People who buy jewelry quote widely differing prices on used jewelry. An unwary seller may become the victim of a savvy buyer by taking a price that is far too low. However, many sellers need to lower their expectations when it comes to the resale market for jewelry. By following some simple guidelines, you can take a lot of the stress out of selling jewelry, and most likely get a fair price for your rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches.
Find a reputable professional appraiser, and pay to have your jewelry appraised. The price you will hear from this professional is the price of the piece if you were buying it retail today. This figure gives you a starting place.
Photograph your pieces. A reasonable-quality digital camera does just fine. You can use these pictures to send images to potential buyers. They will give you a price range that helps you price your jewelry.
Rate your jewelry. Use a "fair, good, excellent" rating system and rate your items on intrinsic value (How many carats?), rarity (Are your pieces one of a kind or fairly unusual?), desirability (Are your pieces in demand today, or are they part of a trend?) and condition. These four criteria can help you arrive at a reasonable price for your jewelry.
Selling to a Reseller
Decide if you want quick cash, and if you do, look for a buyer who sells to the public. Many such buyers advertise in newspapers and in telephone directories, as well as online. Expect a price much lower than the appraised value, because this buyer needs to turn around and sell the jewelry to the public.
Shop around. Studies show that prices offered for resale jewelry vary widely. Listen for the offer that takes your rating system into account and comes closest to the appraised value.
Sleep on it. Once you find an attractive offer, wait 24 hours to decide if you really want to sell at that price. Buyers may try to pressure you into an on-the-spot cash transaction, because they know cash is appealing.
Selling on Consignment
Find a jewelry store that will make a consignment deal with you. You can agree on a price you'll accept, and anything above that goes to the company handling the sale for you. They can recommend pricing to you. Expect less than the appraised value, because the company will want to make a profit on the sale.
Check the fine print. The company should pay you your minimum price despite marketing, commission and other costs they incur.
Set a price that will cover mailing and insurance if the company you use is in another city.
Place advertisements in online marketplaces, or list your jewelry on auction sites. You have lots of competition on these sites, so surf them to get an idea of what price will make your jewelry attractive.
Set a price that allows you to pay any auction fees.
Expect people who find your online advertisements to attempt to bargain with you, so decide what your rock-bottom price is.
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Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.
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