How to get the best deal for your diamonds

Buying and selling diamonds has become a big part of Pawn Expo and other pawn industry trade shows. Below are some tips from both a buyer’s and a seller’s point of view on how to get the best deal for your diamonds.

Buyer’s Point of View
By Eric Mor, Abe Mor Diamond Cutters & Co, New York, NY

As a large diamond buyer, we are often asked the question, “What strategy should I have to get the most money when selling my diamonds?”

We recommend four steps every pawnbroker can use to maximize their return on selling their diamonds:

1. Be informed.
The more you know, the more you get. Take all measurements possible. Learn how to estimate color grade accurately, including mounted goods. Describe carefully all significant imperfections, including location, and if there is black. The more detail you can convey, the better you will be paid. If you are less specific, the buyer has to bid safer (lower).

2. Keep ‘em honest.
Get multiple quotes. Even if you know the company to whom you want to sell, get at least a few quotes before agreeing on a final number with anyone. The more competitive you make the transaction, the higher you will be paid.

3. Sell to a company that is strong in its distribution outlets for your item.
A refinery is a great place to sell gold, but may not be ideal for large, valuable diamonds. Certain companies specialize in commercial grade “frozen spit” goods. Others sell signed pieces and can pay a slight to substantial premium for them. Most in the trade know Abe Mor for buying larger, white diamonds of all different shapes, but lesser known areas of strength for the company include antique cut diamonds, natural fancy colored diamonds, and rounds of lower colors (K-Z). Make sure you know various buyers’ sales strengths.

4. Build a relationship.
Doing repeat business promotes a higher level of transparency between the two companies, more favorable selling conditions, and privileges like accepting diamonds the buyer would normally not offer on, paying higher on a casual mistake you may have made, or offering generous trade-in terms. We do everything we can to accommodate our repeat customers, and building a relationship of trust is ultimately the best route to consistently high payouts.

Seller’s Point of View
By David Schoeneman, Shane’s – The Pawn Shop, Chicago Heights, IL

We all want to get the most money for our diamonds, but how seems to be the key. Following are some tips that I have found to be the most efficient after 20-plus years of selling melee.

For small diamonds (0.03 ct. and smaller), have your gold refiner use a “chemical melt” to dissolve the gold. This will reduce the problem of breaking small diamonds while removing them from settings as broken diamonds are almost worthless.

If you remove some of the diamonds yourself, send them for an acid bath. They should come back to you cleaned and free of dirt. Ask to have them “frosted” as this will give many, but not all, non-diamonds a frosted, cloudy appearance.

Using your loupe and tweezers, remove the diamonds and separate them into the following categories:

  1. Frosted stones
  2. Non-frosted, but obviously not diamonds
  3. .10+ carat chipped, broken diamonds
  4. Brown diamonds
  5. Grey diamonds
  6. Round to fancy shapes

If you have a sufficient quantity, you will want to invest in a small sieve with sieve plates which can be purchased from many of the major vendors.

To maximize your return, separate the round white diamonds into three subcategories by size. Anything larger should probably be looked at individually.

  • Under .10 carat
  • .10 to .20 carat
  • .21 to .30 carat

Next, create an Excel spread sheet recording the weights and percentage of each category. On the copy you make for yourself, include the non-diamonds. Make another half dozen copies (leaving out the cubic zirconia information) and take these to the trade show. List the weights of each quality of diamonds on each one.

Then sit down with each dealer and show him/her the various parcels in a numbered sequence. Afterward, off the trading floor, compare who offered how much on each parcel.

Don’t forget to hang on to a few matching stones so you can make up pairs of earrings. You’ll always get more for a few diamonds retailed over the counter than you will wholesaling them.