Navigating the Seas of Online Diamond Buying Platforms
In today’s online world you will find many options when selling a diamond ring. When you hop on your browser and enter terms like “best place to sell a diamond ring,” “where to sell my diamond ring,” or “sell a diamond ring near me”. There are literally thousands of results. Most people don’t search past page 2 or 3, or they just click on the first banner ad they see that looks legitimate.
As professionals in the diamond industry for over a quarter century (wow, that makes me feel old) and being in the online diamond business space for over 10 years, it’s not difficult to sift through websites and pick up on clues that might reveal whether a company is a reputable player or not. But what about the average person with no diamond or jewelry experience?
How will you know the best place to sell a diamond ring when everyone is saying they are the most experienced; they have the best service; they pay the highest prices. It’s like trying to sail the Pacific Ocean with no navigational instruments. The equivalent to landing on the rocks and swimming for dear life is losing thousands of dollars because “they had a really nice website,” or you didn’t realize they deduct 30% from the final sale amount.
Shedding Some Light on Selling Diamonds Online
Today we will be shedding light on some pros and cons of online diamond selling to help you decide once and for all the best place to sell a diamond ring online.
We will be looking at several different diamond selling platforms and provide you with valuable information that will help you make some sense of it all.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you won’t need to spend countless hours reading through dozens of FAQ and Terms and Conditions pages. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
Real Reviews From Customers
We had a 14 carat diamond and were nervous of mailing it out of state. We were reassured from the beginning of the easy process, but we decided to fly out to California to meet the read more people at Diamond Estate. From the very beginning we were met with professionalism and treated very well. After given a reasonable quote, we decided to get a GIA certificate for the diamond just to be sure what it was. Jackie drove us all over the place to different jewelers to look at it as well as the GIA lab. She spent a whole day making us feel at ease. Jackie took us around fully knowing that we could go with other people’s offers and still chauffeured us to each place. In the end we found exactly what we are looking for with the Help of Carl and Jackie. Great experience for 2 girls from Colorado. I would recommend them to anyone.
Wonderful service! Paula made the selling process so easy for me from beginning to end. I live out-of-state, and she walked me through, step-by-step, exactly what to do to work with read more Diamond Estate to sell my diamonds. The process was effortless on my part! The owner gave me an excellent price. Paula was very professional and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend working with Diamond Estate.
I needed to sell a 2 carat diamond and based on the excellent reviews, I decided to contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers. I sent an email with the GIA report details and within 30 read more minutes I had a response from Paula with an estimated offer. After deciding to move forward, Paula emailed me shipping instructions and a prepaid FedEx label. I shipped my diamond and everything went incredibly smoothly. Paula, the buying consultant with whom I worked, was incredibly responsive and knowledgeable. I am absolutely thrilled with my experience and would recommend Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers to anyone looking to work with true professionals.
I had a wonderful experience selling them my diamond ring. Paula was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I would definitely do business with them again.
It was a pleasure working with owner Carl Blackburn. He bought a diamond from me and the process went as smooth as I could have ever imagined. I contacted his company via the website, read more sending him the diamond's specifics. He quickly returned with an offer. He then sent a FedEx Overnight label via email. The diamond was in his office the very next day and he immediately contacted me saying he needed a few hours to evaluate my diamond. Then he called me. We talked about the qualities of my diamond. Carl was very honest and kind. I agreed with his evaluation and he wired me the money. It was in my bank the very next day! I highly recommend.
3 Different Online Diamond Buying Platforms
There are three main diamond buying platforms that vary greatly in both user experience, time to payment, and final payment received. They are:
- Auction – sells to the highest bidder
- Consignment – leave it with them to sell for you
- Direct – outright purchase with immediate payment
Selling a Diamond to an Online Auction
An online jewelry auction is a selling platform that sells to members of the diamond and jewelry industry, rather than the general public. With a strong online marketing presence, you have probably seen their ads if you’ve been searching online to sell your diamond.
How it Works
Information is provided via a questionnaire and sent in for a quote. If you accept their estimate, you can ship your diamond ring via FedEx, insured and fully paid by the company.
Once received, they will have your diamond graded by a gem lab and provide you with an “Estimated Value Range” (we’ll call it EVR for short). If you accept the EVR price, your diamond will go to auction and will sell only if the higher-end price of the EVR is reached. If the price is not reached, you will be contacted by the auction and asked if you will accept whatever the highest bid was.
