Best way to sell diamond wedding ring?
December 19, 2009 8:01 PM   Subscribe

What is the best, most profitable way to sell my wedding/engagement ring? I'm a little leery of eBay or Craigslist.

I think I'm approaching the stage where I'm emotionally ready to sell my engagement/wedding ring (it is one piece). I've thought about having it made into a different piece of jewelry, but can't really think of anything that I want to wear (and therefore have it remind me of the whole nonsense) and I honestly don't think I want it around any more. I've already purchased a ring to represent my new phase of life, and there's only one diamond so it can't become earrings. I also have two sentimental necklaces from my parents that I always wear, and I don't need another one. Plus, the idea of paying off some debt is more attractive than sentimentality at this point.

The diamond is a little over .75 carat princess cut set on a flat cigar band of white gold. There is an anniversary band with channel set diamonds (they're small) soldered onto either side of the band to make the complete set (so, two identical anniversary bands total). I have the appraisal with all of the relevant details downstairs. I'm thinking we paid around $4000 or $5000 thousand for the whole thing (typing that makes me want to throw up a little 'cause I wound up using the settlement from my car wreck to pay off my own ring...fantastic, no?).

I'd like to get as much out of it as I can so I can pay off the debt that I was left with after the divorce. What's the best avenue to sell it? Independent jeweler? Some other source? I am OK with separating the diamond from the rest of the gold...whatever works. I just don't know who to approach or how to get the best deal. If eBay or Craigslist is the answer, how can I make sure I don't get scammed (I am willing to take a lower price to avoid the scammers)?

I live in Missouri, so I can get to St Louis, Memphis, or Little Rock, AR with relative ease. Any other questions, just ask and I'll answer in the thread.
posted by MultiFaceted to Shopping (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You will get the most possible money from an individual buyer.. After that selling it on consignment at a reputable jeweler, then selling it directly to the jeweler or pawn shop..

If you sell it directly to a jeweler or pawn shop expect to get as little 25% of what you paid for it.. On consignment maybe 60% and to a private buyer somewhere above that..

The big issue is how fast do you need the money?? If you need it now your options may be limited.. If you have time then a consignment may be the best route and the safest for you..

As for protecting yourself in a private sale, that goes both directions.. The buyer may be afraid you are selling them junk, while you are afraid they will charge back their payment.. Its why I tend to recommend the consignment route of you aren't in a hurry..

full disclosure : I used to be a retail jeweler but not any longer..
posted by SteveG at 8:12 PM on December 19, 2009

Response by poster: I'm not in any hurry for the money. Haven't thought about I just call around to different jewelers to see if they do that?
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:19 PM on December 19, 2009

get offers from a few jewellers. get an idea of what they'll pay you. then get it appraised from a few sources. if the appraisal's show it worth 100 and the jewelers are offering 30.. get on craigslist and sell it at 60 with the appraisal's as proof of worth.

you make more than you would from jewelers and your sale is safe and valid with a private individual.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:22 PM on December 19, 2009

on preview.. get it appraised from a few 'different' sources
posted by Frasermoo at 8:23 PM on December 19, 2009

There are stores that specialize in consignment sales.. Call around locally and find a couple and take your rings in to let them look at them and offer you a deal.. I know a jeweler in Kansas City but I don't know if they do consignments.. Besides, MO is a big state and you could be anywhere :)
posted by SteveG at 8:25 PM on December 19, 2009

I was offered less than 5% of the cost of my engagement ring when I tried to sell it. Just so's you know.
posted by b33j at 9:08 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

I put my ring up for consignment through a friend who was a professional jewelry dealer for over a year, it was the exact same size and style you are talking about except the setting was platinum, and I was finally given $200 cash for it after it sat, unpurchased, for over a year in the case.

Just warning you, your expectations of paying off debt are possibly naive. The receipt on my rings when I went through the divorce paperwork said they were originally $4,665, so I'm guessing you'd be lucky to get more than I did, but the gold market is good right now so maybe a bit more than that.

I'm only telling you this to prevent you from spending more money having it appraised or advertised for sale than you might get for it.

I spent something like $400 over the course of three years trying to sell my $3000 wedding kimono that was pure silk and gold and all kinds of crap and it now lives in a trash bag, so you know... one man's trash / treasure, etc.

People will make ludicrous offers on wedding-related things precisely for the reason that what is sentimental and valuable to you is also painful, and therefore, expect garage sale-level bargaining tactics.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:17 PM on December 19, 2009

I sold mine just to a pawn shop. Honestly, unloading it quickly was more gratifying than agonizing over getting top dollar for it. But then, that's just me.
posted by OrangeSoda at 12:59 AM on December 20, 2009

Check out I Do, Now I Don't ( - it's an online auction site like eBay, but it's especially for people who want to sell their wedding jewelry after a divorce.

