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selling a diamond


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Reselling diamonds for top dollar is pretty hard for most people. Diamonds aren’t nearly as good a bank account as people generally expect. There are two components that are absolutely essential:


#1 Figure out what you have. Tiny details matter. Grading matters. Condition matters. This is where almost everyone screws up. They want to sell it for a lot so they hope for the best. They get into believing their own advertising and convince themselves that their item is vastly better than their buyers think and the whole sales process collapses because of it. There’s an interesting discussion in the FAQ’s where this has happened. Even if you don’t put it in your advertising, you should know what it is. An accurate and complete appraisal is very helpful for this although it’s worth mentioning that you should shop carefully for your appraiser. An awful lot don’t do much and the most important thing in a good appraisal is the description, not the price. Whether lab reports are necessary or helpful will depend on what it is and, more importantly, what market you choose.


#2 Find a market. Asking big money is not the same as getting it. For that you need a customer. In most cities there are professional buyers that are happy to talk to you, there are also consignment jewelers, auction houses and friends of friends. There are private sales through the newspaper and the like, there’s ebay, craigs list, and charitable contributions. Maximizing this decision will be based on your location, your time requirements, your patience for the process and what you have. The most money generally comes from direct consumer sale. This means ‘friend to friend’ type marketing and it assumes that you both know some people who would be interested in buying it and that you are willing to sell to them (selling things to your boss, family and coworkers isn’t always a good plan for reasons completely unrelated to the merchandise). Consignment works well for the right kinds of items and in the appropriate store but you should bear in mind that it’s a long term relationship with the store so you should choose the store carefully. Consignment fees vary but around here they want about 25%-40% of the final sales price but if they can command, and get, a higher price then they are earning their money. Ebay, Craigs list and the like are usually a bit faster than the consignment approach and your success at it will have a lot to do with your documentation, your photographic and advertising skills and your feedback. It’s quite a bit of work to build a credible ebay seller but they people who have done it are generally pretty happy. The fastest and easiest sale is generally to the dealers. Not surprisingly, they pay the least. For most ‘ordinary’ type items, the dealers will be paying based on the salvage value of the materials – sort of like selling your car for it’s weight in steel. With my car this would probably be reasonable but for others it may not be. The same is true with jewelry. With an awful lot of it, the best thing to do is to take it apart and make something else with the materials while others really are a piece of art. Owners can’t usually tell the difference and here again an appraisal could be helpful.


A brief note on appraisals:

Jewelry does not have a bottom line ‘worth’ in the same way that stocks and bonds, gold bullion, cash and a few other things do. The number at the bottom will be based on the appraisers estimate of a particular description and a specific marketplace. This can lead to massively misunderstood and misleading documents. Make sure you understand the context of the appraisal or it’s worse than useless. The bottom line number can vary by more than a factor of 10 depending on the details of the description, the market chosen and the methodology used by the appraiser. Supplying your potential customers with a document titled ‘appraisal’ is an interesting advertising strategy but it does not address my first issue of understanding what you have and what you should expect in your resale.


It’s also worth noting that sometimes appraisers have hidden agendas. An offer to buy is not an appraisal and it’s a huge conflict of interest to call it one. If an appraisal is ‘free’, it’s generally worth less than it costs.



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