You can also set a Reserve price, and in that case, your diamond will only sell if it reaches the Reserve price. Again, if it doesn’t, you will have the option to sell it for the lower price.
Not Your Usual Auction Platform
Jewelry auction websites have a unique niche in that they work like a traditional auction where there is hope from the seller that several buyers will get excited over a diamond and bid up the price higher than the standard market value.
However, because the buyers that make offers on auction websites are strictly professional diamond buyers and not the public, offers will be measured. It’s rare that a professional diamond buyer will overpay for a diamond if they are to resell it and make a profit.
Additionally, online auctions differ from a typical auction house in that the turnaround time is usually two weeks or less, while typical auction houses can take several months from the day you ship until the day your item is sold and paid. These factors make auction websites a unique business model.
Auction as Middleman
Jewelry auction websites operate, essentially, as a middleman in an auction format that sells to professional diamond buyers and charges a fee for the transaction. Here are the feese listed by one of the most popular online jewelry auctions:
Fees for Sellers:
22% for items under $5,000
15% for items $5,001 to $50,000
10% for items $50,001 to $250,000
In addition, they charge the buyer a fee:
10% for items $5,000 and under and
7.5% for items between $5,001 and $50,000.
5% for items between $50,001 and $250,000.
2.5 % for items $250,001 and above.
Professional diamond buyers are in the business of making money, so the buyer’s fee will most certainly be discounted by the diamond buyer when they make their offer. They know their business and aren’t in the habit of making mistakes. Their financial success depends on it.
Are all those added fees worth it?
Firstly, jewelry auction websites provide a valuable service for those selling diamonds under one carat, because most direct online diamond buyers (professional diamond buyers who also buy from the public online) are looking for larger diamonds and won’t pursue small diamonds with the same enthusiasm as larger diamonds.
They will certify your diamond with a legitimate lab, offer your diamond up for sale with a network of buyers and probably get you a market or near-market price, once it’s all said and done.
The largest of these auction companies also has a robust infrastructure of technology and human capital to process all those small diamonds efficiently and the volume of diamonds being shipped in every day to reach a viable economy of scale.
If you’re selling a .50, .75, .89 carat centered diamond ring (for example), yes, we believe a jewelry auction website is a contender for the best place to sell a diamond.
However, if you’re selling a diamond over one carat or especially an important diamond in the 2-3 carat range and larger, then an online direct diamond buyer can often pay you more, and online auctions may not be the best place to sell a diamond.
Generally speaking, in the diamond business, the larger a diamond gets the smaller the profit percentage gets. It’s not unusual to see dealers flipping diamonds for 5% on the bigger stuff. To charge 15% to 22% as a broker fee on a large diamond (to a dealer) is a large bite of the bottom line.
For larger diamonds, especially higher quality stones, the demand is just too strong to add an unnecessary layer of fees, when you can sell a diamond like that directly to a professional diamond buyer and keep that 15 or 22% in your pocket.
It’s also important to note that professional diamond buyers that buy diamonds from online auctions do not get to see the diamonds in person. They must rely solely on certificates and photos to make their bidding decision. It is reasonable to think they will be more cautious when they don’t have the stone physically in front of them.
While certificates and pictures are acceptable for smaller diamonds, a larger diamond really needs a buyer’s eyes on it for them to really step up to the highest price possible.
Selling a Diamond to an Online Consignment Shop
Consignment stores have been around for many decades. New companies have taken that business model online, which is creating a lot of buzz at the moment. Most likely you’ve come across their websites, if you’ve searched for online consignment companies that sell diamond jewelry. But are they the best place to sell a diamond ring?
How it Works
The way a consignment website works is you create an account, and they send you a prepaid and insured shipping label. Once they receive the item, you will communicate virtually with an in-house gemologist to establish a selling price.
Once that price is established, they take photos of your diamond ring and note details of your diamond’s specifications. Cut, clarity, color, and carat weight — as well as a description of your ring — are noted. They then post your diamond ring on their online catalog for sale with all relevant details.
Unlike an online auction, consignment websites market their items for sale to the general public, not exclusively to professional diamond buyers. However, the prices they list their items for are only a fraction of their established retail appraisal price. The commission rate for today’s most popular online consignment shop comes in at a hefty 30% for jewelry items priced at $1,000 or more.
