Engagement Ring Budget

How much should you spend on your diamond ring?

Sell your diamond ring

Find out where you can sell your diamond ring for the most money

 

how to sell engagemenet ring heroDiamonds may be forever, but they don’t necessarily need to be forever with the same person.

There are many reasons to sell a diamond ring – a change in life circumstances, an upgrade of an original engagement ring, passing on a family heirloom, or something else entirely..

But whatever the reason is, it’s a certainty that you want to know how to sell your ring for the most money.

We’re going to talk you through each of the different options available to make sure that you have a clear understanding of where the best place to sell your sparkler is and how to get the most for it.

Where to sell your diamond ring

The key to getting the most money when reselling your diamond is to find the right buyer for you, which will depend on what it is that you are looking to sell.

Which of the following categories does your ring fall into?

  • Diamond ring with a significant center stone (above 1 carat)
  • Diamond ring with a smaller center stone (below 1 carat)
  • Designer diamond rings (Tiffany & Co, Cartier etc)
  • Ring with lots of diamonds in the setting
  • Diamond ring and wedding ring set
  • Diamonds with smaller diamonds e.g. cluster settings

Best place to selling a diamond ring with a larger center stone (above 1 carat):

If your ring has a significantly sized center diamond, there are two places I recommend you consider.

Your first stop should be Alon Mor of ‘The Diamond Oak’, a diamond dealer based in New York’s diamond district, where his family has been trading diamonds since the 1950s.

Alon specialises in larger diamonds and consistently bids higher than other diamond buyers to ensure that he has the best inventory available.

Over the past three years (writing this in May 2021) I have conducted several mystery shops, offering the same diamond ring to several retailers. Alon’s price has consistently been the highest.

His offer for the ring below was a full $400 higher than the amount that I would have received from the next best offer, and twice as much as offers from pawn shops etc.

sell diamond ring diamond oak

I’ve also mystery shopped considerably larger diamonds with Alon and he consistently outperforms other offers.

I recommend that you talk to Alon first, where he’s give you a very fair offer for your diamond based on current conditions in the secondary resale market.

Receive an offer from the Diamond Oak

If for any reason, you don’t feel that Alon’s price offered meets your expectations, then you do have another option: Worthy.com

Worthy is an online marketplace, which connects jewelry sellers with a network of professional buyers.

The advantage here is that your ring can be put out in front of many people, who will then bid against each other to win it.

The benefit of this is that if several people want your ring, they’ll drive the price up. The disadvantage is that as a marketplace, Worthy charge a commission for their service:

Worthy jewelry auction site fees

I definitely recommend you check Worthy out and read some of their reviews.

Worthy also has a good feature on their site where you can see past auctions, to get an idea of how much items have sold for.

By using the filters, you can see how rings with similar size and quality of diamonds to your have achieved at auction:

worthy recently sold diamond rings

Of course, these prices don’t include Worthy’s fee, which does need to be included in calculating how much you would receive from a sale.

If you feel that Worthy could be a good option for you, it could be a good idea to take The Diamond Oak’s recommended price and then add Worthy’s success fee to it as the reserve price.

For example, if Alon offers $4,000 for a diamond ring, it would make sense to add the 18% Worthy fee on top of this when listing with them to set a reserve of $4,720:

Diamond Oak Worthy used diamond rings

Or, if Alon offers $10,000 for your jewelry and you feel that this is too low, you could add the 14% Worthy success fee to set the reserve at $11,400.

If the reserve isn’t met, or if Worthy don’t allow you to set a reserve at this price, then you are better off going with Alon’s price.

Best place to a sell diamond rings below 1 carat: Worthy.com

If you have a ring with a center stone below 1 carat, then Worthy is your best bet due to the number of diamond buyers that your ring will be put in front of.

Looking at a recent auction, we can see that a ring with fairly common specs recently sold for $1,930:

sell diamond ring on worthy.com

This price was achieved because the way Worthy works.

We can see that there were 294 buyers interested in this ring and bidding the price up:

As a result of this competition, the final sale price of $1,930 was nearly double the ‘average’ bid of $1,098.

If the seller had gone straight to some of those bidders instead of Worthy, they would have received significantly less for their ring.

