5.5|
|Heart||6.6 x 6.6|
The shape of the stone also impacts the price. A classic shape like round will retain its worth, while trendy cuts, like the marquise and heart, will fluctuate in value depending on their current popularity.
The most common diamond ring shapes include:
- Classic Round – The most expensive diamond shape, possibly because it’s the most popular, but also because a well-cut round diamond shows off its radiance like no other! This shape really shines in a simple solitaire setting where the diamond can take center stage.
- Princess – Princess diamonds are square and get their name from their trademark cut. A princess-cut diamond is often just as sparkly as a round diamond but is a little less multi-faceted, so it retains more raw crystal material. This often translates to a more affordable price tag.
- Emerald – The rectangular-shaped emerald-cut diamond is famous for its elegance and versatility. From art-deco to thoroughly modern, an emerald-cut diamond fits any setting and is among the most eye-catching. That said, its minimally-faceted design does have its drawbacks. Most notably, without the complex depth of cuts that some other shapes feature, inclusions are easier to see in an emerald-cut diamond. For these diamonds, a higher clarity and color rating will give the diamond a higher worth.
- Cushion – Soft corners and subtly sloped sides give the cushion (or pillow) diamond its distinctiveness. Cushion diamonds often favor the multi-faceted facade of a princess cut. Still, its shape is often described as a cross between a princess and an emerald. Cushion cut diamonds are usually significantly lower than a round diamond. This 1-carat cushion cut diamond is $2,992 while the round version of the same rated diamond is $4,105.
- Asscher – Clean, crisp geometric edges make the Asscher diamond a shoo-in for more modern designs and settings. Like an emerald-cut diamond, it is step-cut and may display flaws and color variations more obviously than other, more multi-faceted stones. Since most of the raw stone is retained during the cutting process, asscher diamonds are considered a more affordable option.
- Oval – The delicate oval cut is another versatile, timeless shape right at home with all kinds of jewelry trends. The shape is currently on trend, so oval diamonds are priced similarly to round diamonds.
- Marquise – A sister stone to the oval, the marquise-shaped diamond is also referred to as a “navette.” This translates to “little boat” because its pointed ends make it look like, well, a little boat. The marquise is another example of a statement-making shape that makes a one-carat ring look much more prominent. They are slightly less expensive than round diamonds with a 1-carat marquise cut diamond priced at $4,254 while a 1-carat round diamond is $4,817.
- Pear-Shaped – Also known as “teardrop diamonds,” pear-shaped diamonds haven’t always been the most popular, despite their vintage charm. As a trendy shape, pear-shaped diamonds are worth slightly less than a round diamond.
- Radiant – A study in geometric juxtaposition, the radiant cut diamond is shaped like a princess with beveled corners like an emerald cut. The fundamental distinction comes from round/oval-shaped cuts in the middle of the stone, reminiscent of a traditional round diamond. These faceted cuts create a brilliant shine and hide inclusions and color variations, saving you money on a diamond that’s every bit as impressive as a round diamond.
- Heart Shaped – Feminine and beautiful, the heart-shaped diamond is perfect for the romantic at heart. And they’re a fantastic candidate to really play with setting styles! Heart-shaped diamonds are much less popular than round diamonds so they don’t hold their value as well as a classic shape.
A certificate from a gem specialist is essential to vouch for the value of your ring if you should choose to resell it. GIA certifications are the gold standard, but other professional organizations such as the AGS (American Gemstone Society) and the IGI (International Gemological Institute) also provide gemstone certifications.
It’s important to note that each organization has its measurement standards, and it is possible to get dual certification from more than one if you wish.
Most gems are sold with certification, but if you have an older ring or don’t have a cert, you can send your stone to the lab for testing and certification. Certification will let you know exactly what your diamonds are rated and give you a clearer idea of how much your diamond is worth based on current diamond prices.
Type of Metal
Fine jewelry is typically made using the three most common gold grades (14, 18, and 24 karats), silver or platinum. Unfortunately, since a ring’s resale worth focuses on its center gem, the metal used to create your ring’s setting isn’t particularly valuable.
