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Is It Time to Sell Your Jewelry?

Styles, fashion, finances, incomes, expenses, priorities all have undergone great changes over the past 10 years for nearly all of us. While life is still good here compared to most of the rest of the world, it may be now that jewelry sitting in a hiding place, a safe or a bank vault needs to come out into the market and to be sold. Every buyer tells you they are the biggest and the best, but consumers really do not have much of a clue about selling their jewelry properly. Help is here if you want to do the necessary job as well as you can.

When you want to sell jewelry you have owned or inherited most of you will hardly know where or how to start. You probably do not know the liquidation value of your items even if you have current Insurance appraisals. Most folks don’t even understand that insurance appraisals are not good indicators of what a consumer can sell their jewelry for. So many consumers falsely believe that whatever the item was appraised for insurance coverage that a dealer would be willing to pay such a retail price. Folks, it just isn’t so. When you want to sell jewelry and be paid upon delivery, a dealer will pay a fraction of the retail value even for fantastic and fine items. Items that are obsolete, damaged or out of fashion generally bring scrap value with very little for small diamonds and nearly zero for most common colored gems. You can’t sell a home for cash on any given day and get the full market value from a buyer. You can’t do it with jewelry, either.

Consignment of jewelry to a retail store is not the way to get paid with any speed or security. Do you know the jeweler well enough to leave the items with nothing but a receipt? How long will it take? Will the items ever sell? How and when might you be paid? Consignment to a well-known auction gallery is safer, but hardly the way to getting more money than in an outright, fair sale. Examine closely the long time it takes, along with all the associated costs charged to you and to whoever is the buyer. You’ll find the auction house takes a large share of the value as their commission. That’s money you will never see. Yes, the world’s finest and largest jewels sell at fabulous auctions, but jewelry belonging to members of the general public rarely rise to those world class levels of interest.

While I no longer actively buy jewelry, I have had 48 years of experience with buying and estate jewelry. I know how to help people understand how much they might obtain, how much to ask, how to hear what a buyer is saying, how to understand what the buyer is not saying, and to understand a question about your idea of value versus an authentic cash offer for purchase.

My long time associate, Steven Schiffman, owns a one-time subsidiary firm of mine named D. Atlas Estates, LLC. He is not an appraiser, but is a highly experienced and current buyer of estate jewelry. For many years we travelled together to buy estate jewelry. We still often work in consort with one another, but we are independent. Steven will make valid, competitive and fair offers for your jewelry, as many other dealers also claim to do. Not all dealers are the same. Not all try to be fair. Finding a legitimate buyer is a very important part of selling jewelry properly. Consumers must be prepared to use due diligence and patience in searching for what they will find to be the best price they can obtain. There is no shortcut to getting a best outcome. A consignment of jewelry to Mr. Schiffman is usually for only a two to five days, not for an unknown period of time.  His goal and yours is to maximize what you will be able to get from agreeing to finalize a sale.  Steven Schiffman may be reached at 610-245-3100. www.datlasestates.com

My services at D. Atlas & Co., Inc. are for those of you who would like to better understand the value of what they have and how to handle dealer transactions in a professional way. Sometimes our services include creation of a sales tool appraisal and advice about retail selling that might help achieve a larger share of the value trapped in your items. While I charge a fee for my time, buyers generally do not charge, but offer what they often term a “free appraisal”. Free often is worth exactly that amount, so regardless of the terminology, please understand there is likely a large difference between any buyer’s “free appraisal” and the appraisal and common sense advice D. Atlas & Co., Inc. is able and willing provide.  Advisory services provided by David Atlas are available at 610-245-3101. Right here at: www.datlas.com

Our coordinated phone numbers indicate how closely our two firms still operate. Both of us strive keep our objectivity and provide the best services we can to all sellers.

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The mostly false stigma of UV fluorescence in diamonds.

The common approach to the question of how UV fluorescence affects diamond pricing is that medium or greater tends to create a somewhat discounted asking price from the more common non-fluorescent and less than medium fluorescent diamonds. As a generalization, this is an acceptable statement, but does not begin to tell the full story.           

Right away, we need to separate blue UV fluorescent and some yellow fluorescent from the far more unusual fluorescent colors of white, peach, orange, greenish and red. 