If you have a ring to sell, Worthy can also help you understand how much it could be worth using their sophisticated analysis tools.

For most diamond rings, Worthy is a great choice to maximise what you will receive for your ring.

Visit Worthy

Best place to sell a designer diamond ring: The Diamond Oak

If you have a designer diamond ring with a luxury name attached, it will command a premium compared to a ‘regular’ diamond ring, evemn if the diamond has similar specifications.

Jewelry from these brands is known as ‘signed’ in the jewelry trade as they include an engraving of the maker’s name on the inside of the ring.

designer rings resale

So if you want to sell a Tiffany & Co, Bvlgari, Van Cleef, Cartier, Harry Winston or similarly branded ‘signed’ diamond ring then there’s a good chance that you will be able to recoup significantly more than a ‘generic’ ring with a diamond of similar quality.

As with larger diamond rings, our recommendation based on mystery shopping several types of jewelry buyers is to first contact Alon at The Diamond Oak. He consistently offers the highest prices for luxury branded jewelry.

Receive an offer for your designer ring from The Diamond Oak

And again, if you feel that Alon’s price isn’t what you were looking for, it’s always worth listing it on Worthy with The Diamond Oak’s price plus Worthy’s fee as the reserve price.

Worthy also have a feature in their ‘recent auctions’ tool that allows you to filter by brand name, so you can see how much a designer ring like yours has sold for recently:

worthy recently sold designer diamond rings

While there may not be a ring exactly like yours listed, it can be useful to get a ballpark understanding of how much designer diamond rings realistically sell for.

Best for an inexpensive diamond ring: Cash For Gold Express

If you have a ring that is likely to sell for less than $1,000, then it is likely more valuable due to the cost of the precious metals, rather than as a piece of jewelry.

Specialist precious metal buyers will offer a price dependant on the ‘spot price’ of gold or platinum and are set up to make process as easy as possible.

We have a separate article on how to sell gold, but after testing, our recommended precious metals dealer is ‘Express Gold Cash’ who offer fair prices and excellent service.

Visit Express Gold Cash

Best for a bridal ring set: Worthy.com

If you have a bridal ring set, these tend to do well on Worthy.com, with the prices achieved frequently being higher than would have been achieved with selling each of the items individually

While not every jewelry buyer wants to buy a ring set, by using Worthy you are maximising the likelihood that the buyers who do like sets will see it.

The added bonus is that you don’t need to try to sell the two separately, making the transaction much easier for you.

Visit Worthy

How to sell a diamond ring

sell engagement ring header image

When you’re selling your diamond ring, it can be tempting to go for a quick, easy sale. However, doing do can mean that you receive significantly less than you should.

If you’re in a hurry to sell and simply Google ‘diamond buyers near me’ and then choose the first on the list, it’s likely that you will receive significantly less for your diamond than you should.

In this section we’ll look at other places you could sell your diamond ring to, and what to watch out for at each.

The amount that you will receive when selling your diamond or engagement ring depends hugely on where you decide to sell it.

Finding the best place to sell a diamond ring

We conducted a test where we offered the same type of diamond to six different types of jewelry buyer to find the best place to sell a diamond ring:

– A pawnbroker
– A ‘we buy gold’ jewelry buyer
– A local jeweler
– eBay
– Worthy.com
– A specialist diamond buyer

To test which jewelry buyer was the best, we offered each of the six types of jeweler exactly the same ring, and provided exactly the same information. The ring we offered was an emerald cut diamond ring with a platinum solitaire setting:

carat emerald diamond ring for resale

The prices that we were offered for the diamond and ring ranged from $1,200 to $2,300.

The diamond had the following specifications:

  • Shape: Emerald cut
  • Carat: 1.21
  • Color: I
  • Clarity: VS2
  • Polish: Excellent
  • Symmetry: VG
  • Fluorescence: None
  • Grading report: GIA

So how much could we get for our ring at each of the different types of jewelry buyer, and where is the best place to sell it for you?

Selling a diamond ring through a pawn shop

Pawnbrokers’ business model is to offer people who need money fast lower than market value for whatever goods they have available. They are taking advantage of people’s need for.

