They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But sometimes, a girl (or boy) needs a little extra money so that diamond’s got to go! But while the famous DeBeers campaign ensured we learned to value fresh diamonds, they’re a bit like BMWs – all flash and no resale value.
It’s common knowledge that gemstones lose half the value the second they leave the jewelers. So whatever price you think you’ll get, don’t expect anything above half-price. If anything above half price. So here are some hopefully helpful tips on the best way to sell an engagement ring.
Before selling your Engagement Ring
Set a Selling Goal
Why are you getting rid of this ring? Are you purging after a rough break-up or saving up for the new baby? Are you handling a deceased relative’s estate or trying to raise cash for a vacation? Does the ring have sentimental value or did you find it in the ocean? Or maybe you’re upgrading.
Your reasons for selling will determine the price you’re willing to accept, so be sure going in. If having the ring is painful for you, you’re probably keen to get rid of it so you want the quickest route. In such cases, a pawn shop is fine. But if you want real bang for your buck, keep walking.
Get a Ball Park
If possible, find out how much the ring was initially bought for. You can also find out any extra details like the carats, physical weight, history, anecdotes, or anything you can spin into a selling point. Remember, engagement rings are emotional items, and whoever buys it probably wants to give it to their lover. So if you can tie a sweet, romantic, verifiable story to the ring, that helps.
Yes, any marketer can come up with a spiel. But remember, this is the digital age and it’s remarkably easy to fact-check, even though we rarely do it. Use this information to guesstimate the purchasing price of your ring, then cut that price in half. Keep in mind the ring is marked up by the store, so even at half price, any buyer will haggle way down. Be prepared for that.
Pedigree pets fetch better prices, and so do certified gemstones. Many retailers won’t even look at your ring if it doesn’t have papers. These documents show the authenticity and designated value of your engagement ring. But they also show ownership. It’s proof you didn’t steal it.
Certification costs money though. Family rings may already have their diplomas, up in the attic somewhere. But your fiancé is unlikely to have included the receipt when they proposed. If you’re still together, you can ask for it. But if you’ve split, you probably don’t want to talk to them. So you might have to get a paid evaluation from a reputable assessor or gemological lab.
Check with GIA, EGL, AGS, or IGI
These words probably sound like Greek, but they’re the best way to sell an engagement ring, so let’s begin by unmasking them and demystifying their roles in the jewelry world:
- GIA – Gemological Institute Of America
- EGL – European Gemological Laboratories
- AGS – American Gem Society
- IGI – International Gemological Institute
- HRD – Hoge Raad Voor Diamant
- GSI – Gemological Science International
Certificates verify not just the ownership but also the specific quality of the ring. It covers issues like cut, color, clarity, and carats. This will help your potential buyer make a clearer value assessment. Many dealers use GIA and AGS as their gold standard, pun intended.
So even if you have the others, get one from here. If your current certificate is over ten years old, you need a new one. Any ring worth $1,000 or more should have certification – otherwise, it’s probably a dud. So get yours certified by the original lab, NOT a ‘lab-certified appraiser’. These certified dealers take a quick training course, so bypass them and head to the source.
Separate the Stone
You may worry that by breaking down the ring you’re damaging it. And if you do it yourself, you probably will. But by separating the gemstone from its metal, you can often get a better price for it. Yes, engagement rings can be made from pricy metals, but the gemstone if often worth much more. And it’s easier to sell the setting separately, even if it’s uncertified. It’s just for scrap metal.
Think about the size of your stone. If the engagement ring has multiple gemstones, focus on the largest one. Smaller gemstones or pavé stones are rarely profitable unless you sell them as a batch. So when your rings come back from the appraisal lab, have a jeweler remove them from their setting and weigh each stone individually. This will reassure potential buyers of their value.
When you separate the stone, weight the metal as well. Yes, you can only scrap it, but if the setting was made from fancy metal, you can get about 50% of its value at jewelry stores (50 cents on the dollar) or up to 75% on sites like Abe Mor. This interactive site will pay you 75 cents on the dollar for your gold band. But remember these values are based on GIA, not retail price.
Best Way to Sell an Engagement Ring
1. Start with Pawn Shops
You already know the ceiling for your jewelry is half it’s buying price, you shouldn’t be too shocked when you walk into a pawn shop. They don’t give much credence to certification or receipts. Especially when they’re pawning stuff off you. When they’re selling, they will ramp up those 4Cs, but when they’re buying it from you, none of that is relevant. It’s all about profit.
