It’s good to know what to expect when you do anything for the first time. For many people, they will only be selling estate jewelry or a used diamond once or twice in their lives. This leaves little room for mistakes, so we’ve written a brief guide to explain a few things that tend to surprise people about the process of selling a diamond or jewelry. If you’ve been wondering what that old family jewelry or antique engagement ring in the attic might be worth, read on!

Estimates of value and appraisals. These can be from jewelers or insurance companies, they have little use in determining what you can get when you are looking to sell jewelry for cash. These valuations often lead to disappointment when someone receives their first cash offer, but take heart, the value of what your selling hasn’t changed, only your expectations. The difference is that these appraisals are not from people who are interested in buying your jewelry, they are typically from people who want to sell you insurance or from retail jewelers who have no intention of paying the appraised value (but it makes their prices seem more reasonable).

The only way to know what you jewelry is worth, is the find someone who wants to buy it, and see what they will give you. That doesn’t mean you have to take the first offer either, but a few offers should give you an idea.

Certification. Certifications list the properties of a diamond, or the provenance of an antique piece of jewelry. When selling a diamond online, the certification can let a buyer, located anywhere in the world, evaluate the diamond almost as if it was there under his or her loupe. The certificate can act as a proxy for the physical diamond, avoiding costly insured shipping rates to and from any perspective buyers.

Not all certifications are created equal however. GIA is the industry standard in certifications. There are many others as well, (EGL and IGI for example) and they may be accurate in describing the diamond, but in our years of experience, no other laboratory rivals the accuracy of GIA.

The cost of certification, if needed, can vary (between $100 to $400 at GIA, for example, depending on carat weight) and should be part of the negotiation with any perspective jewelry buyers.

Getting the cash. Once you have agreed to a price with a jewelry and diamond buyer, the diamond is typically shipped, via insured mail, to the buyer, or the buyer may agree to come and meet you at your bank. The shipping of such a valuable item through the mail may seem a little crazy, but rest assured this is a common practice. Not only is insurance purchased on any such shipment, but the contents are usually obscured with nondescript business names and generic packaging.