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Advice Needed On Selling This Stone!


SuzanneMW
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I'm a professional organizer in north metro Atlanta, and I've been tasked by a long-term client to help her sell a diamond solitaire. I'm no jewelry aficionado, so I'm begging for your expertise!

 

She has an appraisal from AGI NY that gives estimated retail replacement value of $29,640, but a local jeweler disagreed with that valuation (the client didn't ask what they thought it should be valued at).

 

Here is the info stated on the AGI NY appraisal:

 

  • 2.55 carats
  • Color: F
  • Clarity: SI-3
  • Cut: Very Good
  • Round, brilliant cut
  • 8.49-8.58 X 5.58mm

Where to start? 

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The problem here starts with those two appraisals. I don’t have a clue who AGI NY is but the question they’re answering is mostly irrelevant to the task at hand and the jeweler has definitely done her a disservice by providing partial information, even though I think he's probably correct..

She has 3 basic paths for resale. Retail it herself, sell it to a dealer or consign it through a dealer. Strategies will vary depending on which of these she wants to take.

Direct retail takes time and skill. Some people have it and some don’t. As a good rule, if she doesn’t know if she’s got the talent, she probably doesn’t. The same holds for you. Craigslist, ebay and so on aren’t for everyone and, for the most part, people who are good at this know it. IF you/she are going to retail it, you don’t have adequate paperwork.

Sales to a dealer are the easiest but produce the least money. The bright side is that it produces immediate money and comes with no costs. Just get bids of what they’re willing to pay. I would strongly recommend getting a real appraisal from a real appraiser here. That’s how you know if you should be eagerly accepting a bid or running for the door. A retail value from an appraiser you don’t know and where you weren’t the client is of no use at all.

Consignment makes you effectively a partner with the jeweler, at least for the length of this deal. It usually pays better than direct sale but it comes with some costs, some risks, and the schedule is unknown. Chances are good that the dealer is going to want to get better paperwork and they may want to do some repairs on the piece. What and how much is a matter of negotiation and advice on that is part of the value-add of the jeweler. The risks are the same as any other partnership. You need to pick your partner wisely.

Edited by denverappraiser
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Sorry, I didn't answer the question. Where to start?

Get a real appraisal from a real appraiser. You need to know what you have and you need to discuss the above market issues with them so you can set a price. It's not rocket science but you're not there and tiny details make a big difference in this business.

 

Talk with your friend/client and ask a few pointed questions. Is speed an issue? Does she have any skills/temperament to be a jewelry seller or does she want someone else to do the work? Do you? Is she willing to invest money in the deal for things like advertising, lab work or repairs? Is she comfortable with a consignment arrangement?

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Thanks, Neil, for all of the help! Direct sale or consignment would be the options for us, without question. My next step will be seeing if she's willing to pay for a reputable appraisal, and of course, finding the right one here in Atlanta. 

 

How would you recommend I go about finding a reputable dealer?

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FWIW, assuming that the "F/SI3" grade is somewhat meaningful, this may give you (and your client) a better idea of what stones like hers sell for. Don't forget that these here are "new" retail prices charged by dealers which are fairly aggressive commercially, but who also provide all the entourage of services that a private seller simply cannot supply (exchange/refund; setting/unsetting/sizing/resetting; availability of alternatives; guarantees; etc.):

 

http://www.diamondreview.com/diamonds/?sortOrder=carat&sortDesc=0&fShape=Rnd&fCaratLo=2.50&fCaratHi=2.75&fColorLo=F&fColorHi=F&fClarityLo=SI3&fClarityHi=SI3&fCutLo=&fCutHi=poor&fDepthLo=50.0&fDepthHi=80.0&fTableLo=40.0&fTableHi=80.0&fSymLo=&fSymHi=poor&fPolLo=&fPolHi=poor&fCulLo=&fCulHi=vlarge&fFlrLo=&fFlrHi=vstrong&fPriceLo=0&fPriceHi=1000000

 

Notwithstanding the above, I agree with Neil - find a good appraiser to work with to get a grip on what you have and for how much it should be sold. This was just to provide some context on the "the retail jeweller didn't agree with $30k".

Edited by davidelevi
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Hi Suzanne,

 

I recognise the place the appraisal is from. It's from a jeweller that an online website called IdonowIdont use. It's a consignment site for used jewellery where a person lists an item, another person buys the item if it interests them, it gets sent to AGI, they check out the stone and send it on to the buyer, like a middle person.

 

In my opinion, and it's just me, I'm no expert, they don't provide appraisals in the traditional sense of the word. They mostly check out that the information the seller listed is pretty much correct, ie it's a diamond, it's made of white gold etc. Their 'amounts' that they value the item for can range for as random as the valuation form the item comes with in 2006, to the value on the receipt when the item was bought from 2008, to a value they've decided to be appropriate which they decide in 24 hours before shipping out. As random as that sounds. For the grades, their values will come down to a pretty similar process, if the item comes with a certificate being GIA, AGS, EGL, Tiffany etc, they will likely cut and paste those values.

 

As awful as this all sounds, the buyer will get what is generally get at least a diamonds if it is listed on that site, ie a blurry picture of a ring described by the owner as F, VS, but it is up to the buyer to really know if that is an F, VS by their own research and homework.

 

I think AGI serves a role as a middle person so that people aren't buying off a direct stranger, but as a valuation form from them, I would not use that as the primary source of information.

 

Is it possible to as well as getting it appraised properly, send the diamond to GIA and have if certified by a reputable lab?

Edited by Kittykat
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One of your big issues is going to be lab grading. Assuming that description is reasonably close, the end consumer is going to want a credible lab that defends it. That normally means GIA (www.gia.edu). If you're the retailer, you need to do this, if you're consigning, let the jeweler do it. Then there's the variable of cutting. If it's a bad cut, meaning below Very Good, you're either going to want to choose a different lab or do some repair work before it goes to the lab. Get advice from your appraiser on this.

Just to reiterate Davide's comment, when you look up comps in the database, remember that these are retail prices by dealers. You won't be able to get that much, even after you deal with the cutting and the lab. Also spend some time playing with the search specs. In particular, notice what happens when you change that F to G or H and/or change SI3 to I1 or drop the weight below 2.50. That's why the lab is such a big deal.

Edited by denverappraiser
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