Pawnshops will often give you quick cash. So people think it’s the best way to sell an engagement ring. But don’t buy at the first shop that offers. Take your ring through as many pawnshops as you can, comparing their prices and asking them how long that’s valid.
Any shop that says ‘take it or leave it’ isn’t worth your ring. But be careful. You’re walking around with valuable property, so take precautions. You don’t want someone following you home and trying to get your ring for free. After all, a lot of shady types hover at pawn shops.
2. Check the Selling Shop
If you know where the ring was originally bought, you could hit them up and see if they want it back. You’re sure to be disappointed because even if they’re willing, they’ll offer a terrible price. Remember, the ring lost half its value when it left its display case. And it was already significantly marked up when they put it in there. Also, you’re unlikely to still have the receipt.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to upgrade your ring, then its original selling spit may be your best bet. They may be willing to take their ring and sell you a better one at a discount. It’s just like trading in a car or smartphone. You won’t make a cash profit, but you get better value.
3. Skip the Middle Man
It’s rare for a jewelry shop to buy your ring in cash. They already have a store full of expensive trinkets, so they have no motivation to buy a used item that they have no guarantee they can resell. At best, they can melt down the metal and repurpose your gemstones for new pieces. So even if they agree to buy your engagement ring, they may not pay you until they resell it.
And if they do accept it, they’re likely to send it to a gemstone dealer in New York for a more reasonable assessment. They’ll then offer you 30% or 40% of the ring’s stated value. It’ll already be lower than expected because the valuation doesn’t include the store markup. So jump over your jeweler’s head and sell your ring directly to a reputable New York dealer at market rates.
4. Use an Interactive Site
There are lots of online jewelry exchange sites these days, and they’re quite easy to use. You want to stick with the established ones like Worthy and Abe Mor, or White Pine. These interactive services are really easy to use. Some, like Worthy, will collect your ring and send it to GIA at their own cost. You can easily navigate their site and receive your funds instantly.
These sites do take a commission th0ugh. As high as 20% for some vendors. And the same rule applies – your ring will sell at a fraction of its buying price and far below its evaluation price. These interactive engagement ring market places work as anonymous auctions. But Worthy sends a selling price estimate when they evaluate your ring. That’s your online ballpark figure.
5. Go to eBay
This one is pretty self-explanatory. eBay is easy for you as a seller but isn’t quite as transparent for buyers. And they do take a commission of about 10% on jewelry sales. But the issue isn’t so much the platform as its users. Many consumers go to eBay with the assumption their purchase isn’t ‘as seen on TV’ and their cynicism is heightened with pricy jewelry. Especially bridal stuff.
That said, it can be a good option for testing the waters. Plus, it’ an auction site based on buyer-seller agreements, so you’re not obligated to accept the offers. It may just be useful to see what people are willing to pay for your engagement ring. Just make sure you don’t get scammed …
6. Call Cash for Gold
We mentioned online selling sites earlier, but that was in the context of gemstones and intact rings. If your engagement ring was gold, you can easily offload it here. It’s a good option if your ring is valued under $5,000 because they’ll collect it, assess it, and pay you within 24 hours. This service is free, and if you don’t like their offer, they’ll bring back your ring at no charge.
Their rates for gold are up to three times what competitors offer and they have over 35 years’ experience in selling gold online. And because they collect, insure, appraise, and return your ring as needed, you won’t risk any loss. The difference is their offer is fixed. They will only play what the appraiser quotes – it’s not an auction system. They do offer 10% bonuses though.
7. Phone a Friend
Common wisdom says you should work with animals and kids. Or do business with friends and family. But if you’re really in a pinch, you need the cash, and you have a friend that’s willing to pay, that could be the best way to sell an engagement ring. Just be clear on the price and the payment terms, because bad deals and financial fights are an easy way to ruin friendships.
The advantage of selling your ring to a friend is they know you. They may have a history of your engagement, marriage, and/or divorce so they know what the ring means to you. So if you ever want to buy back once things have settled down, they’ll probably let you. Just be sure to pick the right pal. Someone you can trust to pay you fair rates and keep your ring safe for re-purchase.
8. Keep it Punny
Lucky Number Thirteen goes to I Do, Now I Don’t. It looks and feels a lot like eBay, but is wedding-themed, putting high in our ranking for the best way to sell an engagement ring. They also sell other ‘luxury recycled goods’ and they take a commission of 10% to 25% depending on the value of your ring. They only pay on the 15th of the month though, so get your timing right.
Do you have a ring you’ve been trying to sell? Tell us about your progress in the comments!