Precious metals like 24k gold are openly traded, so their value fluctuates with market trends. This means the metal value in your ring will also fluctuate depending upon where and where you choose to sell it.
Even though gold comes in yellow, rose, and white varieties, color doesn’t impact its value. 24k is the most valuable when evaluating gold because it’s 100% pure. However, 14k is the most commonly used to make rings because it’s a more robust combination of gold and alloys.
The price of gold fluctuates daily, and the current gold price will impact the worth of your ring.
Like gold, silver’s purity rating is hallmarked in the ring. Also, like gold, purity ratings for silver vary, with 999 (99.9% pure silver) being the highest. Most rings, however, are made from sterling silver, indicated by a 925 stamp. This means the ring is 92.5% or more pure silver.
If you need more clarification about the purity of your silver ring, attempt to pick it up with a magnet. If it sticks, it’s only silver-plated. Another way to determine if your ring is real silver is the sniff test. Silver is odorless, so if your ring has a metallic scent, it’s probably not pure silver.
Platinum is the most expensive metal for rings for a few reasons. Firstly due to its weight (in precious metals, value is often associated with weight) and purity, but also because platinum is tarnish and corrosion-resistant. The combination of its practical benefits and beauty puts platinum in high demand, driving up the cost.
Platinum is also said to be more expensive than gold because it’s rarer. Still, some experts say its rarity stems from its difficulty to mine and its location in the Earth’s crust rather than scarcity. These factors make platinum more costly to produce.
All that notwithstanding, while platinum ring settings are more expensive than gold, that’s not necessarily because it’s more valuable as a metal.
Though platinum and gold trade spots for the most valuable in the marketplace, gold’s price stays steadier, making it a favorite for investment and portfolio diversification. Part of that is because gold is more easily mined, but also because it’s used in industries that rely less on economic factors, contributing to its stability and, therefore, its value.
The Setting of a Ring
The ring’s shape also contributes to its worth and determines the final price as some settings have additional diamonds which will contribute to the overall carat weight — and value — of the ring! The four primary ring-shape settings you’ll find are:
- The solitaire setting. With flat, v-shaped, rounded, or straight prongs, this setting is usually a simple band designed to showcase a single gem.
- The halo. This setting is similar to the solitaire but features a “halo” of accent gems surrounding a round or cushion-shaped center diamond for maximum bling-age.
- Cathedral setting. This elegant design features gorgeous arches (hence the name) that sweep upward to support the focal gem. Sometimes they feature framing pave stones; sometimes, they don’t. Either way, it’s an attractive choice.
- Three-stone setting. The simple three-stone setting is sophisticated but also meaningful- the three stones represent your past, present, and future together! Any gem shape works with a three-stone ring, and it can feature one large stone with smaller stones flanking each side, or all three diamonds can be the same size.
Halo and three-stone settings always have additional gemstones, and the worth of those stones will impact the value of your ring.
Where and How Much It Was Bought For
Rings with more prestigious names, like Tiffany and Cartier, tend to have more value on the secondary market because a jewelry buyers will pay more for the brand. It’ll be worth even more if it’s in pristine condition and you still have the original bill-of-sale, certification, and box.
Sometimes a jeweler will consider how much you paid for your ring when determining its resale value, but it’s rare. Realistically, you can expect an offer significantly less than what you spent on it.
A certified antique (over 100 years old) or vintage (between 20-100 years) ring often sells more than a contemporary piece. Still, it can be challenging to validate the ring’s age, so if you think you have a rare vintage or antique ring, you’ll need to call in a specialist.
Always vet your antique jewelry appraiser to ensure they’ll be able to value your ring appropriately based on the current market. Fine auction houses like Sotheby’s or Christie’s also have certified antique appraisal professionals focusing on jewelry assessment.
No matter who you choose, your pro should know about changing trends in jewelry fashion and how they apply to your ring’s history.
Q: What if I Don’t Have Any Information On My Ring?
