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Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/dealers

llamage

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2011
Messages
24
Hi,
I've been a lurker on this site for a few months. I had a question regarding diamonds on craigslist or auction sites or anyone who isn't a dealer/retailer. Assuming all diamonds still have a GIA certificate, and can be appraised by an independent appraiser...how do they differ from any diamond we buy from retailer? Diamonds are virtually non-destructible...so they wouldn't lose their physical attributes. So wouldn't they be a better deal if a private person sold it a cheaper price?

I'm not an expert in ring setting, but if I buy an actual ring, the loose diamond can be extracted and placed in another setting right?

Thanks,
 

slg47

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
9,667
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

if you are looking for a second hand diamond I would definitely make sure you can take the ring to an appraiser before committing to buy, or that the seller will allow a return period. also definitely look for GIA or AGS.

a jeweler should be able to remove the diamond from the ring and place it in a new setting.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,829
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

Diamonds are definitely NOT indistructable but inspecting for damage after the lab saw it is one of the reasons you're getting it appraised before you cement the deal (instead of relying purely on the GIA paperwork). Sales by individuals tend not to come with the opportunity to size the ring and similar sorts of maintenance and they obviously don't have a warranty or similar program associated with them but they generally are less money and you can definitely buy this sort of service ala-carte from a jeweler if you need it. Sometimes it's hard to find exactly what you're looking for, especially if you're extremely picky about your requirements. For the most part, 'used' diamonds are every bit as good as 'new' ones, and if you've got an individual seller who has what you want for sale and you're willing to put up with the logistics of a private deal, there is routinely money to be saved.
 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
21,163
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

HI:

Notwithstanding all the issues associated with verification, queries, etc; your selection via private sellers will be limited. I buy Estate pieces all the time, but ususally from established dealers so much of the legwork/authentication is already done.

cheers--Sharon
 

LGK

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
2,975
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

Yes, you can definitely find good deals secondhand. You can also get badly taken and lose money quite efficiently, too. I do, in fact, shop mostly exclusively secondhand, be it ebay or antique stores in person, or from other websites that sell antique and estate jewelry online. If I purchase sight unseen I *never ever* buy anything I cannot return, no questions asked. That's my single absolutely inviolable rule. No matter how good a deal looks, you just don't know if it's what it is supposed to be until it's in your hand.

Also, it definitely takes patience to wade through the drek. For every great deal there are zillions of things out there that aren't. Also, you can't really go out and say "I want a .90 ct G VS1 emerald cut diamond". You pretty much have to be flexible in terms of what you're willing to buy.

It's best if you have some working knowledge of diamonds- no need to become an expert, but it would help a lot if you spent some quality time in jewelry stores, especially ones with the type of stones you're going to be looking for, louping them, handling them, examining the various color grades and most especially looking at the light performance of a good example of a cut you like in various lighting scenarios. For example, if you want a nice round brilliant, go and look at some ideal cut RBs in a bunch of different lights. I think you'd find it invaluable in this type of a hunt.

You could presumably get around the learning curve issue by having a really good independant appraiser on your side, but you are then trusting someone else's word exclusively on whether somethign is what you want or not, really. Because it's super easy to get taken if you don't know what you're doing shopping for "deals" secondhand. Appraisers are not created equal- and by appraiser, I mean someone who is completely independant of a jewelry store and doesn't sell jewelry at all.

Best advice? Do not get super attached to the first thing you see. Shop around and get an idea of whether or not a "deal" really is one or not. Be willing to let something go and wait for something else to come around, don't just pounce on something because you *want* it to be perfect; something else always WILL come around! Patience is your friend when doing this.

I find it fun- it's like a treasure hunt and it's definitely a rush when you find something awesome and it's a steal- but it definitely is time consuming and you do need patience.
 

Amys Bling

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
11,025
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

slg47|1304892407|2915624 said:
if you are looking for a second hand diamond I would definitely make sure you can take the ring to an appraiser before committing to buy, or that the seller will allow a return period. also definitely look for GIA or AGS.

a jeweler should be able to remove the diamond from the ring and place it in a new setting.

totally agree- if you are able to have an inspection- appraisal done, and be allowed to return to the seller for a full refund if you are unhappy with the outcome, I dont see any downside to buying second hand through an individual.
 

llamage

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2011
Messages
24
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

Thanks for everyone for the solid advice. I think the biggest hurdle is the verification of the diamond. I can already foresee all the problematic logistics. Unlike a retailer with a return policy, a private seller doesn't usually have a "return" period in which I can verify the diamond. For instance, if someone sold a ring with a loose diamond that I want, would she let me remove the diamond from the ring and have it verified? Would he or she come with me to an appraiser? These are all things that would definitely worry me. Sometimes I guess paying more for the assurance you are not getting ripped off is worth it.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,163
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

I think they'd have to agree to meet you at your independent appraiser to have the stone examined. I don't see how you could do it otherwise.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
8,829
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

I'm in the middle of craigslist deals fairly often. The way it works in my office is that both the buyer and seller will come in together and I'll inspect the piece in the presence of both. When I'm done, I send the seller out to a waiting area down the hall with the piece and I have a conversation with the buyer about the piece. Next, the buyer goes out and talks with the seller. They make a deal or not as they wish. IF there's a deal, they come back in and I reinspect the peice to be sure nothing has changed and they do the deal in my office under the security cameras. If they dont' do a deal, they both go their separate ways. I charge the same either way and my fee is 100% to the buyer.
Other appraisers have slightly different procedures but most will offer some sort of a program that protects both buyers and sellers in a private deal. Find one in your neighborhood and ask what's available.

