Smart Strategies for Buying and Selling Broken Jewelry
This Post Was Updated In November of 2022
If you’ve decided to sell rather than repair your broken jewelry, you’re no doubt wondering where to find buyers that will offer you a fair price. While you’ll need to manage your expectations when selling jewelry that isn’t immediately wearable, you should know that there is still value in even broken jewelry. As you begin navigating the waters of online selling platforms or selling your items for their scrap materials, you may find the available information from different sources to be contradictory and even downright overwhelming. To help take the guesswork out of the process, we’ve provided this guide to walk you through your options and help you arrive at the best choice. Not sure if you want to repair or sell your jewelry? Our ultimate guide to jewelry repair has answers to all your questions about repairing and modifying jewelry. If you missed it, you can read it here: Must-Read Guide to Jewelry Repair
Why You Might Consider Selling Broken Jewelry
If you are considering selling your broken jewelry, you no doubt have a good reason. Whether the piece is irreparably damaged and you’re seeking to sell it for scrap or your broken piece holds no sentimental value, and you’d prefer to sell it and apply the proceeds to something new, you’ll have plenty of options to explore.
Start With an Appraisal
Before you begin exploring avenues to sell your broken jewelry, you should have it appraised. A professional appraisal will provide you with a better sense of the piece’s intrinsic value which can help you decide how best to proceed. Remember that while you may have an emotional value attached to the piece, buyers will not. With a professional appraisal, you can better assess the item's real value and determine the most appropriate buyers for your article. It may also help inform your decision to sell your jewelry entirely. If you learn your broken jewelry won’t return much cash value to you, you might consider other options, such as modifying or repurposing it. Love some things about your broken jewelry but wish you could change others? Read: Should You Repair or. Modify Broken Jewelry.
Prepare for Sale
If you’re selling your broken jewelry because you want to liquidate some of your jewelry investments or because you don’t particularly care for it, you may find that repairing the piece before selling it is the more profitable approach. If you are selling directly to a buyer, jeweler, or pawnbroker, the price you can ask for a broken piece will be significantly lower than the price of a wearable item. You should discuss the cost to repair with your jeweler; if the jewelry repairs are relatively inexpensive compared to the increase in the piece’s value, you might consider fixing your broken jewelry before selling it. A thorough cleaning will also help make your item more appealing to potential buyers, regardless of whether you decide to repair the piece or sell it as-is. Selling Broken Jewelry Directly to a Buyer Online marketplaces offer many options for selling your jewelry. Whether you list your item yourself on a public auction site or place an ad seeking a direct buyer will depend on your preference. If your jewelry is of high value, you may not be comfortable placing an advertisement on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, which may require an in-person meeting to complete the sale. Online auction sites, such as eBay, allow you to complete your transaction online; however, you will incur fees for the site and many of the possible payment methods.
Pros of Selling Directly to a Buyer Selling your jewelry directly to individual increases the odds that they are looking to purchase the piece for themselves rather than to turn a profit. Since they won’t be thinking about their profit margin, you may have the opportunity to sell it for closer to its appraised value. Making it easy for your buyer will also increase these odds. If you have an appraisal as well as an estimate on the needed repairs, the individual buying the piece can better assess the total investment and the overall value they’ll receive for it. Cons of Selling Directly to a Buyer
Even with an appraisal, selling directly to a consumer makes it necessary to educate potential buyers. While you have done your research and know what your piece is worth, your potential buyers may not recognize the value in your piece, and you may have to wade through low offers before you find one or two shoppers who have also done their homework on your jewelry’s worth. If you need to sell the piece quickly, this may not be a welcome delay.
Selling Broken Jewelry to or on Auction Websites
Unlike selling directly to a buyer, selling online to a website is a more faceless transaction. These are good options when you have some leftover items that you don’t really mind how much you get for them. However, these transactions are not going to get the same type of price that you would with any other type of scenario.
Pros of Selling to an Online Jewelry Buying Website
The biggest reason so many people sell broken jewelry to online websites is the ease of the transaction. You go to their website, fill out a form, and get an idea of what you will be paid. Many require photographs of the items and expect you to send them out within a short window. Another pro of selling here is the array of items these websites will take. While buyers typically want jewelry with or without gemstones in it, you can sell anything with precious metal to these websites. So, if you have broken watches, old gems that fell out of other pieces of jewelry, and even some dental gold, you are still in luck.
Cons of Selling to an Online Jewelry Buying Website
The biggest con to using any of these jewelry buying websites is that you are going to get the least amount possible for your jewelry. If the jewelry is in wearable condition, you will get more than if you are selling broken jewelry, but the price will be as little as the company can get away with for the items.
Selling Broken Jewelry to a pawnbroker If the delays of selling to buyers directly don’t appeal to you, you may consider pawnbrokers as your next option. While you can likely sell your item quickly with this choice, it may come with sacrifices in other areas.