If you don’t know where to start, you can use services like Worthy. They have experts, technology, and connections that will assist you in getting the most for your jewelry. Their objective third-party graders will tell you everything you need to know about your ring.
Other Factors that Affect a Ring’s Worth
Below, you’ll discover other factors that might affect a ring’s worth. Those include shape, design, uniqueness, and condition. Let’s go over them one by one.
If your ring features an intricate or trendy design, you may get a touch more for it on the secondary market, but it’s rare. While an expert will take it into consideration, they know that trends come and go, and while a ring’s fashion may be in demand right now, it’s unlikely to stay that way.
For instance, the ubiquitous halo setting has recently dropped in popularity, while the once-neglected pear and oval-shaped gemstone is seeing a comeback. Does this mean a design or shape will ever be “unfashionable?”
Absolutely not. But the hottest “it” ring will sell much faster while it’s hot. (Having a celebrity spotting doesn’t hurt, either.)
Occasionally, a jeweler will price a ring a bit higher for resale because of its unique design or pedigree.
For instance, scaffolding and split shank bands aren’t too ordinary, nor are vintage gem cuts like the pendeloque or table cut. Custom-designed rings are often visually unique, as are rings that play with different gemstones in the same setting.
If your ring is as stunning as it is distinctive, it’s worth spending extra time shopping for buyers to see where you can resell it for the most money.
You’ll need to ensure your ring is spotless when reselling it to a pawn shop or consignment store. These types of buyers want to be able to buy the ring from you and display it immediately for resale.
Any time or money spent on repairing, buffing out scuffs, or cleaning will likely come out of your check should you choose to sell it there.
The same may be true if you’re selling to your local jeweler, but more than likely, they won’t take anything off the value for cleaning and light repairs because they often have the means to do so in-house.
Calculating the Value
The first step is to get an idea of its worth. With all the information above, you can get a general idea of the worth of your ring in the current market. Remember that a ring’s retail price is not what you can resell it for. The resale value of your ring will be about 30-60% of its retail value.
We’ll give an example. We have a 14k yellow gold solitaire ring with a 1-carat ideal cut round diamond. The diamond’s color is rated G and has a VS1 for clarity.
If we search for similar diamonds online, we can see that the average price for this cut, color, clarity and carat is $5,700. This is the estimated retail value of the center stone. The resale value would be about 30-60% of that number, so approximately $1,710-$3,420.
Let’s say the market value of gold is $55 per gram (again, this changes daily). A 14k ring has approximately 5.8 grams of gold; at $55 per gram, the retail value is $319. The gold will be worth a little more in resale value than the diamond, around 60-80%, so you can expect about $191-$255.
Adding the resale values together, you can estimate that this ring is worth between $1,901-$3,675.
How to Get the Best Price for My Diamond Ring?
Naturally, where you go absolutely matters when it comes to getting the best price for your diamond ring. You might think you know its value, but you might actually be wrong. That’s why it’s essential to seek out opinions from professional appraisers.
Once you get an idea of how much your ring is worth, we’ve put together an article on everything you need to know to sell your diamond ring.
What Is Your Ring Worth?
The answer relies on more than features like its center stone, metal, age, and brand name- it depends upon its sentimental value to you.
And if you’re ready to sell, it depends upon who’s buying. Pawn shops may offer quick cash, but they’ll often give you very little for your ring in return. On the other end of the spectrum, selling to a private buyer is more likely to get you a fair price, but finding one may take a while. For many, the solution is to sell their used ring online.
For now, if you are considering selling a ring with any sentimental value, we encourage you to take some time to think about it. When selling an object- personal and monetary value are only sometimes a good combo, especially when you’re exceedingly unlikely to recoup its original value.
Case-in-point: When a buyer “lowballs” you on their offer, it’s much more likely to feel like a personal insult if you still feel some attachment to the ring.
But if you are ready to part with it, we hope we’ve given you some tips that will help you in your quest to find out how much your ring is worth so you can get the best price possible for it!