Lately, it seems like a lot of my friends and family have been looking for ways to downsize and simplify their lives. Even my husband and I have been thinking more about what things we actually need and what items we have been sitting around collecting dust that we haven’t used or looked at in eons. Couple that with the fact that we are a bit behind in our retirement savings (aren’t we all) AND trying to figure out how to fund my daughter's college education without accumulating a ton of debt.
What can we sell that will help fill our pockets and simplify our lives?
One such example we can consider is our watches and jewelry. We have some surplus items that don’t have any sentimental value that we are considering selling.
But where do we start?
In my own quest to figure out how to sell my jewelry safely, and get top dollar, I compiled the following four tips.
How to Sell Your Jewelry Online and Locally For Extra Cash:
Do Your Research!
To help yourself set realistic expectations and avoid scams, it is really important to know the actual appraised worth of your jewelry. When it comes to managing your expectations, if you know that diamond your ex-boyfriend gave you is worth less than he told you it was, then you won’t get frustrated or look foolish and uninformed by asking for too much during the negotiation process. When it comes to avoiding scams if you have no idea what your items are worth, how can you possibly know if you are being offered a fair price?
There are a couple of different ways to go about determining the value of your “treasures.”
One way is to hire a professional appraiser. A trusted local jewelry store probably has a qualified appraiser you can pay to evaluate your pieces. My local jeweler even has an event a couple of times of year when they encourage customers to bring their pieces in to be appraised for a discounted, flat fee. If you don’t have a specific jewelry store you frequent, you can also find registered appraisers via The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers website.
If you are not interested in hiring an appraiser, there is a couple of other low to no-cost options, too. You can start by doing some research online on sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Market Place. Search to see what other people are asking for similar pieces. You can also bring your pieces to local pawn stores and see how much they are willing to pay.
Once you’ve collected some of this basic information, you can try to objectively evaluate your piece and set up a range of what you think it will be worth. Using this method is obviously not as safe or reliable as having your pieces evaluated by a certified appraiser, but at least you are doing some legwork before just blindly jumping in to sell your pieces.
Get Your Jewelry in the Best Shape Possible
Just like with most anything else you might want to sell of value (like your car, your home, or almost any other second-hand item), you need to make a little effort to clean and repair the pieces you care to sell. One word of caution, however. Trying to make complicated repairs or big restorations of your jewelry can actually do more harm than good and in some cases even damage the item. So, leave the important, more complex repairs or deep cleanings to your local jeweler.
If you clean it yourself, use gentle materials like a little bit of warm water with a small amount of dish soap, a gentle scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush, and pat or air dry. Some of my research suggested a salt, and baking soda paste might work too, but, again, if your piece is made of gold or other soft materials, you could ultimately end up scratching or damaging it.
Best Places to Sell Your Jewelry Locally
A lot of people recommend going locally to a reputable pawn shop or jeweler to sell your pieces in person. Whether via jeweler or pawn shop, you may have to mentally accept that you will get less than you really wanted. The reason for this is that ultimately these businesses have to be able to make a profit on the purchase and resale of your items.
Knowing what your jewelry is worth is the best way to make sure you can get a fair price. It might not be exactly or more than what you think you should get, but, it should be fair too, where both parties walk away feeling like it was a fair exchange.
One warning I uncovered in my research is to try and avoid those “one day only we will buy all your gold” event gimmicks held at local hotels. This type of one-and-done pop-up events almost guarantees you will make the least amount of money as possible.
Another option is to sell your jewelry locally using an online classified site like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or VarageSale. Just like selling a car, you tend to earn more when you sell it outright. These sites allow you to connect with potential buyers, negotiate, and meet in-person to make the transaction.
Selling Your Jewelry Online
If you're interested in selling your jewelry online, there are some reputable and popular sites you can check out.
Here are just a few to get you started:
With eBay, you can sell just about anything, including jewelry. But with eBay, you'll be responsible for creating your listing, taking photos, shipping, and insuring your item. There are some risks involved with selling on eBay in that once the deal is done, there is a moment when you hope the buyer’s money pans out and they hope you, the seller, comes through with what you promised.
I Do Now I Don't has an ingenious process designed to protect both the seller and the buyer. For a 15 percent commission, they will collect the jewelry from the seller and the money from the buyer. The money is held in escrow while they appraise the jewelry and once they confirm that everything is as was promised by both parties, they release everything.
The RealReal is a luxury, online consignment shop. On their site, you can sell men and women's accessories, fine jewelry, handbags, watches, home decor, and fine art. To get started, request an in-home pickup, ship your items off using their prepaid shipping label, or drop off at one of their retail locations. Their team will authenticate, photograph, and price your items to sell. With The RealReal, you can be paid via check, store credit, or direct deposit and they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Worthy is an online auction house that allows you to sell diamond rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches. Just request an insured shipping kit and send your jewelry off to their auction house in New York. They'll clean and appraise your item and then put it up for auction online. You can view the live auction when it's happening and you decide to accept the offer or not. According to their informational video, you can make much more selling it through them than a traditional jeweler or pawnshop. Worthy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
5. Blue Nile
If you're trying to sell diamond jewelry, you can sell it online via the Blue Nile website via their partnership with Mondiamo. Just click on the receive an offer button to start the process. Once you input all of your jewelry's details and are pleased with the offer, they'll send you a free insured shipping kit. Package up your diamonds and bring it to a FedEx location. Once they receive your jewelry and inspect it — they'll issue payment via wire transfer or check.
When you're selling jewelry, either online or locally, the important thing is to take the time to make sure you are knowledgeable and informed. Check with the Better Business Bureau or review sites online to make sure that the company you are considering selling your items to is reputable and knowledgeable enough to give you a fair price. Be safe and watch out for deals that seem too good to be true, as they probably are.
Have you ever sold jewelry? What did you do to ensure you got a fair price for items? What advice would you add to this list?
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Christy Schutz is a communications professional and freelance writer focused on topics like employer/personal branding, career management, personal development, women in the workplace, and female entrepreneurs. She enjoys putting 16+ years of experience in the advertising, recruitment marketing, employee/internal communications and special events industries to good use by helping others to discover, develop and market their own distinct calling or mission. This Tampa Bay, FL-based Mom also keeps herself busy by raising 4 kids, caring for her husband & doting on her dogs Petey and Daisy!