Blue fluorescence may cause diamonds with some tint of yellow color to appear more colorless. This is a potentially positive effect on asking price.  So long as a diamond does not take on a cloudy or oily appearance due to UV fluorescence, it has little if any effect on what a consumer will choose, but dealers are far more inclined to haggle over the details, even when the details in question are not of much importance to an end user.  The GIA allows some amount of UV light into their grading of diamond body color which does change the grading that GIA does from what might happen if no UV light was put into the mix.  In the colorless, D-F range, blue fluorescence can’t produce any desired effect.  If the fluorescence is not strong enough to be eye-visible in normal wear, then the effect on value is negligible, but if cloudiness or oiliness is visible in normal lighting, then there will be a reason for discounting the asking price.   

Yellow UV fluorescence is usually associated with a negative effect on asking price, but it can help the color of a light to strong fancy yellow color diamond to be even more yellow and visible. This is rare, but it is a possibility we should not fail to mention.  Truthfully, UV fluorescence of any color which matches, or coordinates in a beauty creating manner, the body color of a diamond may serve to enhance the visual color appearance of the diamond.  When this rare but beneficial event occurs, the asking price might be increased.  Most UV fluorescence just gives dealers an opportunity to argue over a detail of the value of a particular diamond.  It is the free market at work, but it may mean very little to most consumers either in their cost or the appearance of the stone.  One thing for sure, UV fluorescence is something that can make the choice of a diamond just a bit more difficult. 

In the second hand market diamond dealers will try to offer less for any diamond with any discernible problem or potential issue. UV fluorescence easily fits into this arena since it can be readily shown to the seller and you don’t need to trust the buyer that it is present.  That’s how haggling over the buying price is done all over the world, but it is far less common in the USA.  Quibbling over the details is how most of the world operates.  Fluorescence is just one of many minor and more major small details which diamond dealers suffer over.  Other issues are black inclusions, open inclusions, blemishes on the surface, ships, nicks, naturals, symmetry, polish, culet size, girdle thickness, old lab reports, HTHP, laser drilling and several more.  The consumer just can’t begin to get into these tiny details in a fully informed way.  Sufficient to say is that UV fluorescence of medium or more usually creates an opportunity for the buyer to make a somewhat reduced offer.  You may have gotten the right price already, but how can you tell if you don’t ask? 

This is the reality of the stigma surrounding diamond’s UV fluorescence. Sometimes any reduction in cost when the diamond enters the market is passed along right to the eventual end user.  Many times, this is not the case and the potential discount is taken in by the dealers and retailer as added profit.  May consumers find a medium to highly fluorescent diamond very attractive.  Dealers may like them a lot, as well, but since they are the kind of folks trained to haggle, that’s what they do.  Even when it is not meaningful, haggling is part of the life blood of the diamond trade. 

Rapaport and other price guide publishers report minor ranges of premiums and discounts in value for differing degrees and colors of UV fluorescence depending on the color and clarity of particular diamonds. The range is from a few percentage points plus to a few percentage points minus.  The reality is that a very few diamonds might gain a bit in value for fluorescence when it improves the way they look, but many have no change or a reduced asking price because of such an effect.  We hear of dealers who will not even buy a UV fluorescent diamond simply because it creates a problem in re-selling.  We see other dealers who buy diamonds of all types and appear to have little problem with most UV fluorescent diamonds.   If you choose to buy a diamond with medium to strong UV fluorescence and ever wish to sell it back into the trade, you should be prepared to have a more difficult time in finding a buyer than if the stone had little to no fluorescence.  That’s why it is important to know this before you buy, not years from now.  You buy what you like, but you should understand the facts when you choose.  My wife has a good sized diamond which does not fluoresce but the 3/4ct side diamonds are strongly blue UV fluorescent.  Both of us like the effect sunlight has on them as they turn bluish in bright daylight. 

The discount on initial bids for diamonds with strong UV fluorescence can be more than 25% less than for a diamond with no fluorescence.  Rapaport does not publish this high a discount in his monthly news magazine.  What we get are very nominal indicators of discounts from 0% to about 8% for the most part.  I would speculate Rapaport chooses to make these discounts as “minimum discount offer prices” just as the main “highest asking prices” on his Rap Sheet do not reflect the best prices, but the highest range.  It is all very logical, but might escape the consumer who is not so well aware of how the Rap pricing guide is a coded sheet for which outsiders have no key to full understand.  Even highly experienced estate dealers do not have the complete key to the pricing in the diamond market.  The key is earned knowledge by working daily in the diamond business.  There is no other way to be kept current.  The best we can do is to generalize and to keep the consumer aware of the issues.  The diamond business may seem somewhat simple on the surface, but underneath the glitter there is a complex free market trading and moving 24/7 all over the world. 

