When you need a little extra cash, digging through your jewelry box isn’t a bad place to start.
Here’s how to get the best prices for your shiny goods.
Manage Your Expectations
Before you get too excited about raking in the cash, it’s super important to ground your expectations in reality. You may have an heirloom diamond necklace that belonged to your eccentric great aunt Mimsy, but to everyone you’re selling to, it’s just a necklace (and that diamond might not even be real). It is exceptionally rare to sell a secondhand piece for anything close to its purchasing price.
A piece of jewelry won’t sell anywhere near an appraised value for insurance purposes either. Those appraised values are based on the retail cost of replacing the item, including profit for the manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer. The actual amount you’ll get for your jewelry depends on a lot of different variables, including beauty, rarity, where it was bought originally, and the materials that make up the item.
Evaluate Your Piece
To determine the ballpark value of your piece, you need to look at it objectively. For example,you look at your piece like a used car:
…when you go to value the used car, you must know the make, model, year and mileage to start. The same is true for a diamond – you must know the karat weight, color, clarity and cut in order to determine the value.
You can get a feel for what your item might be worth by looking for similar items in completed eBay auctions, or by looking at prices of someone else’s used jewelry with similar characteristics. Add a discount to what you see, as your buyer will be looking to turn a profit.
Prepare It for Sale
Depending on where you sell it, restoring your piece of jewelry can make all the difference in fetching a decent price. Sometimes all a musty old heirloom needs is a little cleaning to make it sparkle again.use a little warm water and some dish soap to get that luster back. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently clean the item (a hard toothbrush can scratch gold and some gems), then let it air dry. For some items, a nice bath with some denture cleaner can do the trick too.
If you don’t feel 100% comfortable cleaning the item yourself, however, bring your item in to us and we will clean your item for free.
Pawnbrokers can be a crapshoot when it comes to getting a somewhat decent deal. They’re unlikely to give you anything close to what you’ll get at jewelers or online, but they might work in a pinch if you know your way around those establishments.
Sell It for Scrap
Selling your jewelry for its scrap value is another quick way to make some cash. That means you’re only selling it for the value of the materials that make up the piece, and it will likely be disassembled and melted down into bullion later on. This is also the easiest way to sell your jewelry. All you have to do is show up to a gold buying store with the items, or mail them off, and they’ll usually make you an offer immediately.
But even if they make you an offer, you can still shop around to see which store will give you the best deal. Gillman notes that you can do the same thing with online buyers, but if you deny their initial offer, the postage for sending your items back is on you.
If you want to determine the scrap value on your own, Advanced Gold and Silver offers some simple steps to walk you through it: