Chances are when you give (or get) a diamond ring, it’s forever. Or at least, that’s what the ads say. But life doesn’t always work out that way, and plenty of people end up selling their diamond rings for all kinds of reasons.
The process of selling a diamond ring may seem intimidating – and if you’re selling it under unhappy circumstances, all the extra stress sort of adds insult to injury.
Fortunately, we’re here to share the where, what, how, and why behind selling your diamond ring. We’ll also give you some tips that’ll make it easier and get you the most money back for your ring.
Where to Sell Your Diamond Ring
A divorce, broken-off engagement, surprising inheritance jewelry, and many other situations might lead to you wanting to sell your diamond ring. Thankfully, you have options when it comes to where you can sell it.
Of course, each option, whether it’s a pawn shop or an auction house has its pros and cons; worry not as we’ll talk about all that and more in the following paragraphs!
One more thing! You have to understand that you’ll probably not get the same amount you purchased the ring for. Still, it’s essential to know how to determine the worth of your ring. We’ll cover that as well later in our one-stop guide for selling your diamond ring.
So, here are a few of the most common places that purchase pre-loved diamond rings:
1. Your Local Jeweler
Any time you resell a piece of jewelry to a brick-and-mortar store, you should automatically expect an offer on the lower side. Your ring must also be in excellent condition and with a trendy design for them to even make an offer.
One thing to keep in mind is the business model of local jewelry stores. For them to run their store and make a profit, it’s usually best to buy diamond rings wholesale. That’s why they won’t often engage in one-to-one sales with people looking to get rid of their second-hand diamond ring.
With enough time, it’s absolutely possible to get a good price from a jewelry store selling your ring on consignment. However, it can take a lot of time and high fees. Not to mention no guarantee of a sale.
If you choose to sell your diamond ring to a jewelry store, we encourage you to get multiple quotes (if possible) for the best resale price. Some jewelry stores are better prepared to offer you same-day cash for your ring.
That’s beneficial to you if you need money right away; just be aware that stores that buy rings this way may offer you less if it isn’t in suitable condition for immediate resale.
2. Pawn Shops
Pawn shops are a popular choice for those needing to sell their ring quickly with little fuss. Their straightforward, well-regulated structure allows for quick appraisals and payouts.
But, it’s imperative to remember that a pawn shop’s primary function is to broker loans, not act as diamond specialists or ethical sellers of fine jewelry. Therefore, you need to make sure you know your ring’s worth, have all the receipts and certificates from the original purchase.
Just like any other free-standing store, pawn shops have overhead to keep up with, so they’ll likely tack on fees or reduce their offer to compensate. Also, they’ll probably offer you even less if they need to make repairs or clean your ring before selling it.
All things considered, unless you’re really, really desperate, we think reselling valuable jewelry to a pawn shop should be a last resort. Of course, some people might really need the money, so it all comes down to personal preference and situation.
3. Consignment Shops
Consignment shops aren’t as straightforward as pawn shops regarding reselling jewelry because it’s not actually a done deal until someone comes to the shop and buys your ring.
Consignment shops have all the same drawbacks as pawn shops, so you can count on receiving no more than 50%-75% of the resale price on average.
4. Private Buyer
If you happen to know someone who knows someone who’s looking for a diamond ring, this is one of the easiest ways to get a reasonable price for your diamond.
Before you get ready to make the transaction, take your ring to a professional gemologist for an appraisal. Tell them how you plan to sell the ring and ask how much they recommend you should sell it for. (Remember, it’s improbable you’ll be able to break even and recoup the cost of what you paid in the first place.)
Pro Tip: When selling to an individual, ensure you’re free from liability for charging or reporting applicable taxes, or if you are, dot your i’s and cross your t’s! For safety reasons, you should also be careful to vet the individual you’re selling the diamond to.
5. Luxury Auction House
Using a high-end auction house (like Christie’s or Sotheby’s) is a decent option if you have a high-value ring (a ring that costs over £20,000).
Not only will you have exposure to wealthy buyers, but the house will also handle all the work of appraising, certifying, and facilitating the sale of your ring. (Even so, you should come prepared with a GIA certification and the box/receipt for the ring.)
When selling with any auction house, it’s always good to do some snooping and see what similar pieces have sold for in the past to get a rough idea of what your ring may fetch at auction.
6. Online Diamond Auction Houses
Reputable, insured, and well-established- most online diamond auctions are generally intended for servicing vetted professionals in the diamond trade. That said, there are some online jewelry auctions open to the public, so it pays to get educated on how they work.
Pro Tip: Online diamond dealers will usually remove the diamond from its setting to have it independently certified by their own professionals. We recommend enquiring into what happens to your ring if the gem is removed and doesn’t sell.
