Determining the Value of Your Diamonds
By Devorah Isenberg , Wednesday, November 24, 2010 3:44 AM
Many of us have an old piece of diamond jewelry—whether it is family heirloom or a gift that we never liked—lurking in the back of a jewelry box. What you may not realize is that diamond rings and other pieces of diamond jewelry can be quite valuable and easy to sell. Not every sparkly old stone is a jackpot, though, so before you take your loot to an appraiser, it’s a good idea to get some sense of how much the stone and setting are worth.
A Cut Above diamond in allegro ring with euro shank
Loose diamonds are, of course, the easiest to resell, which is why they are often the first choice of those buying diamonds as an investment. Without a setting, which can be dirty, damaged or simply outdated, the value of the stone stands completely on its own merit. However, antique jewelry can often be even more valuable if it is in good condition and is in a style that is considered desirable.
The most important element affecting the resale price of a loose diamond or diamond jewelry is its condition. Although some amount of wear is to be expected, and adds to the charm of antique pieces, it is important that it be in reasonable physical condition. Missing stones are a big problem, as are discolored or damaged stones. The metal itself should be relatively unscratched and untarnished. You may want to get a piece of diamond jewelry professionally cleaned and buffed before getting it appraised, although this is not always a good idea with delicate antique pieces.
Of course, the more valuable the piece was originally, the more it will be worth now. Solid, high-quality materials, excellent workmanship, and above all top-notch diamonds will all add to the value of your diamond ring or necklace. If your piece appears vintage in style and is slightly worn without any severe damage, it will sell easily at an antique shop. Brand names can help with the sale of your piece, but a top-quality piece will speak for itself without the brand name.
Many people get their loose diamonds and diamond jewelry appraised for insurance purposes. Keep in mind, however, that the price quoted by the appraiser is an industry estimate and is not the resale value you can expect to get for that piece. Your actual sale price will depend on many other factors like condition, sales environments, and the international diamond market.
The value of loose diamonds does not depend on their age, assuming that they are in good condition. The market value of any loose diamond will depend on the famous “4 C’s”—cut, color, carat and clarity. If you purchased the diamond, you probably know its ranking. If you don’t know the diamond’s rankings, you can get it appraised, but be very careful that you bring it to a certified appraiser. The findings of independent appraisers can often be contested by a buyer.
Of course, having a reliable diamond certificate like an AGS or GIA certification can increase the total value of your stone while avoiding any conflicts over its grading. A certified diamond is worth more than an uncertified diamond; plus, you save money on appraising. It helps if your diamond has an identification number laser-inscribed on the girdle, which your jeweler can help you find. Keep in mind that older loose diamonds may be ranked differently and by different certifying agencies; a trusted jeweler with a broad knowledge of diamond rankings can help you compare your stone to more modern ranking systems.
There is no one set price for any diamond of a specific ranking; diamond prices fluctuate constantly with the global market. However, a little online research will give you a reasonable estimate on the market price of your stone. Keep in mind that an appraiser or vendor may charge a commission on the sale of your loose diamond.
There are many ways to sell a loose diamond or a piece of jewelry. You may want to try antique shops, pawn shops, auction houses specialty jewelry stores, or Internet auction sites. You may also try to find a buyer on your own, cutting out the middle man and his commission. Selling a loose diamondcan be interesting, fun and most of all, lucrative!
For more specific questions ask our experts