Say, for example, you wanted to sell a 1.04 carat Tiffany brand diamond ring (estimated retail $14,300). What is important to understand is that you would not be getting 70% of the retail price of your Tiffany diamond ring, but 70% of the price that the website lists it for (and only if the item sells within the allotted amount of time).
That popular online consignment shop currently has a 1.04 carat Tiffany diamond listed for $7,295 on their website. Therefore, the takeaway from that sale, with the seller’s commission, would be $5,106.50, or approximately 35.7% of retail. However, the company reserves the right to discount your item for as much as 20% at their discretion, without any notice to you. If they chose to exercise their right to do so, then that ring with a retail appraisal value of $14,300 would now get down to $4,084.20 or about 28.5% of the appraised retail value.
Receiving a final price between 28.5% to 35.7% of the retail appraisal price is in line with what a professional diamond buyer would most likely offer. The difference is the sale would be guaranteed in real time and usually paid within 48 hours with an online direct diamond buyer.
Consigned to an online auction, the sale could take up to a year, if it sells at all.
If your diamond ring does not sell within a year’s time, the company will send it back to you at their expense, which seems fair enough.
Are all those added fees worth it?
The lure of selling your diamond on consignment is the potential for a higher selling price. There is no guarantee it will sell, but if it does you are hoping to receive substantially more than if you opt for an immediate cash payoff.
However, as we have shown, after the consignment fees are subtracted, it is unlikely you will receive any more money than if you sold your diamond ring outright to an online direct diamond buyer.
That being said, there are always exceptions. If you go this route, it’s important you establish a price you are comfortable with before shipping your diamond ring out and take into account the possible 20% discount.
Another thing you can do to find out if an online consignment shop is the best place to sell a diamond is to check their discounted items. If your diamond ring is similar to others that have been discounted, it could mean your ring may not perform well either and end up on the discount list.
Selling a Diamond Ring to a Direct Diamond Buyer
Is a direct diamond buyer the best place to sell a diamond ring? Let’s find out.
Since there are so many direct online diamond buyers, we didn’t focus on any particular one but on the category as a whole.
Selling a diamond online direct provides the simplest process. You contact the diamond buyer by telephone or contact form with the information you have on hand, and they send you a quote based on the information you’ve provided.
No fees means you will receive an immediate cash offer, and should you choose to accept, not one penny will be deducted from that offer at any point in time.The accuracy of the initial estimate will vary depending on how detailed your specifications are. For example, if you have a GIA certificate for the center diamond, and a purchase receipt or appraisal with the diamond and gold weight, as well as a decent photo, your initial estimate will be very close to the final purchase price. In contrast, a blurry photo with no certificate or details and only a general idea of the diamond weight will not get you an accurate initial estimate.
After providing your details and receiving an initial estimate, the direct online diamond buyer will email you a shipping label that you can print out and use to ship your diamond to them for a final evaluation and offer. The industry standard for direct online diamond buyers is the Company will pay for all shipping and insurance when you ship to them, as well as return shipping if you decide not to accept their final offer.
With Direct Online Diamond Buyers there are no added fees. This is perhaps the single most impactful aspect of selling a diamond online. No fees means you will receive an immediate-payment offer, and should you choose to accept, not one penny will be deducted from that offer at any point in time.
Generally speaking, direct online diamond buyers have the simplest, most hassle-free process with no fees deducted from the final offer and take the least amount of time from initial contact to final payment. When searching for the best place to sell a diamond ring, a direct online diamond buyer is a strong contender to consider.
You’ve been presented with three options now it’s time to make a decision! It’s important to remember you can always test the waters first! You can send your diamond information to a couple of different companies to see what kind of quotes you get before deciding on the best place to sell a diamond ring.
Once you start communicating with online diamond buyers you can get a feel for who is the most helpful. A company with good customer service should walk you through the process and educate you on the specifics of your diamond ring and give you helpful, transparent advice based on your particular situation.
You want to take into account the fees you are charged by online auctions and consignment companies and calculate whether the increase in sales price merits paying those fees.
Here’s a really helpful article on Diamond Price Calulators to help you find out what your diamond is worth before you begin sending out information for quotes.
I highly suggest watching the following video (or reading the article) so you can deal with online diamond buyers like a pro. Good luck!
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