Can you really tell the difference? There are few who can. (That's why companies like ours exist; we have years of experience and training in diamond grading.) Independent or chain store, choose your jeweller with the same care that you choose your doctor or your lawyer. This is a business in which you should have confidence. These are people whose advice you should trust. But, if you persist in being one of those people who shop from jeweller to jeweller seeking that one individual who will sell you (for example) a 1.00ct VS-1 G diamond for the best price then see the checklist below. Do you really believe that if that person will sell it for cash, all the better.. ("let's not get the taxman involved?")! What makes you think that if this person is ready to cheat the government he is going to be straight with you? And then there is also the fact that the best price is not always the best value: is it truly VS-1, G ?... how is the cut ?. There are many variables. In addition to about 50 different quality factors, there are varying market conditions that affect the per carat price of a stone. Still feel confident?
1. Get a receipt. Yes, we know it could cost more (taxes etc) but you need a receipt.
2. On the receipt have the seller write exactly what you are buying (a full description, including weight and quality). If the seller says "but I am giving you an appraisal that states all those things" you don't care.. you want to know what the seller says it is. Remember: verbal assurances are worth the paper they are printed on; and the appraisal is someone else's opinion.
3. Have the seller write clearly on the receipt that you can get your money back if a reliable, independent appraiser of your own choosing does not come up with the same grading (within reasonable limits).
4. If the seller is not interested in any or all of the above, shop elsewhere. Its your money.
Who's Really Having Fun?
You have seen advertising for people who will buy your "old gold"? They say that the jewellery you don't want, the pieces that are simply occupying valuable space in drawers or safety deposit boxes can be converted into lovely useable cash. People who buy your old jewellery aren't doing it as a favour to you, they are more than happy to pay you their cash for old jewellery that you no longer need. If you don't need it, why do they? They are making big money by buying pieces from the unsuspecting for substantially less than may be obtained elsewhere, and then many of them simply re-sell those items in places that you yourself can sell in. This takes a bit of legwork, but it will probably ensure a greater return. Have your own fun!
Where Can You Sell Your Jewellery?
1. Your local jeweller may be prepared to either make an outright offer for the item, or take it, and sell it for you, paying you once the item is sold (this is called "selling on consignment"). If your local jeweller is not interested in consignment sales, there are lots who are... spend some time on the phone (or the Web). Another source of consignment or outright sale might be the antique dealers. They are always looking for interesting pieces to sell. The consignment method of sale is usually fair market value (FMV). The outright sale is usually cash disposal value (CDV).
2. You may choose to sell the item privately, take an ad in one of those "Bargain Hunter" newspapers that seem to abound... give your business phone number and meet the prospective buyer in a public place (such as your bank) to arrange the sale. Here you may expect FMV or higher. This is where you would use your insurance appraisal to verify the value of the piece. You are dealing with another member of the public. The downside to this method of sale is the lack of security, do you know the people... you never know who you might be dealing with.
3. Auction houses are springing up all over the place. You may not be Jackie O, but talk to a few auctioneers to get a feel for what fees are involved and what results you might expect. They are always looking for new lots to sell. As an aside, where do you think the "we buy your old jewellery" guys sell your stuff anyway?
4. As a last resort, you can always try a pawn shop. You won't get a lot, but at least you can change your mind. If you pawn an item you can redeem it later.