I get plenty of people who write in to me asking about buying Second-Hand Diamonds.
Second Hand Diamonds are Diamonds that have been Pre-Worn, Previously Owned, and are being sold by someone other than the original Jewelry Store. Places like Pawn Shops, Antique Dealers, or even Individual People like Friends, Family, or listings found on eBay, Craig’s List, as well as the local Newspapers.
When you don’t buy it directly from the Source, it’s Second-Hand, and the real question becomes:
Is this a Smart thing to do?
To answer that, let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons to Second-Hand Diamonds and Rings…
- You can save a lot of money, usually at least half, by buying a Pre-Owned, or Used Diamond
- You can find beautiful rings that are very Unique, Antique, or even Discontinued or Unavailable anywhere else
- You can help a Friend out by taking the ring off their hands. Plus Friends and Family will often give you an even better deal!
- You don’t have to buy it from a Jeweler that you don’t trust, or you feel is over-priced!
The Money Savings is the biggest reason why anyone would buy Second-Hand. After all, you could get that Diamond for a portion of what a normal Jewelry Store would charge you… as seen here:
But, it also leaves many more questions like “How do you know you’re actually Saving Money?“, and “What’s the Real Value of the Ring?”
Which leads us to the Cons… (and there are a lot of them)
- No Financing! People selling Second Hand Stones want Cash, Check or Credit Card. Financing is usually NEVER an option!
- It’s Used! That in itself is enough to make many Women unhappy. Because with that ring comes Worn Prongs, Scratched Metal, Thinned Out Shanks… Not to mention all that Bad Karma that comes from someone else’s bad marriage. Many people are superstitious and don’t want the extra baggage. They want to start fresh and new. Plus, many used rings are already Sized, Soldered, and may even have an old Engraving inside the band “John + Mary Forever!”
- No Paperwork! Many people selling old Wedding Rings won’t have the paperwork that came with it. Who knows why, but people tend to lose these goodies. So the chances are, you won’t get an original Receipt, the Warranties, the Policies, Guarantees, Trade-in Info, Service Plans…. You get nothing that the original owner got.
And even if you did, understand this: Warranties and Policies are NOT transferable! They only pertain to the very first owner of that ring. So that’s all null and void anyway!
Plus, even if it does come with an Appraisal, those are generally out-dated (done in 1966), and they don’t reflect the current value of the ring (which could be more or less). And most people, probably about 60% of them, won’t even have the original Certificate that came with the Diamond (if any). So if you want to have it Certified, that will cost you an additional $100-$300 (read: The Cost to Certify a Diamond).
Oh, and you get no box either! ha!
- What’s the Real Quality? People NEVER remember what the Quality of their Diamond was. They’ll say “It’s top of the line”, “It’s the Best there is”, “My Diamond is Flawless“… But the truth of the matter is, they don’t know for sure. They could be telling you anything. They’re just making stuff up. It may have been 10-20 years since they bought the ring, and they can’t even remember what they ate last night. Carat Weight, Clarity, Color and Cut may all be a distant and vague memory "I think it was Good Quality!".
And not only would they not know the important stuff about the Diamond (or Diamonds), they’ll just be guessing at what it would actually sell for today.
Do you trust them? Should you?
Are you going to take their word for what the Diamond is worth? “It’s worth well over $8,000, but I’ll sell it to you now for $6,000 CASH!”
I’d be real leery about that!
- What’s the Condition? This is ultra important… Because unless you use a Microscope and view the Diamond close up under 10x magnification, you’ll have no idea what the real condition of the stone is. Diamonds can Chip, Crack or even Fracture over time (if hit hard enough at just the right angle), and if you don’t magnify the stone, you’ll never know if it’s Damaged or not. The Certificate (if it came with any) may say that the Diamond is VVS1, E (which is Outstanding Quality), but if the Diamond was Chipped on a Filing Cabinet a year ago, the Quality and Value of that stone would change drastically! It could take it down to I2 Clarity (bottom of the bucket) which could knock thousands off the true value, and a Certificate that’s not up-dated would never reflect this Chip or the current Clarity. It’s a pretty scary thing…
You also won’t know if the stone has been Re-Cut, Switched, Laser-Drilled, Color Enhanced, or even Genuine! The person could be a con-artist and selling you a bogus fake stone. “But hey” he says with a smile, “the paperwork looks good!” ;) Would you know?
- It could be Stolen or HOT! Criminals know that it’s difficult to get rid of stolen goods. Often the only way to do so, without getting caught (since Police track Pawn Shops and places that Buy Diamonds from Customers), would be to sell the stone outright to individuals who don’t know any better. You won’t realize if you’re getting scammed or if the deal is truly legit…
It’s a frightening thought indeed!
So here’s my Advice:
If you decide to buy a Diamond or Ring Second Hand, Play it Smart!
Take the Ring or Diamond into a Jewelry Store or Appraiser, and have them check it out before you hand over the cash. Are the Prongs worn down? Are the Channel Walls Frail and Breaking? Is the Mounting Cracked or does it have Pits? Have a NEW Appraisal done on the item. See if it’s a Real Diamond, see what the 4C’s are, see what the Retail Value would be, and what a Fair Buying Price is. Only then will you know if you’re getting a Good Buy, or getting Ripped Off!!!
And if they won’t allow YOU to take it and get it checked out, see if THEY can go and get an up-to-date Appraisal on the Diamond just to be safe. Otherwise, NO DEAL!
You may be able to trust your Friends and Family (as far as you can throw them), but trusting a complete stranger is a whole different story.
They may know little or nothing at all about the Quality and the Value of that Diamond.
No matter what, Proceed with Caution!
You really can find awesome Diamond Rings and Wonderful Deals, which could save you tons of money… But when it comes down to it…
You could also be losing money!
Check it out first. Shop and Compare! Is it worth it not having those Finance Options, Guarantees, Diamond Warranties, or Service Plans???
Only you can decide.
The Bottom Line:
Play it Safe, Play it Smart.
That way, you won’t ever be Second-Guessing your Purchase! :)