Generally, a professional gemologist jewelry buyer will pay more for jewelry because they understand the real value and can be more confident in offering a higher amount. But, there are a few situations where a gemologist buyer will actually pay less.
Expertise Can be a Double Edged Sword
First, a gemologist may pay less because they understand the true value of the item. We see lots of jewelry with poor quality gems. Other buyers may not identify the gems as low quality and pay more than the market value for them.
One example of this happened a few years ago. A local jeweler who also buys from the general public had a large diamond (about 3 carats) come in his door. He was very excited to buy the gem and came to us that same day to get an appraisal. I had actually evaluated the same diamond early that day and offered half as much. I asked the jeweler if he noticed the color and cut of the diamond, and he said: “Yes, it is an excellent cut and fine color like an H.” In reality, the diamond was a P color which is very low. To give you an idea of how low, the standard diamond pricing guides stop at M color. To make matters worse, the cut was extremely deep as well, on the order of 68% depth. Again, for perspective, excellent cuts are around 60% to 62.5% depth.
He paid considerably more than you can buy the stone for wholesale which is great for the client who sold it. Unfortunately, after I pointed out the true color and cut of the stone, the jeweler said: “Oh well, I will just tell my customers what I think it is and make double my money.” He is still in business and telling his customers all kinds of misinformation. He is not a professional gemologist but a charismatic salesman willing to say anything to make the sale.
Getting the most money for your jewelry is the goal.
Simply put there are jewelry buyers in the market place that do not fully understand what makes jewelry valuable and sometimes they bid more than the jewelry is worth. Sometimes they buy moissanite for the same price as diamond because moissanite can trick most diamond testers. Sometimes they buy jewelry that isn’t gold at gold prices because it is (wrongly) stamped 14k. In these cases, knowledge makes the professional gemologist jewelry buyer offer less for an item. But, in most cases, our ability to recognize the true value of a piece allows us to offer more money for it.
When a Deal Doesn’t Feel Right
The second situation where we as professional jewelry buyers will offer less is because we feel uncomfortable about the deal. The biggest drawback of buying jewelry from the general public is that bad guys and thieves try to sell us stolen jewelry. If we feel that a person is not the rightful owner of the propriety they are offering, we will not buy it. Sometimes we say we are not in the market for these items or we offer a very low price to avoid making the deal.
Sometimes we get it wrong. We received a bad review once because a client was acting strange and did not have knowledge about the jewelry he brought in. His grandmother may have left it to him, but we felt unsure about the situation. So, we made a low bid it and sent him to another jewelry buyer. In hindsight, I think we were wrong about him. The most important thing to us is to not buy stolen jewelry, and so we can make mistakes and pass on jewelry that we could have purchased.
The Human Element
This leads to the third situation where a professional gemologist may offer less. We are people, and people make mistakes. We make mistakes. One of the most common mistakes is caused by dirt. If we don’t see the dirt and it reflects into the diamond appearing as an inclusion, we can give the diamond a lower grade than it deserves. Sometimes a simple math mistake can lead to a lower offer. Keep in mind; all of these mistakes go both ways. I can make a math error and pay too much or not see a chip on the diamond and pay too much. My hope is that in the rare situation that I offer less than was expected, the owner of the jewelry can remember I am only human and am trying to offer the most that I can.
Of course, non-gemologist jewelry buyers are also humans and susceptible to the same kinds of mistakes. As gemologists, we have training and tools like electronic gold testers, colorimeters, RI testers, and more to help minimize the chance of mistakes, but they can still happen.
Getting the most money for your jewelry is the goal. The vast majority of the time, a professional gemologist jewelry buyer will pay the most. But, we have seen that there are a few exceptions. We want anyone who comes into our store to get the best deal possible. Most of the time it is with us, but when it isn’t, we will do our best to help you find where it is.