Consumers may find a UV fluorescent diamond is the one they most prefer. Often there is no visual basis for any discount and on occasion the right color of fluorescence and a particularly well matching body color may create a meaningful premium value.  The free market will always act to create the minimum of buying costs when a consumer wishes to sell back to the trade.  In the several steps a diamond takes to get back to the next consumer that discount may be mitigated.  The final asking price may be adjusted for the particular issues of the diamond, or may be priced based simply on shape, cut quality, weight, color and clarity.  We can’t know until each stone comes back to the end user exactly how it will be priced  The consumer is best left to understand that UV fluorescence and pricing differences make sense, but don’t always occur in apparent and simplistic ways in the final retail asking price.  In the end, you must select what pleases you the best.  Knowing the facts can give you a lot more comfort in your decision process.

 

David Atlas, GG, Certified Senior Member, NAJA

 

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The “right” way to do a trade-in.

It is simple, but you need to follow these steps to know what sort of deal you are making.

#1.  Shop and discover what you want, what you can afford, and where you feel most comfortable in buying.  See what their return policy is.  Find out about any warranty or trade-back policies.

#2.  Find out the amount you can get outright, for immediate payment, on the item you wish to trade-in.  This is the item you no longer wish to own.  Shop around until you are satisfied that you understand the situation no matter how little the offers may be.  Now that part is done.

#3.  Determine the final item you wish to purchase.  Do your research to discover the best asking price for the item and make every effort to have a vendor who you feel most comfortable with actually do the deal with you.  Even if it costs a few bucks more, relationships and emotions have value that can’t be exactly measured.  Be sure you are at the price which totally makes it work for you.  Price is important, but not the only consideration.

#3.  From out of nowhere, pull out your trade-in and ask what the item is worth in order to make the deal.  You already know exactly what you can sell it for outright, and you also know exactly what you must pay.  If your vendor wants to over allow a bit in order to tempt you into the sale, now is the time for you to get the benefit of trading in by making the vendor give you a “liberal” trade-in. A liberal trade-in will result it you getting the new item for less.  They may or may not wish to trade, but you know exactly where you stand and when to say yes or no.  If the trade-in benefits the bottom line cost, then go forward, if not, you can decide to sell to your other bidder or not to make the trade.

One must be aware that if any mention of a trade-in is made in advance of the final asking price on a new item, there may be no way to get to the exact asking price.  If you don’t have the asking price settled, then any trade-in allowance is a mystery that you cannot later figure out and you will have more or less ruined the potential extra value of the trade-in.

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Who is David Atlas?

D. Atlas - Expert Gemologist

David Atlas’ resume

David S. Atlas, a noted jewelry and gem expert, celebrated 50 years of experience in 2017.  He has combined his real world and industry experience with education from his father, GIA, ISA, ASA, AGS and NAJA for over 5 decades to offer the best in jewelry consultation services, appraisals, and advice in the areas of diamonds, colored gems, precious metals, and jewelry.

David began his jewelry career in 1967 with his family firm, which was founded in 1898. He can assist you in making smart decisions when insuring, buying, selling, divorcing, and inheriting precious jewelry and gems. Minimizing insurance costs and taxes, while maximizing any potential benefits is the right course of action.

David S. Atlas offers technical, forensic services when needed, such as when there is a question of origin of damage, or differences of opinion which creates worry and concern. He is a consumer advocate offering experienced advice, service and discretion.

David is an Associate Director of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. This is the largest jewelry only appraisal organization both in the USA and the world. He has also been the Chairman of Ethical Issues for this Association for over 20 years.  David created and graded all advancement Certification tests for NAJA until 2019.  As of 2020 all NAJA Education and testing has been converted to online learning.

You can see to the right side of this page that Mr. Atlas has undergone a full background check to increase public trust in his services and encourages all appraisers to do likewise.