Photo: Flickr / garann
These days, the hot trend in flashy jewelry isn’t to wear it so much as sell it off.That’s according to Heidi Mitchell’s article in the Wall Street Journal, which reports more women are ditching their cherished heirlooms than ever, thanks to a spike in gold prices, which are hovering around $1,800 per ounce.
“Some people are using the money to pay for mortgages, educations, theatre tickets, vacations, houses, all sorts of things,” Andrew Fabrikant, co-founder of Andrew & Peter Fabrikant in New York, told Business Insider. “We’ve been buying larger percentages of an estate than we were before the recession.”
“And consider this too,” said Carmen Wong Ulrich, president and co-founder of ALTA Wealth Management, “if you have enough jewelry, it can end up costing you just to keep it safe and secure” in a home safe or security deposit box.
Whatever your situation, consumers have got to be smart before selling their jewelry. We asked Fabrikant to share a few tricks of the trade:
Get an educated opinion. Do this if you’re unsure of what to sell or feel you’re having trouble determine the item’s worth. As a rule, Fabrikant says diamonds over 1 carat will have the most value and notes that there’s a robust market for “important and recognisable brand names” like Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpel. Diamond and gold bangles remain wildly popular, while broaches have slowly gone out of vogue. The biggest money-grabbers are engagement rings.
Skip the appraisal. “You’re paying for a service that doesn’t net you any money,” said Fabrikant. “If you don’t know a diamond’s quality, then let the jeweler submit it to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA),” and have them do the hard work for you.
Avoid envelope drop-in services. “People with good reputations take the time to let you know the jewelry arrived safely and leave the decision of whether to sell up to you,” said Fabrikant. They also won’t toy with your profit, trying to take more than their fair share. “It’s like a gold-buying service,” he continued, you wouldn’t trust someone who’s “basically buying scrap gold but they pay you fractions on the dollar.”
You’ll also want to avoid the pawn shop and auction house (unless you’re a big name celebrity), which charges a 25 per cent premium to the buyer and seller, as well as fees for unsold items.
Don’t clean or repair items before bringing them in. “The jeweler will do that,” said Fabrikant, noting you don’t want to risk losing the value. “It’s like taking apart an intricate diamond,” he said. It’s hard to put back together.
Bring your paperwork to the sale. “If you have a GIA report or a report from another laboratory, bring it with you so there’s no question about what you’re showing to them,” said the jeweler.
Find a buyer with a great reputation. This counts more than anything, said Fabrikant. You’ve got to work with someone you trust and should comparison shop before settling on a buyer’s price. Though there are plenty of ways to research jewellers online, he recommended checking out their credentials on the Better Business Bureau or asking a friend for a reference.