When you allow me to work as your agent/broker, we become partners and I serve as your agent and act as your advocate. The more I sell your jewelry for, the more we each get. My commission is a fixed percentage of the proceeds, agreed to ahead of time, and does not vary regardless of the sale price. Essentially, by brokering, I share profits with you that I would otherwise keep for myself, because I am not risking my own capital.
How long does it take?
For most all items, I can sell your jewelry and pay you in three days or less by finding a buyer in the jewelry (or allied) trade, such as an estate or diamond dealer, or a precious metal refiner. If you have more time, and your jewelry is of sufficient quality, style and condition, I can hold it for long-term consignment (six to twelve months) to find a private buyer. This second method is very unpredictable, but it results in more money than a quick sale to a trade buyer. And, again, some items are more suitable for the second-hand retail market than others, and some not at all.
How do you determine what my jewelry will sell for?
If your piece is contemporary, has no special provenance, and can be sold as is, I start with an estimate of its materials and labor costs to a retail jeweler. This approach leads to a hypothetical wholesale market price. Trade buyers may pay around half that amount, but the range varies widely, perhaps from 20-80% of wholesale, according to the particular item and how close the buyer is to the ultimate consumer. In some cases, an item's quality, style and condition may be poor enough that the amount an item will bring is reduced to intrinsic metal value (plus some consideration for lower-quality diamonds, and less for colored gemstones). The truth is that we are still in an era of relatively high precious metal prices. Nowadays, most mediocre jewelry is scrapped.
If your jewelry is more desirable by virtue of fine quality, style and condition, I look into asking prices or, even better, actual sales of items similar to yours. If your jewelry is still being produced as a new item, I will call the manufacturer to find out wholesale or retail cost. In the best case, your jewelry may be truly special because of brand (Rolex, for example, or Hearts on Fire); prestige seller (Tiffany & Co. is one such); age (any of the historical periods: Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco are the best known); designer and/or manufacturer (e.g., Jean Schlumberger, David Webb, Oscar Heyman). In these cases, the auction market (e.g., Sotheby's, Christie's, and many others) may be most important in determining its correct selling price, but I may also investigate private galleries specializing in collectible jewelry or some of the many estate jewelry re-sale businesses that have proliferated online today. For a more ordinary used but saleable item, some percentage of its original price may initially indicate a likely re-sale price, and "Buy It Now" prices on eBay often suffice to confirm the state of the current market for it.
What is your commission?
Please see my my fee schedules here. One is for quick sale to the trade (immediate liquidation), and the other is for long-term consignment to find an ultimate consumer to buy your item. During consultation, I will recommend your item's minimum selling price and specify my commission, so you know exactly the minimum sum you would net.
What is consultation? Do you mean you charge to look at my jewelry?
Consultation is a an examination and an oral (not in writing) discussion of your jewelry. It is objective advice. Above all, I want you to sell your jewelry in the way that's best for you. That means getting as much money as you can in the shortest possible time. In consultation, I speak as a prospective broker, but also as an objective advisor. If there's a better option for you than my brokerage, I would rather guide you to it, charging only the consultation fee of $75 per half hour. If you wish to market your item directly to private buyers (i.e., ultimate consumers), I will provide you with accurate descriptive language to use and a professional-quality photograph of your item. If you want an on-the-spot professional buyer, I may recommend several local ones. More and more online services of various kinds are springing up, and you may wish to consider one of them.
In the process of helping you decide what to do, I may clean your jewelry, advise you of its condition, identify gemstones and metals, weigh mountings, measure and grade stones and generally evaluate its quality and sheer eye appeal. Depending on the kind of market you decide to enter, we discuss likely selling prices. In short, together we brainstorm the options and you decide.
Should I sell my item directly to a private buyer?
If you have time and the quality of your jewelry allows it, finding a private buyer is to your advantage. The problem, of course, is finding that one particular buyer who says "yes" to your piece. In consultation, I discuss how you might go about locating a private buyer using personal networking. It is not easy, but, at least in theory, this is the way to get the most money out of your jewelry. Many people do not choose to do it because of security concerns or lack of time. But if only to know what the highest selling price for your item might be, it may be worth considering.
Why can’t I get more money for my jewelry?
Some people are disappointed when I tell them about the re-sale potential of their jewelry. “Isn’t jewelry supposed to be an investment?” “But gold prices are so high!” “I must have paid too much. What are retail mark-ups?” Sometimes the problem is with the jewelry itself, but a full understanding also has to do with the two realities we all live with: time and place. When and where was your item bought? Was it from a business or a person? How long have you had it? How long do you have to sell it? Keep in mind, if you compare jewelry to almost anything else that people can own — even fine clothing and furniture, and most cars and art — it will seem relatively attractive as a store of wealth. What is your jewelry really worth and what selling strategy is best for you? Working with you to find the answer is my calling.