How to sell Harry Winston Jewelry
Make sure you get the best price when you resell your Harry Winston Jewelry
From hard-working beginnings, to becoming a jeweller to the stars, Harry Winston certainly earned his nickname “The King of Diamonds.” A pioneer in red carpet jewelry, the house of Harry Winston has become the go-to source for Hollywood legends, as well as iconic personalities.
But tastes and circumstances change, and we don’t need to hold on to our Harry Winston jewelry forever.
If you are looking to sell Harry Winston jewelry and want to make sure that you get the fairest price for your piece, this blog will show you how.
The bottom line when selling your Harry Winston jewelry:
The key to getting the best price when you are reselling your Harry Winston jewelry is to work with someone who knows the true value of the jewelry and eliminate as many layers as possible between you and the buyer.
Auction houses, online marketplaces, etc act as middlemen and take a cut, reducing the amount they will pay you.
A brief history of Harry Winston jewelry
To understand why Harry Winston is so prized, it’s important to understand the history and the heritage of the brand.
A younger jewelry company compared to many more established brands, founder Harry Winston grew and shaped his now-famed jewelry house into one of the most respected in the world. After opening up shop in 1932, Winston began his simultaneous career as a collector of impressive gemstones in 1935. His first important purchase was a diamond called, the Jonker, weighing 726 carats, uncut.
The 726ct uncut Jonker Diamond, which Harry Winston cut into 12 individual stones
Before this though, Winston was already well-established as a buyer with an eye for sourcing brilliant diamonds. In the 1920s, he discovered an alternative source than the traditional diamond supply chain: estate jewelry auctions. His eye for quality meant Winston could source exceptional stones, remove them from their outdated settings and re-cut them into more contemporary styles that enhanced their natural beauty and brilliance.
Famous gems from the Harry Winston Collection
Harry Winston also established himself as a trader of the most significant diamonds in the world. In fact, it’s estimated that over the course of his illustrious career Harry Winston owned more than one-third of the world’s most famous diamonds. Of those, perhaps the most famous is the Hope Diamond, Winston procured in one of the most significant estate jewellery sales in history. The magnificent blue diamond had belonged to famed American socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean.
The famous Hope Diamond
Every standout jeweler has their own innovative gem setting technique, and Harry Winston was no different. His unprecedented diamond cluster technique allowed the diamonds to dictate the setting, rather than the other way around:
Harry Winston started another jewelry trend in 1944 when he became the first jeweler to lend diamonds to a celebrity for a red carpet appearance. Actress Jennifer Jones dazzled in diamonds when she stepped up to accept her Best Actress award at the Academy Awards:
Then, of course, there’s the famous name-drop in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, when Marilyn Monroe mentions Harry Winston by name in the iconic song, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.
Today, the Harry Winston brand continues to remain synonymous with elegance, glamour, and quality. Acknowledging their iconic legacy, Harry Winston crafts pieces to ensure that jewelry lovers of all kinds are able to experience a taste of the brand, from high jewelry pieces such as the Art Deco Diamond Bracelet below, to the more attainable ones such as the Lily Cluster earrings, that still bear that impeccable Harry Winston craftsmanship.
Harry Winston Art Deco Diamond Bracelet
Harry Winston Central Park Ring
Harry Winston Lily Cluster Diamond Earrings
What type of Harry Winston jewelry can be sold?
Over its history, Harry Winston has produced a variety of types and styles of jewelry, and if you’re looking to sell your Harry Winston jewelry, then that’s good news for you. No matter what piece you may own, you will be able to find an interested buyer, somewhere.
One thing to know though, is that the price you receive for your Harry Winston jewelry when selling is that can be dependant on a couple of factors:
All jewelry bears a history; no matter how it is cared for, if it’s worn at all, it will necessarily pick up some nicks and scratches.
Some commonly used terms to describe pre-owned jewelry are as follows:
- mint condition
- excellent condition
- good condition
- fair condition
- poor condition
When selling to a jewelry professional, it is likely that they will be intending to sell the piece on after improving its condition. That said, the better the condition of the piece, the less work will be required of the buyer; therefore, pieces in better condition should command a higher price.
Provenance can be defined as the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature.
There are multiple reasons why it is important to be able to demonstrate the provenance of your Harry Winston jewelry:
- It proves ownership over the piece, and that it is therefore legally yours to sell.
- It proves that the piece is genuine.
Possessing items such as your receipt, the box, jewelry bag, and other appropriate accoutrements that were included with your Harry Winston jewelry purchase will raise your buyer’s confidence in the provenance of the piece:
Your options when selling your Harry Winston jewelry
Once you’ve made the decision to sell, it’s understandable that you would want to get the best price possible for your Harry Winston jewelry.
But it can be hard to know where to start.
In this section, we’ll look at the different options for where you can sell, and a few things to take into consideration when deciding which is the best fit for you.
When selling your Harry Winston jewelry, there are a few things to consider:
- What you are selling
- What is more important for you – price or speed of sale
- How much you value certainty
Understanding what your Harry Winston jewelry is worth
One of the first things to understand is how much your jewelry is likely to be worth when selling it.
You may have a jewelry appraisal stored away with a value attached to it, which you have used for insurance purposes. While there are a few types of appraisals, it’s likely that yours will list the price that it would cost to replace the item with a new, or equivalent, piece.
Unfortunately, the value on your appraisal isn’t the same as the amount that someone would actually be willing to buy the jewelry from you for. The reason being, that anyone who would buy it from you now, would then be looking to sell it as ‘used’ for lower than the price of a ‘new’ replacement item and still make a profit.
The amount that someone is actually willing to pay for an item is known as the ‘fair market value’.
Determining the fair market value of something can be tricky, and many people look online to try and understand how much their Harry Winston jewelry might now be going for.
One of the most famous sites for high quality vintage jewelry is 1stDibs.com, which specializes in selling from professional jewelry dealers to the public.
Many jewelry lovers enjoy browsing the wares on 1stDibs and it’s not uncommon to assume that if you see a comparable piece of jewelry being sold on there, then you may be able to receive a similar price for your own piece.
Unfortunately, however, the prices on 1stDibs are not a good guide on how much you are likely to get when you sell your jewelry, as the prices advertised are the prices that a jewelry dealer is selling them for, including making a profit once 1stDibs’ fees and all their other costs have been taken out.
However, it can be useful to get a ballpark figure of how much a jeweller may be willing to pay for your item.
For example, these 4 Carat Pear Shape Diamond Earrings may be listed for $10,500:
However, as with buying many vintage pieces, prices aren’t fixed and dealers are usually open to negotiation.
Underneath the ‘Purchase’ button, you can see there is a ‘make an offer’ button, which says that sellers are most likely to accept offers of 5% – 20% below the $10,500 asking price:
A 5% to 20% offer below the listed price is a $525 to $2,100 reduction on the original $10,500 price.
This reduces the amount that the jeweller is likely to receive for the earrings to between $8,400 and $9,975
Then 1stDibs’ commission fee needs to be taken into account. This is a 15% commission fee plus a 3% processing cost, which would reduce the price that the seller actually receives to between $6,888 – $8,179.
Most jewellers will look to buy jewelry for around half of what they are sure they can sell it for, so in order for this to make sense for the dealer, it’s likely that they would aim to buy earrings like this for around half of the $6,888-$8,179 figures.
This would mean that a jeweller is likely to pay around $3,444 – $4,089 for these particular earrings.
If you have an extremely high end or one-off piece, consider an auction house.
Harry Winston has produced a wide range of jewelry over the company’s meteoric rise, from high jewelry pieces containing one-of-a-kind gems, to more attainable rings and necklaces which can be purchased in their boutiques worldwide.
