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How to Sell Your Fine Jewelry, Part II: Top Ten Tips for an ad that SELLS your Ring

Updated on November 13, 2012

Welcome to Part II of How to Sell Your Jewelry

In my last post,, you read about how the same piece of jewelry can have three values.

Selling a Diamond Ring? Bad Ad vs. Good Ad

Ad #1:

2 piece soldered set, custom fourteen carat (sic) white gold fairly thick engagement ring with matching wedding band. 2.00 carats total weight. Size 5. Hardly worn! Appraised for $8,500. $7000 or best offer. (555)555-5555.

Ad #2:

Perfect for a Holiday Pendant, Engagement Ring or Single Stud Earring: .75 carat Ideal Cut Round Diamond, SI1 Clarity, G Color. GIA certified. Appraised at $8500. Will sell for $4800. White gold diamond semi-mount ring, sizable, also available. (555)555-5555.

Which ad do you like better? Which ad is a better sales tool?

Ad #1 wastes precious ad space and giving a buyer reasons NOT to buy the ring. A soldered set? Think about it: newlyweds don't want to buy bad karma. Couples don’t solder their rings until after they get married. Hey, this ring is used! How big is the center diamond? Wow, that’s a great price for a two-carat... but wait...the ad says “2.00 carats total weight." The center diamond could be a 1/4 carat, a 1/2 carat, who knows? Oh, and gosh, the ring is a size 5. I wear a size 7, no way that will fit. And’s $7000?

I’ll pass. And so will 90% of potential buyers. The 10% who might call to ask about the ring will politely decline when they find out the center diamond is only 3/4 carat, it’s not the shape they had in mind, and that you might not even know the color or clarity.


Let's Dissect These Two Ads

What makes Ad #2 so much more likely to sell than Ad #1? After you read these ten tips, you'll understand why a serious buyer will home in on a well written ad and pass on a classified that's just plain flabby.


  1. Give the buyer a reason to buy NOW. If Valentine’s Day is coming up, or Chistmas, or if it happens to be June, July or August, why not start out with “It’s Your Anniversary, Isn’t It?"
  2. Try selling the ring intact first, if you insist. Most sellers shudder at taking the engines (diamonds) out of their chassis (rings). Unless the setting is something ultra-special, like a a way-cool platinum filigree dome ring or a signed Tiffany, pay an expert $10 to remove it from a prong setting (up to $30 to have it removed from a bezel or a channel). If your ring is a prong setting, it won't be too tough to re-set, but if it's a channel or bezel, you might ruin the setting. I don't mean to burst your bubble here, but unless a savvy jeweler turns pale when you tell him you're going to take it apart, remove it: most often the setting is not worth more intact than it is as a pile of accent diamonds and a few grams of precious metal.
  3. People have better luck selling their diamond if they offer the diamond by itself. For goodness sake, have it PROFESSIONALLY removed. Do not attempt to remove it yourself. You can damage the diamond AND the ring. Why dismount it? Most people don’t want a used engagement ring. Selling a loose diamond gives your buyer a chance to envision it in the setting they want. Just be sure you WATCH the goldsmith remove the diamond; do not let it out of your sight unless you know the jeweler well AND you have looked under the microscope so you can identify it after it’s been removed. Look at it under a 'scope or a loupe, both before and after it's been removed. That way you can be sure it's the same diamond.
  4. KNOW the 4 C’s, and LIST THEM in the ad. Just copy them from your appraisal, for now. Don't have an appraisal? You might have to ante up for one, but if the center diamond is small (under 3/4 carat), often it's not worth the time or the money. It's even better if you have an independent lab report, also known as a ‘certificate.’ Some certificates add significant value (like the GIA certificate mentioned in this classified ad). Other lab reports might very well be a waste of paper... but they are used every day, by resellers, as sales tools.
  5. A run of the mill 1/2 carat doesn’t merit a seller going to the expense of getting an appraisal; instead, wander over to a couple of retailers and tell them you’re considering re-setting the diamond as an earring: how much would it cost to match? That will give you a ballpark appraisal price to list on your ad (and it might give you a clue about the 4C's of your diamond).
  6. Be realistic. Allow a little room for negotiation. This is tough, especially if you paid full retail for your diamond. Even if you are selling to an end buyer, be prepared to sell at levels that are closer to wholesale. You’re better off not running around town, paying from $50-$300 getting a series of appraisals: this may cost you more in appraisal fees than the diamond is actually worth!
  7. Have your paperwork handy to answer questions. You don't have to carry the ring around, but don’t leave your paperwork at home if you list your cell number and someone calls to ask you about the ring you have for sale!
  8. If the setting is SIZABLE (some tension settings, invisible set and eternity rings are technically not sizable, and in fact, may be impossible to size and maintain their structural integrity and or aesthetic), offer it to the interested party. Take a nice digital image and have it handy (DON’T INCLUDE IT IN YOUR AD). If you get a nibble, mention that you have a setting. Give your diamond buyer a heck of a deal on the setting if (s)he's interested! Remember, you paid for all the craftsmanship when you bought the setting, but you are selling scrap gold and (maybe) a few small diamonds.
  9. You don’t see this in any ad, but it’s important: before you offer your jewelry for sale, be sure you can demonstrate it’s yours to sell. When I first opened Big Sky Gold & Diamond, a dealer called me and said I had his “stolen sapphire.” I produced a bill of sale from a local cutter. If I had not been able to prove that the gem was mine, that dealer might have gone to the police. People who have lost or stolen jewelry keep tabs on auction or sales websites, as well as classified ads and the local ‘Pennysaver.’ Protect yourself in advance with PROOF OF OWNERSHIP.
  10. Finally, be careful with your contact information. Online sites offer ways to mask your identity, but if you are selling locally, do not provide your home number. Do not list your name. Do not list your address. And if the potential buyer wants to meet you to look at the ring, the lobby of a bank is a good place, because there are guards and security cameras.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: What's a realistic selling price for my ring?


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