I'm not sure if you'd get a ton of money, but you could always list it and set the reserve at the price you want. Even if the listing sits for a while you've got nothing to lose.
posted by christinetheslp at 1:35 AM on December 20, 2009

I have a single small diamond on a necklace that I thought of remaking into something else, and one of the ideas I had was a pair of drop shaped earrings in a dark wood, only one of which had the diamond set in at the bottom. So earrings aren't completely out. You could work out what you learned from the whole business (there must have been something) and have earrings that remind you of that.
posted by emilyw at 4:52 AM on December 20, 2009

I'm a former jeweller who specialized in antique and vintage jewellery, and worked at an auction house too, and agree that the best place to re-sell your ring would be privately, or on consignment - though if you have a local auction house, you could offer it for sale through them with a reserve to protect it (though that might cost you a bit, in fees which are often waived if the item sells). Look for jewellers or antique dealers that specialize in "Estate Jewellery", they'll usually advertise. There they'll consider the value of the whole ring as an item for resale, whereas other types of buyers might buy it, well, for stones/melt. Which isn't bad, but the problem is that in doing that, you don't get your retail markup or the design or anything like that as part of the value. And those buyers won't pay a cent more than what they can get it for elsewhere, and that stuff isn't particularly scarce. And, if I can say this really nicely - Princess cut stones don't have a great resale value and more and more of them seem to be finding their way onto the secondary market for demographic reasons... But, you need to get it re-appraised, as the market has changed so much recently, and the problem with the figure you have on your insurance/replacement value appraisal, here. You might want to consider a current appraisal asking for a Fair Market Value from an independent, accredited appraiser, as well as the updated insruance or replacement value. That will, well, make the percentage of the FMV that you're likely to get a little less painful when it actually sells.

But I had other thoughts, based on all my years of retail experience -- before you re-appraise, consider having the rings separated (and polished and cleaned in the process). If you're selling to another average consumer either by yourself or via a dealer, they're more likely to want to buy a solitaire, and/or either one or both diamond bands, just not all soldered together. That has a stigma, since jewellery is an emotional purchase, especially when it's marriage-related - and when you sell a solitaire you sell hope and a wedding band you sell promise and when you sell an anniversary band you sell affirmation. Offering all three at once, used, sells someone else's sadness (and I mean that in the nicest way possible, as a divorcee myself who smiled all the way through selling and hundreds of wedding-related pieces to hopeful things). You are more likely to make three separate sales because they're more desirable that way.

And the last thought was to consider is your timing - the vast majority of consumers have made their purchases already for all this year's Christmas/New Year Proposals and gifting (though even just yesterday at the antique store where I was shopping for a watch for my husband, there were guys searching and beginning to look a bit desperate). Then we'll have a period where nobody buys anything as the Christmas bills roll in, though there will be a glut of Valentine's Day proposals. Then, tax refunds come around, and people buy stuff again too. Then comes June wedding season, where people get married, have anniversaries, and then inspire others to get engaged. So if you're indeed not in a hurry, aim to get your ring/s ready to consign/sell sometime in January, so it's in stock somewhere for Valentine's Day -- though if it hangs around until Spring, that would be normal. Come summer, people spend money on other things, so if you get offers to sell before then, you might want to consider letting it go at that time - or holding on until next Christmas. It's not unusal for something to take a year to sell on consignment, because you have to go through all the seasons of consumer spending. Good luck!
posted by peagood at 6:24 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]

I have no experience with this situation, but I have read about this site on the blue.
posted by availablelight at 7:10 AM on December 20, 2009

A friend once sold an antique diamond ring on ebay, but set the following preconditions.
1) Minimum of 10 or 15 transactions with no negative comments.
2) The transaction would be in person, settling in cash, money order, bank draft, or certified cheque.
3) The meeting place would be a jewellers or gemologists, where the buyer could verify the authenticity before purchase.
And so forth, making it clear that anyone not prepared to accept the conditions shouldn't bid.

A bit of a hassle, but he got about 8K for it, a lot more than a pawnshop would have paid.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 8:04 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you sell it directly to a jeweler or pawn shop expect to get as little 25% of what you paid for it.

I worked in a jewelry store/pawn shop for about seven years. It was a nice, high-end one, not one of those scuzzy, dirty pawn shops. You should expect far less than 25% of what you paid if you go that route. There's a huge markup on new jewelry, and a jeweler can buy an equivalent stone for less than that from a wholesaler. If you want to post (or MeFi mail me) the specifics of the stone (carat, clarity, color) I could give you a rough estimate of what you should expect to get for it.
posted by EarBucket at 9:39 AM on December 20, 2009

I purchased a loose diamond for $3000 and ultimately sold it on for $1500. It took about 3 weeks and I had crappy pictures. After an individual buyer won the auction I shipped it to in NY and they cut me a check. Their fees were taken out of the check and were very low- comparable to eBay. Having them be the middle man and verify the diamond for the seller made it very easy on me.
posted by NicoleyDarko at 1:11 PM on December 20, 2009

Response by poster: Just wanted to update this question (I forgot about it until now). I placed the ring on consignment with a local small, independent jeweler in my mom's town. The idea was to show it in her sale case (which had several pieces that were trade ins or consignment pieces) for a couple of months to see what happened. She also had her diamond dealer look at the main diamond to see if he wanted to buy it. The diamond dealer said he would buy it in a heartbeat if it were a full carat because that's what most people are buying now, but he passed on it.

It was in the case for about 3 weeks when it sold to a lovely young lady who fell in love with it. I got $3000 out of the sale, which actually paid off two debts I owed. While it was a little weird to think about another woman wearing my ring that I loved dearly, I'm happy that it's bringing someone else some happiness, and I no longer have it sitting around reminding me of sad times. And it gave me a financial boost!

For anyone else checking out this question, don't be afraid to go to the small, independent jewelers and ask them for advice. We had no idea this jeweler sold consignment pieces...she doesn't advertise them that way until someone asks about the piece. We wouldn't have known if we didn't ask.
posted by MultiFaceted at 6:51 AM on May 20, 2010

« Older Best Italian South Shore of Boston?   |   Help identify and find a new version of this knife... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.