Incidentally, I almost never take stones out of the setting or modify/damage the peice in any way and NEVER without the specific and even written instructions from the seller.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,977
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

denverappraiser|1304909758|2915896 said:
I'm in the middle of craigslist deals fairly often. The way it works in my office is that both the buyer and seller will come in together and I'll inspect the piece in the presence of both. When I'm done, I send the seller out to a waiting area down the hall with the piece and I have a conversation with the buyer about the piece. Next, the buyer goes out and talks with the seller. They make a deal or not as they wish. IF there's a deal, they come back in and I reinspect the peice to be sure nothing has changed and they do the deal in my office under the security cameras. If they dont' do a deal, they both go their separate ways. I charge the same either way and my fee is 100% to the buyer.
Other appraisers have slightly different procedures but most will offer some sort of a program that protects both buyers and sellers in a private deal. Find one in your neighborhood and ask what's available.

Incidentally, I almost never take stones out of the setting or modify/damage the peice in any way and NEVER without the specific and even written instructions from the seller.
Why is the fee 100% to the buyer?
Certainly nothing personal but there can be perceived bias in favor of who's paying.

If I were a seller I'd rather your fee be split between both of us, 50/50.
Would you object to that?

Jewelry purchasing is based largely on trust.
Perception is everything.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,163
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

Excellent post, Neil! I agree the fee should be from the buyer. The buyer would absolutely want the appraiser acting in his best interests. And it wouldn't be right for the seller to have to pay for multiple appraisals (even half) if people decided against the stone. It's just like buying a house; the buyer pays for the home inspection.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
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Messages
8,829
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

kenny|1304910419|2915899 said:
denverappraiser|1304909758|2915896 said:
I'm in the middle of craigslist deals fairly often. The way it works in my office is that both the buyer and seller will come in together and I'll inspect the piece in the presence of both. When I'm done, I send the seller out to a waiting area down the hall with the piece and I have a conversation with the buyer about the piece. Next, the buyer goes out and talks with the seller. They make a deal or not as they wish. IF there's a deal, they come back in and I reinspect the peice to be sure nothing has changed and they do the deal in my office under the security cameras. If they dont' do a deal, they both go their separate ways. I charge the same either way and my fee is 100% to the buyer.
Other appraisers have slightly different procedures but most will offer some sort of a program that protects both buyers and sellers in a private deal. Find one in your neighborhood and ask what's available.

Incidentally, I almost never take stones out of the setting or modify/damage the peice in any way and NEVER without the specific and even written instructions from the seller.
Why is the fee 100% to the buyer?
Certainly nothing personal but there can be perceived bias in favor of who's paying.

If I were a seller I'd rather your fee be split between both of us, 50/50.
Would you object to that?

Jewelry purchasing is based largely on trust.
Perception is everything.
The buyer is my client (usually). The seller has their own experts and has already decided in advance what they think it is, what they think it's worth, etc. The one who is lacking expert advice is the buyer. I agree, it's important for everyone involved to understand who is whose client and I think it's entirely fair for people to assume a certain level of bias is present. The problem isn't in the grading or authentication, although there are often disputes over that, it's in the discussion of what it's 'worth'. Any statement of value contains an element of what it's worth to whom, when and under what circumstances. Estimating retail replacement is generally pretty easy but it's not really the question at hand for either party. Estimating what the seller could get from alternative buyers gets into a discussion of who those potential buyers are, how the marketing is going to happen and what the prospects appear to be. Similarly, estimating the buyers other alternatives and the likelyhood of success in finding what they want through other channels is an important consideration for them to evaluate the deal. These are decidedly NOT gemological questions.

It's sort of like receiving legal advice from opposing council in a court proceeding. Lawyers are forbidden to lie to you, and most attorneys take their oath seriously, but somehow it doesn't seem to work out in your favor anyway. My solution to this is to only serve one client at a time, and make sure that both parties are aware of who that is. At least 90% of the time it's the buyer. As I said, other appraisers do it differently and have different philosophies. I do 50/50 deals with legal type proceedings (like divorce or bankrupcy) where I'm working for the court or mediator rather than either of the parties but obviously this is a different sort of job than the new purchase sort of assignment we're discussing.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,829
Re: Buying "used" diamond from individuals vs retailers/deal

Kenny,

Incidentally, the process is roughly the same if the seller is a jeweler or a dealer. They don't usually show up, although they are certainly welcome if it's ok with the client and they want to take the time, but my client is the BUYER, not the seller, and not some collaboration between the two. Beyond things like shipping logistics and unrelated chit chat, I don't talk to the sellers at all unless the client has specifically requested it. If a dealer wants to monitor the inspection process for security reasons they can certainly do so (with permission of the client), but I will not discuss my findings or show them any part of my report.
 
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