Anyone wanna buy a ring?
August 16, 2005 3:13 PM   Subscribe

Dis-engagement ring question: After splitting up with my fiancé and agreeing that she would return the ring to me, I'm not sure what to do about returning/reselling the ring to get the most back from this most sizeable of investments.

I bought the ring just over a year ago for $4000. I believe I was getting a really good deal as the jewler has done a lot of business with my ex-fiance's family and he was looking favorably on me. I just talked with him and what he suggests is that I send him the ring, he resets the stones in a new setting and puts it for sale in his shop in LA (I'm in northern CA). I have no idea how much I should expect to get back. I'm in no hurry, but there are far better things that I could be doing with the money that's tied up in this ring.

One thing I'm concerned about is if I go through with this LA jewler's plan, how do I protect myself legally? I'd need to have something in writing and I'm not sure how to go about asking for something like that without coming off as distrustfull. I'm also looking for other suggestions as to how to proceed.
posted by anonymous to Shopping (3 answers total)
This really needed to be anonymous?

The big deciding factor is going to be what's the value of the diamond(s) versus the setting. Before you just take this guy's word for it you should go to one or more shops where you are and get an appraisal. Even if you use him, this way you'll have an independent assessment of the carat and cut of the diamond you're sending him.

I also see no reason for him to re-set the stones other than it working out well for him financially. Is this an odd setting? Has it gotten dinged and damaged beyond the point where it can be repaired? If not, this is just for his bottom line so he can be something other than a consignment broker.

A quick google turns up this article with some advice and there's a Washingtonian article on selling old jewlery. A ton of google ads show up for operations who deal with this stuff and ebay has tons of rings - perhaps you could simply sell it yourself, direct.
posted by phearlez at 3:30 PM on August 16, 2005

Here's the thing about about diamonds -- they're not very valuable wholesale (i.e., selling to a diamond reseller or retailer). Here's an older thread on the topic.

So, what your family friend is going to do is cut you a huge deal on this purchase, basically taking it back at cost and using the diamond(s) for a new ring. That he'll sell at retail. And then he'll pass along some good portion of that to you. I don't know why he didn't mention *what* portion -- perhaps he'll give you 100% of the purchase price... you should ask him.

You could come up with a very simple contract via a well-worded email. "I'm going to give you the diamond ring (fed ex shipping number: xyzzzzzzzz) and you're going to reset and sell it in your store. When it sells, you're going to give me the money." This is enough for a contract to protect you.

But IAANAL and all that. I'm going to marry one though, so I heard a lot of babbling at exam times about what is and what ain't a contract. There is sometihng about offer and acceptance (so include something about that in the email and when he replies with "I'm waitin' for it... Glad to help." or whatever, keep that email. There's also the part about an exchange... and since the exchange is going to be a promise of future payments, things get a little more complicated, but I still think you're ok. Surely a lawyer in the house will come in and trounce this advice.
posted by zpousman at 3:34 PM on August 16, 2005

1. You may not continue to receive favorable treatment from this jeweler if he has closer ties to your ex-fiancee's family than to you.

2. If you do work with this jeweler (or any other jeweler) to sell the stone or setting, you should definitely memorialize the terms in writing, making clear that it is his responsibility to keep it secure, what % of the sale price you will receive, etc. It would be unwise to rely on an oral agreement, especially in light of point (1).

3. Is the stone certified? If not, consider getting it certified so you can get a better price. It's not cheap (maybe around $200?), but if you think it's a good stone, the cost may be worthwhile. Certified stones sell for a premium.

4. You may also want to get the stone appraised so you can get a relatively objective assessment of its value. This will also help with the sale (although buyers may understandably be somewhat skeptical of the objectivity of the appraisal).

4. You can try selling the stone yourself online or in a local paper. Again, if it is certified, your chances of selling it for a reasonable price go way up. When I shopped for an engagement ring, I found PriceScope immensely valuable. A lot of jewelers, appraisers, and other industry types mingle there. You might be able to get some good ideas there on how to go about recouping as much of your investment as possible.
posted by brain_drain at 3:40 PM on August 16, 2005

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