“Yes, I have been buying from the public for 4 years now and have a total of 13 years in retail jewelry. I genuinely love buying from the public. Jewelry is such a personal item and it’s usually accompanied by a great story. I’m not just buying metal and gemstones, it’s a memory.
“Yes, I have been buying from the public for 4 years now and have a total of 13 years in retail jewelry. I genuinely love buying from the public. Jewelry is such a personal item and it’s usually accompanied by a great story. I’m not just buying metal and gemstones, it’s a memory. Our interests are aligned with our clients’ so we work on their behalf in a transparent manner to yield them the most for their items. I use the below process to buy pre-owned jewelry and fine watches from the public:
Be Kind: Selling jewelry is an emotional endeavor; most people are new to the process. Be kind and understanding. This jewelry item may be the only ‘valuable’ thing a relative left them for inheritance and it holds sentimental value, not just monetary value.
Explain Liquid Value vs Retail Appraisal Values: ‘Retail Appraisals’ are for insurance purposes and a ‘Liquid Value’ is the amount an industry expert can offer for immediate payment. Like other luxury items, the time, labor and retail markup is mostly lost once pre-owned. Starting from the basics before discussing an offer helps to avoid miscommunication with the client in regards to their expectation of the item’s value.
Transparency: Show successfully sold online comps for similar items (RapNet diamond comps, eBay sold listings, etc.) and explain why our offer has to be below those amounts. This includes our overhead costs to get the item resold which can include having diamonds re-cut, GIA reports issued, refinishing, repair, photographs, etc. and we of course have to make a profit to stay in business.
Reality of the Market: Professionally explain the reality of the market and how market demand ultimately dictates the items liquid value. For example, a vintage pearl brooch is not going to sell as quickly as a 1 carat round diamond solitaire.
Offer Options: Immediate cash sale and consignment are the most common. We will even offer a hybrid of those two options where you pay a portion of the consignment amount up-front and the remainder once the item sells.”
Sicily Von Blakey, Managing Director, Head Buyer
Kansas City, Missouri
“Yes, we do buy from the public. Instead of doing it in our showroom, we direct clients to our manufacturing and repair shop in the adjoining suite, where we have a reception area and a sit down area. The two suites have their own glass door entries, but have a clear window between them so you can see both ways, and are connected in the back, behind the public access areas, by a two way mirrored glass door. We typically evaluate the piece, weigh it if applicable, inspect it under the microscope, etc. When it comes to testing, we use a Kee tester, stone and acid(s), a Smart Pro Screener, and 30 years of experience. My wife Janelle, who runs the shop and typically interacts with all of our wholesale trade accounts, is also a Registered Gemologist and has the equipment to test colored stones.”
John Thomas Mead, Owner
John Thomas Jewelers
Albuquerque, New Mexico
“Normally, it’s either my son or I that do any of the over the counter buying. If they are shady, sometimes we just say that we can’t help them. If people come in without a specific price in mind, sometimes we make them an offer and sometimes we will ask them what they are looking for, money wise. In some cases, people are looking for a partial trade towards something they want to buy from us. We will not buy from anyone without an ID. They must have an ID, or we have to know them very well before we will buy. And on our side, we always pay for everything we buy over the counter with a check, never cash!”
Coy Mott, Owner
“We scrap precious metal for our customers and take a small percentage. We’re all about putting the new found dollars that our customers realize from the scrap back into getting a new piece. For example if there were stones in the gold item that was scrapped, we explain to them that they don’t want to waste the beautiful stones. We encourage them to create something new and fresh that fits their lifestyle and they will actually wear. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. As for older jewelry, such a vintage, estate or antique, we have a consignment program for those types of items. We give our customers a price and if they agree to it, we add a reasonable amount on top of that price, and then sell from our ‘estate’ jewelry area. Very often they just take the money from the sale. This process works well in our store for obvious reasons. It keeps them coming back into the store, and gives us multiple opportunities to turn any over the counter buys back into sales.”
Beverly Gopin, Co-Owner
Metal and Stone Jewelers
Nyack, New York