Pros of Selling to a pawnbroker
If you desire a quick turnaround, a pawnbroker will be among your fastest options. Typically, you can expect to sell your item immediately if your piece can be repaired and resold. You can also expect to be paid in cash so the full amount of the sale will be immediately available to you. Cons of Selling to a pawnbroker
Even with an intact piece of jewelry, a pawnbroker is going to reduce the price they offer you by the investment they’ll be making in time and energy to sell your article to a new buyer. You’re also unlikely to fetch a similar price from a pawnbroker as you would directly from a buyer, so while this approach may offer the benefit of quick payment, but that payment will be less than you could likely receive if time were not a concern for you. Selling Broken Jewelry for Scrap You’ve no doubt seen advertisements for companies offering to pay cash for your gold jewelry. For irreparable jewelry, these scrap buyers may be a viable option. While you’ll be selling your items only for the value of its parts, some scrap metal buyers pay top dollar for those parts. If there are gemstones in a piece that you plan to sell to a scrap buyer, you might consider having your jeweler remove any stones first so that you can sell them separately. Pros of Selling Broken Jewelry for Scrap When your jewelry is damaged beyond repair, scrap buyers offer an option to recoup at least part of your investment. All of these buyers are not created equal, however. It’s important to research each company you’re considering to ensure they have a good reputation and a track record for paying a fair price to past customers. You should also learn the value of your items so you can ensure you’re getting the best price. While you can calculate the cost of your scrap gold before you seek out buyers, you should know that the spot value may change from day to day, and you will only receive a percentage of the calculated value from even the most reputable of buyers. Cons of Selling Broken Jewelry for Scrap
While selling your metals for scrap may offer a reasonable price with minimal invested time, selling loose gemstones is not quite as simple. If your broken piece has large diamonds or colored gemstones, you may want to have these removed for repurposing into a new piece of jewelry before you seek out a scrap buyer for your metal materials. Selling Broken Jewelry to a Jeweler If your goal in selling your broken jewelry is to recoup your costs which you’ll put toward the purchase of new jewelry, you may want to talk with your jeweler about your options. Not all jewelers buy jewelry, whether it be damaged or in like-new condition. If your jeweler is skilled at custom jewelry design and completes jewelry repair on-site, they may be interested in the broken jewelry you’re looking to sell.
If you’re ultimately looking to invest in a new piece of jewelry after selling off the broken items, your jeweler should be your first stop. They may be willing to offer you credit against your new purchase in exchange for your damaged items. You may also be able to repurpose much of your damaged item for use in a new, custom piece your jeweler can create for you. Cons
If you’re selling your broken jewelry without the intent to replace it with something new, this option may not be ideal for you. If your jeweler offers credit for broken jewelry, this won’t provide you with the cash on hand that is available when you sell to a pawnbroker, for example. Additionally, not all jewelers purchase broken jewelry. If you’re unsure of your jeweler’s policies, you may save yourself a trip by calling before you drop by.
Strategy for Buying Broken Jewelry
There are many reasons to consider buying broken jewelry instead of selling it. Jewelry is a great option if you want to hold on to an investment. Precious metals appreciate in value, as do nearly all gemstones.
Even if the jewelry is broken, the components are still valuable. You can look in any of the above-mentioned places for broken jewelry. One of the easiest places to look will be in local pawn shops. They buy the jewelry at low prices, and while they still want to make a profit, the prices are still much lower than most individuals or jewelry stores. Plus, most jewelry stores will repair the items before selling them, so finding any is incredibly rare.
The best way to make money off of broken jewelry is to work with a local jeweler who can take any broken jewelry you buy and fix it. That way, whenever you find a good deal on new jewelry, you can bring it to them for repairs. Then, you can either hold on to the items or you can resell them for a profit and use those profits to buy more.
One of the best long-term investments is precious metals, especially gold. It has increased in value steadily for the last several hundred years. By buying broken jewelry and holding on to it, you have the best chance of being able to make enough money to make the venture worth it.
Quick Tips for Buying Jewelry
If you want to get started with buying broken jewelry, you have a few options. You can look at local pawn shops or you can talk to a trusted jeweler first. Once you figure out where to buy and who will repair your items, start tracking everything. You want to track all details of your transactions, including:
Location of purchase
What was bought
Price paid for the items
Appraised value of items
Repaired or not
You will need those for taxes, but you also want to track where you get the best deals from. Remember, investing in jewelry is a great option, but only if you can make the most out of each dollar you spend.
Talk to a Professional
If you’re considering selling a piece of damaged jewelry, you should reach out to your trusted family jeweler to discuss your options before making any decisions. They can help you with the appraisal of the piece and also discuss the costs to repair or re-purpose it, and may potentially be willing to buy it from you directly, saving you quite a bit of the legwork involved with your other options.
For jewelry repair and custom jewelry design in San Francisco, you’re always welcome to stop by our Union Street showroom. Whether you’ve been our customer for decades or haven’t yet visited our shop, a member of our friendly staff will be happy to offer you their professional opinion and help you understand all your options. Call or stop by today and let us make selling or re-purposing your broken jewelry easy for you.