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Trade In Question


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Hello all, newbie here. Very impressive forum with lots of great information. Didn't find a post that addresses my question, so here goes...


I have 3 half carat rounds that are set in a pair of stud earrings and a pendant. All 3 are natural, VS2, H-I. I would like to trade in these 3 diamonds on 1 larger solitare to be put into an engagement ring. Any suggestions on how to get the best value for my diamonds?


Thanks for your input!

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You’ve provided some facts that are important. Weight, clarity, color and cutting are big deals to buyers and calling them VS2 doesn’t necessarily make it so and doesn’t necessarily persuade your buyer. There’s not a straight answer for how best to do this because it varies depending on your marketing strategy but the first step is to put some thought into exactly what you have and how you’re going to present it to your buyer. This usually means getting an appraisal with an independent expert.


If you’re selling to a dealer, ie. Trading in, it’s easy enough. You show them what you have and ask them what they’ll give you for it. Bids should be free. Deciding to accept the bid or not goes back to the appraisal above. If you chose the right appraiser and you asked questions during your appraisal session it should be fairly easy to make this call.


A brief note on appraisals. Most appraisals are written for replacement value new. That is to say, it’s an estimate of what it would reasonably be expected to cost to replace the subject item with another of like kind and quality at retail, locally, new. This is NOT the price you can expect to get on resale and often it can’t even be easily converted. The ‘discount’ from this will vary wildly depending on the property, the methodology the appraiser used to come to their conclusion and the buyer. In isolation an appraisal value means nothing. Talk to your appraiser. If you weren’t the client, get it appraised yourself.


Note #2 on appraisals. A LOT of appraisers are unqualified. Check them out before you hire them. Working or even owning a jewelry store doesn’t do it. As pointed out above, ‘value’ is a difficult concept and the correct answer to the wrong question is doing you no favors. The wrong answer to the wrong question is even worse.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Approach a few local jewellers and see what kind of response you get. Unless your diamonds are graded by a reliable lab (which in the US means AGS or GIA), don't expect too much interest - or high prices, unfortunately. There are gem brokers that will purchase diamonds "remotely", but again they generally require them to be graded by reputable labs.


In any case, bear in mind that a 1.00 carat stone will cost (retail) about as much as 4 x 0.50 (retail), all else being equal, so expect to have to fork out a fair amount if you want to get a significantly larger stone.


ETA: You may be better off considering channels other than trade-in to sell your jewellery (e.g. eBay), though as Neil points out it depends on who you are and what you are good at...


Good luck!

Edited by davidelevi
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Selling diamonds privately involves 3 basic options:


The most money comes from direct sale to a consumer. This also is the most work, it requires the most talent on your part, requires a bit of investment in the form of advertising and documentation, and often takes the most time. Ebay, craigslist, newspaper, friends, friends of friends, and plain old luck are the usual methods here.


The least money comes from selling directly to dealers. This is the fastest and easiest path that requires the least skill and the least investment on your part. Jewelry stores often buy, pawn shops buy, most cities have dealers who advertise that they buy and there are national companies who buy who advertise online and in magazines and newspapers.


The middle ground is consignment sales through dealers. You don’t get paid until they find a customer. This takes time, it involves some new risks because you’re going into partnership with a stranger and may or may not involve additional investment depending on the deal (lab grading, advertising, photography or whatever). Jewelry stores , mostly smaller ones, will do this and there are a few national firms that you can find online. For example, this is the way the big auction houses work.


Choosing between these paths will depend on what you have, what your requirements are in terms of additional investment, and time and your own skills and temperament.


Half caraters don’t usually get a lot of interest from the consignment folks because people usually have unrealistic expectations of what things are ‘worth’ and they find it’s not worth their time and trouble to prepare and promote the goods. Interest by the dealers for a direct buy is a mixed bag and varies wildly based on what you actually have. At the right price you can sell anything, of course, and the sticking point is usually deciding what is a ‘fair’ price. That’s the point of an appraisal from a pro who is working for YOU.


Assuming you don’t have an existing contractual deal with the place where you bought them, a ‘trade in’ is basically just two deals. They’re buying yours and they’re selling you a new one. Assuming you’re aggressive on the buy side (and you should be), that’s not going to translate into a higher price on the sell side. If you DO have a contractual deal with the place where you bought them, pay particular attention to the deal on the new purchase. They can quote a higher trade in price and offset it with a higher sell price.

Edited by denverappraiser
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