View Full Version : How best to sell a gem?

January 19th, 2008, 4:25am
Hi all... hope this is the right place for this!

I've won a loose gem (i.e., it's not set into jewelry), and can't afford to pay the taxes on it if we were to keep it, so gotta sell.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to sell it and not get only a small fraction of what it's worth? I know pawnshops and such will happily buy it, but they don't seem to give anything close to the value. I'm assuming that going to jeweler's shops would be the way to go, but again, hoping for the benefit of any knowledge anyone has about getting a reasonable price for it, especially without paying money I don't have for an appraisal. There's a price tag on the box, but I don't know if it'd be a better idea to leave that on or take it off.

I'm also a teensy bit concerned about if there'd be any questions about if it's stolen since I don't have a bill of sale or any official documents at all.

Any thoughts would be very welcome -- thanks in advance!

January 19th, 2008, 4:41am
Do you still have the winning email or any congrats letter that came with the win? These would help with any questions that may arise in a sale.
Frankly I don't think your going to get close to the ARV listed on the tag, you really should try and scrape together the funds for a appraisal (if its projected worth is fairly high)

January 19th, 2008, 4:44am
I won a hand made designer belt,layered in gold with gems on the buckle... ARV of $1,500, I had plenty of paperwork and couldn't find anybody willing to even look at it.

I like the belt as only a few celebrities have one and it's a signature piece but now I only enter sweeps for jewelery that I would be happy to buy if I had the money.

Do you have copies of the documentation you got announcing your win? how about copies of the affie you had to send in? Can you get ahold of the judging agency,a stone that's going to cost a lot in taxes has to have been apprasied somehere along the line and you should have a certificate of that as well as something denoting your ownership.

January 19th, 2008, 4:46am
I can't help with suggestions, but I stopped entering jewelry after reading a long thread about how little people get for selling their jewelry and gem wins.

I hope you have good luck with the sale!

January 19th, 2008, 5:47am
Maybe try Craigslist or eBay?

January 19th, 2008, 9:38am
Whether you sell it or whether you keep it, you still have to pay taxes on it.

January 19th, 2008, 9:59am
Congrats first.
Get it apprasied...it will cost you money, but you will know the grade of the (diamond?) stone if it is that much $$$$. My brother is a jeweler in OH, but I too live in DC. Why don't you just have it sent in a pendant setting, that wouldn't cost too much ign gold-or even have it set in silver. Most cut gems come in a standard meausrement size, you can even order a setting online yourself for it, once you know it's size
-good luck

WOW look at that spelling!! I got a new keyboard this morning!
Re-reading I see that you can't afford to keep it-that's ashame...amyway, an apprasisal to know what it is worth...BUT that amount of money on the apprasisaal paperwork would be for you to insure it, not resale value.

January 19th, 2008, 10:22am
Perhapse you could donate it to a chairtable cause that would be willing to raffel it off or use it on a charity auction. Then you could get a tax write off on the prize and feel warm and fuzzy at the same time.

January 19th, 2008, 10:35am
If it's Tanzanite, pm me.

I agree that eBay might be a good way to go.

January 19th, 2008, 10:40am
Jewelry stores have a markup of 300% over wholesale so I would be surprised if you could find anyone to pay you more than 50% of the appraised retail value. If you have the time you might do better to sell it to an individual but as stated earlier you definitely want to get an appraisal. Good luck!

January 19th, 2008, 10:44am
Have you had it appraised?

Usually, (I say usually), you will get about 50% of the appraisal if you were to sell it. Sorry.

January 19th, 2008, 10:52am
I know some small local jewelers will buy it from you. It's worth a try. ;)

January 19th, 2008, 11:14am
If it's not a diamond an appraisal won't help all the much. Even if it's a diamond it should come with carat/color/clarity paperwork. You don't need something that states value since it really will be set by the market. I am sure that the 1099 is inflated and that would be the only reason to get an appraisal, to refute that. If you get an appraisal be sure to tell the person that you need retail value not replacement. Most appraisers don't know anything about stones except the big 4 (Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, & Ruby). I would not expect to get more then 50% of retail value. In fact I would think it was realistic to plan on 25%. Sorry.

FYI I'm a geologist/gemmologist, I spent 15 years buying and selling diamonds/colored stones for wholesalers and manufactures in NYC. I then ran a retail jewelry store. PM me if you have more questions.

January 19th, 2008, 11:16am
Since you're in the DC area, check out Weschler's, which is an auction house near the Convention Center.

They have free appraisal days on the first Thursday of the month from 9am to 4pm. You don't need an appointment and they will give you an estimate for what you'd get for it at auction. They also do free appraisals by mail, but I don't think that'd work for a gem.

If it's a significant gem, they might put it into one of their special jewelery, coins and watches auction - the next one is in April.

I used to attend their auctions when I lived in DC and I can vouch that they're not only honest and professional, they're very helpful and just plain nice people to deal with.

They have a website at http://www.weschlers.com/ .

Keep in mind that selling it at auction will net you less than selling it privately, but you have a lot better chance of selling it at auction than you would privately.

Good luck - I hope you wind up with a nice chunk of cash after taxes.

January 19th, 2008, 11:36am
I would take it to a jeweler who is GIA Certified to get an appraisal. Many times a jeweler can refer you to where you could sell the stone. Of course you will not get near what it appraises for because of the mark up on gems/jewlery. Good luck and congrats on your win!