When we asked for a price for our 1.21 carat emerald cut diamond from a NY-based pawnbroker, the price we were offered was the lowest out of any of the buyers: $$1,200 – $1,400.

Even if you feel that you need to sell your engagement ring quickly, if you can wait just a few days then there is a much better way to make sure you get real value.

Selling your diamond ring to a ‘we buy gold’ store

‘We buy gold’ shines the neon sign and yes, these businesses do indeed buy gold, as well as platinum, diamonds and many other precious metals.

They are essentially a middleman who take the items that they buy and resell them on. Like a pawnbroker, they will give you an assessment of the value straight away and will offer cash.

We contacted two NY-based ‘We buy gold’ organisations and the offers that we received back were: $1,300 and $1,500.

Sell diamond ring for cash

If you are looking to just sell a piece of gold jewelry with no center stone then they can be a good option, but they aren’t the best option for a precious gem.

Selling your diamond to a local jewelry store or antique shop

Many local jewelry stores don’t buy second hand jewelry because they would rather focus on selling new jewelry – the profit margins are better and it’s less work for them.

If you can find a local jeweler who will buy your ring, they will normally sell it to a dealer who then will sell it to a wholesaler.

Each of these people will be looking to make some profit on their sale, which means that the initial offer that the jeweler will make you is likely to be low.

We offered our ring to 10 local jewelers across the US, and two were interested. The highest price we were offered was: $1,500 – $2,000:

selling diamond local jeweller

Selling a diamond engagement ring on eBay

Ebay can be a great place to sell many things. But it’s not a good place to sell an engagement ring, especially if you have a diamond with a good certificate ie. GIA or AGS.

Searching eBay ‘completed auctions’, most rings that have a decent starting bid or ‘buy it now’ price seem to pass in unsold:

dont buy engagement ring ebay

 

In fact, not many second hand rings sell on eBay, because it is cluttered with diamond ring listings from actual stores, rather than individuals looking to sell their diamonds.

And many of these diamonds have low quality certificates which means they are listed at extremely low prices., which are difficlt to compete with, even if your diamond ring has a better certificate and is better quality.

If you would like to try listing your ring on eBay then the initial listing fees are minimal, but you will need to pay a final value fee of between 6 – 9.5% and a PayPal transaction fee of 2.6% after the auction has finished.

Selling a diamond ring through worthy.com

We’ve already discussed Worthy.com and how it can be a great option to get your ring in front of more potential buyers.

In fact, the ring that we were using in this test was actually originally sold on Worthy:

Worthy diamond ringprice

108 bidders were interested in it and it sold for $2,202, and after In this case, the commission would be $440, leaving $1,540 for the person selling the diamond or engagement ring.

This final price was nearly $700 higher than the average bid through Worthy, which shows again how getting it in front of the right person through Worthy can help increase the sale price.

This time, however, Worthy wouldn’t have resulted in the largest amount in the seller’s pocket.

Sell your diamond ring to a diamond specialist

The final person that we tested this ring with was the diamond dealers that we’ve already mentioned – Alon at the Diamond Oak.

By going direct, there is no middleman to take a commission, so the seller (you!) gets to keep the entirety of the selling price.

The process usually works like this:

You send a description of the item you are looking to sell, including details like the carat weight and quality of the diamond, whether it is accompanied by a certificate etc

  • The buyer will assess it from the information you provide and make an offer. This will likely be a range until they see the actual stone
  • If you like the offer, you agree to send the stone to the diamond buyer to assess in person
  • The seller emails you a pre-paid shipping label and instructions to ship the item
  • You send the item, covered by the seller’s insurance
  • The seller will give you a final price after inspecting the ring, which will be within the original range quoted
  • You receive an overnighted check or bank transfer

Alon quoted $2300 – $2500 for the stone on its own – significantly higher than the other options.

The reason he is able to offer more is because he knows the true value of the stone and what it will be worth in its next life when it is used in another piece of jewelry. Plus, as he isn’t acting as a middle-man, he doesn’t need to bid low in order to ensure it make business sense for him.

The best place to sell your diamond ring

When we tally up the different offers, there’s a significant range and we had a clear winner from this test.

