Going through your jewelry box can feel a lot like looking at an old photo album. Our jewelry is deeply personal and intimate; it sees us through some truly wonderful moments that stay with us forever.
“I remember this bracelet, I found it at that cute little kiosk by the beach last summer”
“I remember when my mom gave me this ring, and she told me the story of how Dad got it for her while we drank 7-Up”
“Oh yeah, I forgot about this necklace! I was wearing it the night I went to prom with—“
Sometimes, our jewelry ties us to memories, experiences, or pieces of ourselves that we simply don’t need to hold onto anymore. When that happens, there’s no shame in Marie Kondo-ing some of that personal baggage and making space in your life for new memories (and new jewelry).
If you’re ready to part with some previously loved pieces, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll share expert insight on how to sell jewelry online, plus some of our favorite companies to start with.
Why Should I Sell Jewelry Online?
Simply put, selling your unwanted jewelry online can mean more money in your pocket for your sales, a broader customer base, and reliable authentication and transportation of your items to their new owners.
The great thing about online retailers is that their basic day-to-day expenses are significantly lower than their brick-and-mortar jewelry store counterparts. High street retail space, additional staffing, and all that Windex they use to keep the display cases clean really starts to add up.
What online retailers save in overhead they can put towards offering better prices both to their clientele and to their suppliers — that now includes you!
Selling jewelry online is also a great way to reach a worldwide audience. With the ever-growing importance of transparency and accessibility from businesses, more and more people are shopping for that perfect one-of-a-kind treasure from the comfort of their own homes. (Remember that hideous macrame thing you got from Great Aunt Florence? Someone, somewhere, is looking for something just like it.)
The trust and transparency demanded by consumers also means that some third-party websites cater to customers’ needs and will work with you every step of the way. They will make sure your items are safely transported, authenticated, and treated fairly before being sent to their new homes.
What Type of Jewelry Can You Sell Online?
In general, the higher the value of the jewelry item you’re offering, the more assistance you’ll need to get it on the market.
- Auction sites like Sotheby’s and Christie’s will usually only accept pieces valued at over $2000
- Worthy takes on pieces starting at $1000
- Consignment sites like The Real Real specialize in authenticating and selling fine designer items priced at higher valuations
For semiprecious and vintage costume jewelry, selling independently on a website like Etsy, eBay or Ruby Lane is the best way to find a market for your castoffs.
If you think your piece is worth a substantial amount, it’s worth getting a professional appraisal and as much supporting information as possible. This is certainly the case for diamond jewelry! Keep in mind that 90% of expensive jewerly that is listed on sites like eBay does not get sold. Buyers are simply too scared to pay the high premium without any assurance about authenticity.
The appraiser will look at things like:
- Type and purity of materials
- Evaluation of diamonds or other gemstones
- Any verified origins or provenance.
Knowledge is power!
Get a Fair Price
Unless you can prove that your piece was purchased by one Richard Burton and displayed proudly on the finger of Elizabeth Taylor, you probably won’t be able to sell your jewelry for its original purchase price. Even a professional jewelry appraisal will usually list the repurchase value for insurance purposes, not the resale value.
In addition, many fine jewelry retailers will provide “vanity appraisals” with their items — inflated valuations that show unrealistically high figures.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a substantial amount of money for a high-quality piece that’s been well cared for.
An item’s resale value will be based on:
- Materials (gold weight and purity, grading of diamonds and other gemstones)
- Condition (an item in need of repolishing or repairs won’t be as valuable as an item that still looks new),
- Any associated provenance (sparkling name brands like Cartier or Tiffany will nudge up the value, as will interesting and unusual details like rare colored diamonds or certified natural pearls).
Take clear photos and, together with any appraisals or background information you have, send them to at least three different companies that offer free estimates. Then compare those estimates to how much money the company retains for selling it on your behalf. Also check to see if there’s any additional costs you’ll have to pay on your own like shipping, insurance, or third-party valuations.
If you’re selling more modest vintage jewelry or a semiprecious piece, look through sites like Etsy and eBay to see what other independent sellers are asking for similar pieces. Check for any brand markings (certain brands of vintage costume jewelry, like Sherman or Schiaparelli, can fetch high prices among collectors) or purity markings that indicate real gold or silver.
Where to Sell Jewelry Online
When it’s time to part with your jewelry, you want to be sure you are getting a fair price for your items, a hassle-free jewelry selling process, and excellent customer service. Not all retailers are created equal. Check out our list of credible retailers and appraisers that we trust when selling our own jewelry online!
Worthy gives you a quick free estimate on your jewelry piece. They help to educate people and help them better understand the true market value of their item, which helps the seller set their reserve price. They’ve got excellent customer support, great communication, and an easily viewable commission system.
Worthy has made its mark as a fan favorite due to its transparency during the entire selling process. It specializes in fine jewelry and designer items. They also take on luxury watches from brands such as Rolex and Cartier.
I have sold two rings via Worthy and will soon publish a detailed review with pictures to describe my experience. TLDR: the price is fair, the process is easy and transparent.
CashforGoldUSA is a great option for loose gold such as charms, pendants, and band rings. They even take old dental fillings! They have a cult following of positive reviews and make the selling process quick and painless.
The downside is that they tend to buy based on raw material more than provenance or craftsmanship, so it may not be the best market for higher-end or specialty items.
Circa (previously known as Mondiamo) works closely with the internationally recognized jewelry retailer Blue Nile, and has quickly become one of the world’s most respected jewelry buyers. They specialize in fine and branded jewelry as well as vintage and estate pieces. They also offer the option to receive a higher value in credit to spend on something new at Blue Nile.
Imagine the biggest vintage and craft fair you’ve ever set eyes on, where immaculate 1950s Chanel kitten heels mingle side by side with handcrafted fireproof leather boots and everyone’s sipping raspberry cordial under the stars — that’s the Etsy online marketplace.
It’s a great place to sell or find something absolutely unique, whether that’s an original string of cut jet beads from the 1920s or an exquisite diamond wedding band made entirely by an independent bench jeweler’s own calloused hands. Jewelry pieces here range from a few dollars to the tens of thousands. The downside is that, unlike other jewelry buyers on this list, Etsy doesn’t offer its sellers any helpful information or valuation support.
The Real Real
The Real Real brands itself as a luxury consignment shop. It accepts fine and branded jewelry with the option to consign it to them to sell to a buyer on your behalf, paying you in credit to spend with them later (highest value), to consign it to them to pay you in cash once it sells, or to sell to them directly (lowest value, but the fastest way to get some money in your pocket). They are respected by fashionistas worldwide for their stringent quality standards and loyalty to authenticity but would be a difficult market in which to sell less mainstream items.
Time to Update the Jewelry Box!
Parting ways with jewelry you once loved can be an emotional experience, and it can be overwhelming to navigate the wilds of the pre-owned jewelry market on your own.
But with a little patience, you can clear out the cobwebs of stale memories and make some money to put towards something new — a piece that better reflects who you are now, or maybe a new experience altogether. And you’ll know that the piece of old jewelry that outlived its journey with you has gone on to make someone else very happy.
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