Like any other resale situation, a diamond buyer’s sole objective is to find the best diamonds for the best price. Even though they provide access to multiple gemstone buyers, it’s doubtful you’ll get market value for your ring at an online diamond auction.
We recommend understanding the auction site’s fee structure, how they accommodate market value fluctuations, and what happens if a buyer can’t (or won’t) commit to the stated auction price. It’s also helpful to find out the average time it takes to find a seller and who sees your diamond while at auction.
While there are some obvious drawbacks, selling your ring online with a broker ensures broad exposure to multiple buyers specializing in the diamond business.
These buyers will appraise and certify the diamond, and even though you won’t receive market value, you’ll likely get back much more than if you were to sell with a pawn or consignment shop.
7. eBay or Craigslist
As you might imagine, selling a valuable diamond ring on either of these platforms can be potentially dangerous. (Especially places like Craigslist, where you’ll likely meet the buyer in person.) They may also leave you more vulnerable to fraud than other selling options.
It’s also important to keep in mind that on eBay, you’ll be competing for bids against professionals offering GIA reports and appraisals with a history of sales on the platform. Because of the potential for fraud, many would-be purchasers opt for a vetted vendor with a proven track record.
Finally, the time and money you’ll spend on marketing and an independent appraiser to certify your diamond probably won’t end up being worth what you can get for it. Not to mention that it might take weeks, even months to sell it. As a matter of fact, up to 80% of jewelry listings on eBay remain unsold.
8. Online Diamond Buyers
With the rise of the online marketplace, the limit to what you can buy and sell online seems endless. When it comes to diamonds, online buyers are rapidly outperforming their brick-and-mortar competitors in terms of value, quality, and satisfaction.
The reasons are simple: You’ll work with a traditional jeweler without added fees and overhead costs. In addition, specialist diamond buyers like Worthy, for instance, have the knowledge and expertise to offer you a fair and realistic price.
Not just that but the service will prep your jewelry for auction, including cleaning it and photographing it. Lastly, Worthy will create an auction listing for you and promote your ring through their buyer network. We highly recommend Worthy if you’re looking for the best possible selling experience.
Understanding your Diamond Ring’s Worth
Ahhh, in a perfect world, we could just buy a ring, then sell it back for the amount we paid in the first place. But sadly, this isn’t the case, so there are a few things you should know about the different value categories assigned to diamond rings:
The retail value of a diamond ring (or anything, really) is the price assigned to it by a retailer, in this case, a jeweler. Retail value is usually higher because the cost of overhead associated with maintaining a retail business is rolled into the ring’s price.
This is the price an insurance company will pay if your ring is lost or stolen. Of course, this is not a static value because it’s based on how you appraised the piece and its worth as reported to the insurance company.
Be sure to keep meticulous documentation and photos demonstrating your ring’s value to get its fair market price.
Fair Market Value
Fair market value is determined by how much the general market is willing to pay wholesale for the diamond ring.
Secondary Market Value
The secondary market value indicates how much a ring is worth for resale between third-party buyers. For instance, if you purchase a ring direct from a jeweler for retail value and then sell it to a diamond broker, it’ll likely fetch secondary market value cost.
The intrinsic value indicates how much the raw materials in your ring are worth. For instance, all diamonds, precious metals, and other gemstones in your ring possess their own intrinsic value.
Factors that Determine the Value of a Diamond Ring
There are certain factors that play a role in determining the value of your diamond ring. Those include shape, brand, the 4 C’s (color, clarity, carat weight, and cut), age, and condition.
We’ve thoroughly discussed them individually in our “How Much Is My Ring Worth” article; however, here’s a quick overview.
- Shape: The classic round-cut diamond remains the most expensive diamond shape money can buy, primarily due to the cut’s ability to showcase the precious gemstone’s inner fire.
- Brand: Rings with notable labels like Cartier, Tiffany, or Harry Winston are all examples of brand name rings that’ll feature higher price tags- both at the retailer and the auction.
- The 4 C’s (color, clarity, carat weight, and cut): The 4 C’s guidelines are set by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and stand for a diamond’s carat, cut, color, and clarity. They’re the most influential factor determining a diamond’s value. The better it rates on the 4 C’s scales, the more valuable it will be.
- Age: Unless your ring is considered an antique or one-of-a-kind, age probably won’t have much to do with its value. That said, if you have documentation that your ring is vintage or custom-made, and you have GIA documents supporting that claim, you should take that into consideration when it’s time to choose a selling platform.
- Condition: A ring’s condition may have an impact on its value, and buyers sometimes pay more for rings without scratches or damage.
What Is the Best Way to Sell a Diamond Ring?
With the growth of e-commerce, dealing with an online diamond broker has become the best way to sell a diamond ring. The reasons for this are plentiful:
- You’ll avoid paying extra fees or taking a hit on the value of your ring to compensate for the overhead of a brick-and-mortar retailer.