RankNameOffer
1Diamond specialist$2,300 - $2,500
2Local jeweler$1,500 - $2,000
3Worthy.com$1,540
4'We buy gold' store$1,300 - $1,400
5Pawnbroker$1,200 - $1,400
6eBayUnsold

 

How much will you get when you sell your ring?

engagement ring budget setting

Like anything, a diamond ring is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Prices for new diamonds have been fairly steady over the past 5 years – contrary to what many people expect, diamonds are not an investment that increase in value over time.

In this section we’ll look at why the price you are offered is likely to be less than you originally paid.

Diamond resale value

Jewelry retailing is extremely competitive and some jewelers operate on very thin profit margins.

Online jeweler Ritani has recently started adding information about the amount of money they make on each and every diamond on their website.

On a 1 carat diamond that is being sold for $5,520, they make just $187.29 profit – just 3.4%:

diamond pricing

When reselling your diamond, you are selling it back to an industry that doesn’t make big mark-ups on new diamonds, let alone resold diamonds.

How where you bought your diamond ring from can affect how you feel about the price you are offered

In our recommended places to sell, we recommend Alon at the Diamond Oak for the 1.2 carat emerald cut ring, where he offered $2300 – $2500 for it.

This was, by some margin, the highest a seller would have received for it.

If this ring was being bought new from one of my recommended retailers, it would cost around $4,700:

carat emerald cut diamond retail price

If it was being bought new from a chain jeweler, it would cost considerably more.

Zales charges $7,556 for a 1.2 carat, I color, VS2 clarity diamond:

emerald cut diamond zales

 

The Zales price of $7,556 is nearly twice as much as my recommended retailer is selling a similarly specced stone.

Despite this significant difference in purchase price, the diamond will be worth the same when it comes to sell.

What this means if you paid a higher original price at a bricks and mortar or designer brand retailer, then the difference between the price you are able to realise when selling and the price you paid will be greater.

That can be difficult to come to terms with, but unfortunately it’s the reality when some retailers charge significantly more for similar merchandise

Selling a diamond vs. selling a car

This isn’t a perfect metaphor, but it’s close enough to explain why the amount you will get for your ring is significantly less than you see listed at a store.

Jessica has had a change in life circumstances and is now looking to sell her sell her 6 month old VW Golf, which originally had a standard price of $25,000, with an extra $2,000 for burgundy metallic paint that she added as it’s her favourite color.

Rather than trying to sell it privately, Jessica decides to sell to a car dealer. On the way in she spots a similar used VW Golf priced at $20,000.

$20,000 would therefore be the replacement value for her car ie. what it would cost to buy a car to replace the one she as.

However, the dealer offers Jessica $13,000 for her car.

This is less than she originally anticipated, and the fact that she paid more to have a special paint color doesn’t increase the amount it is worth to the dealer.

In fact, personalising it with burgundy paint actually makes the car less valuable to the dealer as it’s likely that fewer used car buyers are looking this color compared to a more common colors.

The dealer knows that he has to clean the car, fixes minor issues, take pictures, advertise the car, store the car, pay staff salaries and then a bonus to the salesman who sells the car. All of this takes time and money, so $14,000 is what he can offer to ensure that he can make a profit and stay in business.

$13,000 is therefore the fair market value of the car ie. what someone is actually willing to pay.

Selling diamond jewelry is similar to this.

When you resell a stone, it will then be re-used (either in a new piece of jewelry or sold on) in order for the jeweler to recoup his purchase cost.

  • The jeweler also needs to cover his costs to get the diamond ready for resale – this might include getting it reappraised, repolished or resetting it into a new ring style.
  • A personal or less common choice in your ring design may mean that while it cost more to buy originally, it will likely be worth less than a simpler design when it comes to selling.
  • Jewelry sold using ‘recycled’ diamonds is usually priced lower than jewelry with new diamonds, just like a used car
  • The jeweler needs to include a profit margin in the transaction in order to stay in business.

If you bought from a bricks and mortar then the difference between the ‘replacement value’ listed on an appraisal and the ‘resale’ value that you are offered may be significant, and more than you expect.

 

Factors that affect how much you will receive for your diamond ring

We’ve already looked at how where you choose to sell your diamond ring can make a huge difference to how much you receive for it.