If you are selling an extremely rare or high-end piece, then it may make sense to use an auction house, as they can result in a higher price achieved due to the competitive nature of several bidders pushing the price up.
Two of the most well-known auction houses for jewelry are Sotheby’s and Christies:
When considering whether a traditional auction house is the right choice for you, it’s important to understand that the final ‘hammer price’ you see for past sales is not the amount that the sellers actually received.
- Sotheby’s commission for the seller is typically 10% of the final sale price
- Christies commission for a seller is also 10% of the final sale price, with an additional 2% ‘performance commission fee’ if it goes over the agreed ‘high estimate
These high-end auction houses also charge the sellers an additional 10-15% of the final sales price, which can mean that they are less willing to bid high amounts.
The other thing to consider with auction houses is the length of time that these organisations will take to sell your item.
As the snippet from an email below shows, it can take around a month for them to assess the value of an item, and you would then have to wait for a suitable auction to be held, which could be an additional one or two months.
The other potential wait could be if you list your item and it doesn’t reach your desired price, in which case it will be passed in and returned to you. This uncertainty can put off some buyers who are more comfortable with a fixed price.
For the reasons listed above, if you are keen to sell your item reasonably quickly, high end auction houses are unlikely to be able to help.
But, if you are willing to wait, you have an item that fits their high requirements and you are happy with the commission % that the auction houses charge then they could be the best solution to get a great price if your item is subject to a bidding war that drives the price up.
Selling Harry Winston jewelery using online auction sites
There are two types of online auction websites that deal with high quality jewellery:
- Auction sites that sell to consumers e.g. 1stDibs.com
- Auction sites that buy from consumers e.g. worthy.com
Harry Winston and Worthy.com
Worthy.com is a marketplace which works the opposite way to 1st Dibs.
Instead of connecting professional jewelry traders to customers, it connects ordinary people who are looking to sell jewelry with a network of nearly 1,000 jewelry traders who can bid on their items.
Worthy is much faster than selling through a traditional auction and it does put you in contact with a range of jewelry buyers who could bid the price of your item up, if they like it.
The cost to access these buyers is Worthy’s ‘success fee’ commission, which is only payable on the completion of the auction.
These fees are:
- Up to $5,000 = 18%
- 5,001 – 15,000 = 14%
- 15,001 – 30,000 = 12%
- 30,000 and above = 10%
Worthy can be a good option for less desirable items that you want to put out to as many people as possible and hope that it catches someone’s eye.
However, if you have a great piece of jewelry then there are better options to ensure you get the best price possible.
Harry Winston and IdonowIdon’t.com
I do now I don’t operates on a similar business model to Worthy.com, but has a slew of bad reviews on Trustpilot with reports of them not paying sellers for the goods that have been sold.
As a result I would not recommend that you use their service.
Selling Harry Winston direct to a jewelry dealer
The best way to get the most money for your Harry Winston jewelry is to eliminate as many layers between you and the person buying it as possible.
In essence, to talk directly to the type of people who are buying through worthy.com, but without having to pay Worthy the commission and reduce the amount you make.
Our recommendation is The Diamond Oak.
The Diamond Oak is a family run business with multiple generations in the jewelry industry, based out of the Diamond District in New York.
Best of all, working with Alon you will get a fair price extremely quickly, instead of having to wait for an auction to run its course and then pay the fees out of the sales price. Alon’s process is:
- Complete a form on The Diamond Oak’s website
- Alon will get back to you with an estimate, usually the next business day
- If you like the estimate, Alon will provide a pre-paid and insured shipping label
- Once he’s received it, Alon will check that all looks OK, and then pay straight away.
Alon of The Diamond Oak
If you have Harry Winston jewelry that you are looking to sell, Alon at The Diamond Oak will guide you through the process and ensure that you receive the very best price possible – just click through and fill out the form and he’ll get straight back to you with an offer for you to consider.
Even if you don’t end up working with him, you will receive a guide price back extremely quickly, which can then help you understand whether you are getting a better deal through other avenues.