- Selling your ring to a website specializing in diamonds means you’ll be doing business with a professional with plenty of training and expertise. These jewelers are almost always better able to find a buyer who’ll pay a reasonable price for your ring.
- Online stores have the advantage of efficiency. That means you’ll likely never need to pay for shipping and handling, and your diamond will stay insured throughout the shipping, appraising, and selling process.
- You’ll receive quick and secure payment for lower fees.
- Most online diamond buyers have fair policies regarding returns should you change your mind or aren’t happy with the offers you receive.
How to Sell a Diamond Ring Online
So, how do you sell your ring online? Here’s a step-by-step checklist of the steps you should take:
1. Get a Thorough Appraisal and Certification From the Gia. (And Don’t Forget the Ring’s Original Box and Receipt)
You wouldn’t buy a diamond without a GIA report (we hope), so you should expect your buyer to exercise the same caution. For their sake and yours, it’s always better to have your ducks in a row with a credible appraisal/GIA report and the ring’s original box and bill-of-sale.
2. Take Pro-level Photos of Your Ring
This doesn’t mean you have to hire someone to do it; just make sure you take care to get your diamond’s good side. Get multiple pics at different angles at the highest quality resolution possible.
3. Do Some Research to Determine Your Asking Price
Exhaustive research always pays off in the quest to resell a diamond, so scour the internet for similar rings on auction sites, online jewelers, and other marketplaces dealing in fine jewelry.
Based on what you find, determine your price. Also, be sure to indicate in your listing whether you’re willing to negotiate your selling price or not.
4. Come Up With a Description for the Listing to Attract Buyers
Depending on where you decide to sell, sometimes brokers do this for you. Still, it’s always nice to have the selling points ready beforehand. Especially if there are details about the ring beyond its stats that you think will help sell it.
5. Do a Little Soul-Searching
Your ring probably has sentimental value to you, regardless of the circumstances under which you’ve decided to sell it. So before you commit, we gently recommend taking some time to ensure you’re emotionally ready to sell.
Unfortunately, diamonds don’t fetch more in the marketplace because they have intrinsic personal value. It may draw out the selling process if you aren’t ready to part with the ring, and you’ll likely feel that lower offers just add insult to injury.
6. Vet Buyers and Find the One Who Suits You Best
Research and make sure you’ve looked thoroughly into your online marketplace options. In addition to Google reviews, wedding forums are an excellent place to get recommendations for selling your engagement ring, as are forums for antique jewelry or luxury goods.
Sites like Worthy don’t require you to take all of the above-mentioned steps before selling your diamond ring. In fact, they do all this for you. A courier firm will get your ring and deliver it to their offices where they clean it, take beautiful pictures of it, and an objective third-party will grade it.
Moreover, they will auction it and present it to their network of buyers. This is such a convenient way of selling your diamond ring and we can’t recommend it enough!
What About the Setting?
Unfortunately, the setting isn’t a significant factor in determining your diamond ring’s resale value.
The value of a secondhand ring is almost exclusively derived from its focus stone. Even accent stones aren’t likely to significantly add to the ring’s worth unless they’re of considerable size or rarity.
Even if you opt for the most expensive raw materials and design, the setting’s price will be determined chiefly by retail markup and labor cost.
Is Jewelry Auction a Good Choice?
We believe jewelry auctions can be a good choice for you, but it depends on your situation.
For instance, those who need assistance seeking buyers who specialize in purchasing high-profile jewelry may find the security of selling through a jewelry auction preferable. As we mentioned, if you want to auction your ring, choose an auction house specializing in diamonds or luxury goods.
An auction is often a practical way to sell a diamond ring because it guarantees you’ll have exposure to buyers. They also take care of appraisals and marketing needs like photos, product descriptions, and advertising. Auction houses will usually offer to insure your ring until its sale, too.
All of these benefits do come with some drawbacks. Since you’ll have exposure to so many buyers, you’ll have to bargain for the highest selling price possible. Also, you’ll likely have to pay a commission fee to the house and possibly fees associated with funding the costs of overhead, marketing, and insurance.
We hope you get an excellent price for your diamond ring! If you remember nothing else, consider these takeaways:
- Make sure you’re emotionally ready to part with your ring.
- Remember, diamonds rarely sell for their original price unless you have a ring with a unique pedigree.
- The GIA guidelines are gospel when it comes to buying and selling precious gemstones. Get your diamond GIA certified, and get a solid second appraisal if you can swing it.
- Come prepared with your selling price and be ready to negotiate.
- If you are selling your ring following a divorce, consider getting a divorce ring as a replacement.
- Selling your diamond ring online is the best option for getting the best price with the least hassle.