Diamond Rings and The Pawn Industry

We sincerely hope it never gets to the stage where you have the need to sell your diamond ring, but life comes at you very fast sometimes, and you may have good reason for finding a buyer. Today, of course, there are many outlets for buying and selling any kind of item, including diamond rings. From local dealers to eBay to pawn shops, you’ll be surprised at the level of willingness to take your precious ring off your hands.

The reason, of course, is profit.

An increasingly popular way to sell jewelry locally is to pawn the ring using a licensed pawnshop. Pawning is a centuries old tradition which offers cash for almost any item based on – but lower than – its sale value. Instead of surrendering the item entirely, the pawn is actually a loan secured against the item. The loan term is usually 30 days and, providing you pay back the loan plus any fees due, you can reclaim the item. After the term is up, the pawnbroker has the right to sell the item. Some pawnshops offer a further 30 day grace period in which you can still claim the item if it hasn’t yet been sold.

Although some states do regulate interest rates that pawnshops apply, they are still generally excessive. Not only that, but the price they offer for your diamond ring will be a fraction of its true worth. The fact is that pawnshops know their customer base, and know that when they walk into the store, it’s usually a last resort. Because of this, they feel no compulsion to act in anybody’s interests than their own. Again, this isn’t an act of dishonesty in any way shape or form, it’s simply that pawnshops operate in a very loaded buyer’s market.

When it comes to diamond rings, a pawnshop will base their offer on two things, the weight of the metal and the quality of the stone(s) contained in the setting. The shop will assume that the ring will eventually be sold to a wholesaler who will dismantle it and sell the diamond on to be set into a new design. The metal will be melted and recycled in a similar way. In reality, the melt value of the metal is fairly insignificant, and it is the wholesale price of the diamond which will determine the valuation placed on the ring by the pawnshop, and not the resale price of the complete ring.

It is this assumption that the ring will never be sold as a ring, but as separate components, which drives down the offer price. In case you’re thinking that you might still get a reasonable price, even though you accept taking a “hit” on the value, we should probably clear something up for you.

A mid-range, 1 carat diamond of VS2, I color quality will currently sell for between $5-6000 assuming the cut is of good quality. If we now tell you that a pawnshop might offer you $1000 for it, but it’s more likely to be somewhere around $4-600, you’d be forgiven for wondering why anybody ever uses a pawnshop to sell a diamond ring. Well, it may surprise you to know, however, that 80% of items pawned in the US are reclaimed, and therefore it can be argued that pawnshops have a valid place in American society and actually provide a useful service. Your circumstances will determine whether you see them as givers of help when in need, or as vultures circling and ready to pounce.

But don’t despair, as the modern day offers us far more opportunities to buy and sell at prices that are much more acceptable to us as consumers.

There’s probably nobody on earth who doesn’t know that you can shop online for just about anything you’ll ever need. Most will also realize that you can sell just about anything as well. The obvious marketplace for personal buying and selling is eBay, but there are other methods of selling your ring such as Amazon or even online classified ad sites (for example craigslist).

Not only do you get to set the price, but you also get to set how payment is taken and how the item is shipped. All courier companies offer a signed-for service and insurance against loss, so the element of certainty by way of walking into a store is largely overcome, or at least can be mitigated.

It’s true that selling online lacks the immediacy of dealing with a person over a store counter-top, but most online transactions can be completed in a matter of days with PayPal and other payment methods. PayPal also provide sellers protection in most cases, providing you follow their rules in qualifying for eligibility. PayPal do change these from time to time, so we recommend checking them out for yourself.

Incidentally, although PayPal is owned by eBay, they operate independently and you do not need to sell via eBay to use PayPal as a payment method. Having said that, eBay is often a good place to start when selling any item. A quick search will tell you the approximate value of your item in the online marketplace, even to the point of showing you what similar items have sold for recently. However, great care is needed, as many diamonds for sale on eBay are advertised as “enhanced” or “nscd”, both of which mean artificial. Search well, though, and you will see that a 1 carat ring of good quality sells for between $1800-2000, significantly more than a pawnbroker will offer.

Online buying and selling does bring its own risks but, with the right approach and due diligence, anything you sell will fetch a price that may not be exactly where you want it to be, but will probably be palatable enough to let you go through with the sale.

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