Welcome to the first installment of “Ask Professor Facet” where our resident diamond expert answers all your diamond related questions, and gives you a little life advice too.
Professor Francesca Facet received her doctoral degree in diamondology from the prestigious School of Hard Rocks.
Q: Dear Professor,
I’m confused. I had my wedding ring appraised through an insurance agent last year. The insurance company’s appraisal valued my ring at $15,000. My husband and I recently decided that the we wanted to upgrade my ring, so we elected to sell the original to help with the purchase of the new one. When we took it to a few different jewelers in our area, the highest offer we got was $7,000. Why this huge discrepancy?
-One Perplexed Lady
A: Perplexed, you are not alone. When an insurance company has a valuable appraised, from diamonds to Van Goghs, they typically inflate the amount, as they are trying to ensure that a) if it is stolen/damaged, it will be covered for the full amount and b) they can charge higher premiums. So unfortunately the appraisal figure that an insurance company uses is almost always inaccurate in terms of actual value. The most reputable place to have any diamond evaluated is at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in New York City. A GIA evaluation is regarded as the number one in the industry (keep in mind, though, that an evaluation is not an estimate – meaning an amount that the diamond could fetch on the open market – the evaluation simply tells you the diamond’s specifications.) The final thing to consider here is where you are trying to resell your diamond. A jeweler, just like a pawn shop, will try to give you the lowest price possible for your diamonds, as they have to resell them themselves in order to make a profit. The best place to resell your diamond is through an after market diamond brokerage firm, where they will fight to get you the highest amount for your diamonds. Here’s my favorite: www.diamondlighthouse.com 😉
Q: Hi Prof.,
My fiancée is driving me crazy. She wants a really big, really expensive ring – but I’m on a limited budget! What should I do?
Future Perpetually Annoyed Husband
A: Well, Annoyed, I appreciate your predicament. Luckily there are a few tricks you can use to get around this – meaning you can present a nice big ring that looks super expensive but actually costs less than it would appear. The secret is to keep the carat weight up, and the grade of color and clarity down. Most people can’t tell the difference between a pricy “E” color diamond and an affordable “I,” or an “IF” clarity bank breaker and a “VS2” deal of a diamond – and the price difference between these grades can be very significant indeed. Bottom line, as long as the stone is over 1 carat, it’s going to be impressive. Also, just as important in my humble opinion, is that you nail the right type of mounting (aka: the “setting” or “band”). If you pick the perfect style for her in this department, she will inevitably love the ring as a whole. The ring bang color and shape can also mask certain small flaws.
*Bonus tip: if you pick a thinner band, the diamond looks bigger as well. Kinda like when a short guy wears vertical stripes 😉
Q: Greetings Professor Facet,
My Nanna passed away and left me her engagement ring. I loved her more than anyone else in my family and appreciate this ring more than anything. But there are two problems. Problem one is that I am swimming in debt; I have student loans, a mortgage and credit card debt to deal with. The second problem – and I am so ashamed to admit this – is that I really don’t like the way the ring looks. I’m horrible, I know! I feel so guilty – but need guidance. What should I do??
Ungrateful & Ashamed Granddaughter
A: Ashamed, please don’t be so hard on yourself. You sound like you were the best granddaughter anyone could ask for; I’m sure your grandmother really appreciated everything about you. I’m also sure that if she knew you were in such financial straights she would love to help you out. To address the first issue, you could sell the diamond portion of the ring (which is always the most valuable part by far) and replace it with a less expensive stone. There are literally dozens of amazing options (check out some right here). If you sell the diamond, you’ll have money to use for your life and still essentially get to keep the ring in your family (check out Diamond Lighthouse to see how you can get the MOST money for your diamond!) Now for the second dilemma of yours: if you really don’t like the style of the band, and know you never will use it, then have it melted down and turned into something you will love to wear everyday. Here are some great options how to repurpose your ring. This way you’ll have that cherished part of your family history with you at all times. Win-win!
Q: To the Professor,
I bought a diamond engagement ring last year. It cost me $5,500. Let’s just say things didn’t work out and I don’t need it anymore. I tried to sell it back to the store and they wouldn’t accept it (it’s still new, in the same box!) and when I took it to pawn shops they said they would give me $1,800. And this was the BEST price I found. What happened? Has the diamond really depreciated that much?
A: First off, Frustrated, you need not fret – all is not lost in terms of your diamond’s resale value. Aside from general fluctuations in the market, the diamond itself will not depreciate (it’s been around for hundreds of thousands or millions of years – it can withstand a decade or two) – unless you scratch it with other diamonds or run it over with a steamroller. As I’m sure you now know, as soon as you leave the store with a new piece of diamond jewelry, it loses about half the retail price. That’s just how it is. So when reselling it you need to keep that in mind – but you do not want to lose 75% of the retail price; you want the best price possible! As I explained to our Perplexed friend before, the key factor in getting the most money back for your diamond is to sell it at the right place. That place is Diamond Lighthouse. We bring your diamond to expert diamond dealers, who are actually in the market to purchase diamonds (and certain styles and shapes may appeal to specific dealers and buyers more than others, so you actually have more resale possibilities than just at one pawn shop or jeweler). We only take a percentage commission from your sale (10% for diamonds over 1 carat), so we obviously want to get you the highest price for your diamond, so we all can make the most money possible!
Have a diamond related question for Professor Facet? Post a comment and we will address it in the next issue!
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