But there are many factors to do with the ring itself that can also have a huge effect, some of which are surprising.

Bottom line: the most important thing in determining the price you will receive is the size and quality of the center diamond, not the ring setting.

While you may think of your ring as a single object, to a jeweler it is two separate things:

  1. The ring setting
  2. The center stone

When you are buying a ring new, the price of the setting can vary tremendously.

A simple solitaire in 14k white gold may be just a couple of hundred bucks:

simple solitaire engagement ring setting

While an ornate platinum setting with significant amounts of melee diamonds set into it can be several thousand dollars:

halo diamond engagement ring

This difference can make a big difference to how much the ring is worth now, and maybe not in the way you might expect.

Two rings may have cost the same, but may now have very different values

If a theoretical diamond ring buyer had originally had a $10,000 budget, they could have bought either of the two settings above, and used the remainder of their budget for the center diamond.

Choosing the halo setting would obviously have left a significantly smaller proportion of the budget to go towards the diamond:

halo vs solitaire engagement ring budget

But when it comes to selling the rings, the ring with the solitaire setting and the larger diamond will be worth considerably more as it is the diamond, rather than the setting that is valued by jewelry buyers.

In fact, the ring with the simple setting and larger diamond would likely be worth more than twice as much, even though the two rings originally cost the same amount to buy.

Why expensive settings aren’t valuable

When buying an engagement ring, the cost of production makes up a significant proportion of the cost. If a ring is custom designed, or if it has many small ‘melee’ diamonds set into it, it takes time, effort and money to create.

These certainly makes it more special to the wearer, but unfortunately when most jewelry purchasers place a value on a ring, they disregard the production value and base the their offer on the center diamond as they will usually remove the diamonds from the setting and melt it down to reuse in other jewelry.

This process of removing the diamonds is time-consuming and can mean that the time taken to disassemble the ring can be more valuable than the small diamonds are actually worth.

To a diamond buyer, therefore, the $10,000 ring with a setting that cost $4,840 doesn’t have the same value as a simpler solitaire setting with an inexpensive $245 setting but a much larger diamond. It doesn’t mean that the expensive setting wasn’t valuable originally, just that unfortunately it isn’t valued by jewelry buyers to the same extent now.

The exception to this are designer rings, which do have a secondary market and which can be sold as complete rings.

Diamond certification and selling your diamond

As well as the 4 Cs of your diamond, another factor that will affect how much it is worth is its diamond certificate, or as it’s more properly known: ‘grading report’:

Sample DGR x

Grading reports are different from appraisals as they are prepared by an independent lab rather than a jeweler. They also don’t assign a value to a diamond but they are a key factor in deciding how much a diamond is worth.

There are several different grading labs that assess diamonds, with some having a reputation for strictness and consistency while others are more generous with their gradings – known as ‘overgrading’.

As a result, the same diamond can be graded very differently from different labs. In a test by a diamond industry publication, one diamond was graded as G color by GIA and D by EGL Israel:

Grading Test

The GIA has graded this diamond much more strictly and it is likely that this is a more accurate grade. As a result of this strictness, the diamond trade trusts that certificates from GIA are accurate and trustworthy and is willing to pay more for a diamond with these certificates.

If your diamond has a certificate from a lab other than GIA or AGS, or if your diamond only has an appraisal and no grading report, the diamond seller may offer you less than a diamond that has been graded by one of those two organisations, as there is a chance that it has been overgraded and is actually lower in quality than the report indicates.

Our recommendations again to get the most for your diamond

If your diamond weights 1.2 carats or more, or if it has a designer name attached to it e.g. Tiffany & Co. or Van Cleef & Arpels, I recommend you contact Alon at The Diamond Oak to get the best price possible.

He is a dedicated diamond dealer who specialises in larger stones and ‘signed’ jewelry and consistently offers the highest prices.

 

For most diamonds less than 1.2 carats, if your ring has many smaller stones set into it or if you have a wedding ring set then Worthy, with their extended network of diamond buyers, is the best option.

Worthy is a marketplace which connects people with jewelry to sell with a network of jewelry buyers. It’s a great way to get your ring in front of as many people as possible who will then bid against each other which can increase the sale price.