There are so many heightened feelings when going through such a life-altering event like a divorce. When it comes to the engagement ring and other jewelry from the marriage, it is important not to make any quick, emotional decisions and to weigh all of your options when deciding what to do with it. Yes, there are options for your jewelry that was once an important symbol of your love (even if you don’t feel it right now). I asked Jennifer Vichinsky, GG, owner of Rejewelvenated Designs, Long Island’s top jewelry design, repurposing and appraisal expert, for her top 5 tips on how to get the best value for your jewelry after divorce.
1. Get an appraisal or update the appraisal. There are a few different appraisals that you may want to get depending on what you intend to do with your engagement ring.
Insurance appraisal: If you are going to keep the rings as is, then make sure you have an up-to-date appraisal so that you are covered in case of loss, theft, or damage. Make sure your jewelry is properly insured and listed on your insurance rider.
Fair Market Value: If you are looking to sell your ring privately, this would be the value to know so that you have room to negotiate and make it easier for a buyer to trust you. This value is what a buyer is willing to pay for the item being appraised depending on condition, salability, and appropriate market.
Liquidation Value: If the jewelry must be sold quickly, then the value will be a liquidation value. This is the sum of the scrap value of the metal by weight and the scrap value of the diamond depending on quality and salability. This is usually a very low number.
2. Give it a jewelry makeover and transform it for yourself. As a gemologist, the reality is that your diamond is not jinxed or bad luck. Diamonds actually have the highest vibrational energy of all gemstones. So if you always wanted a cool ring, a fancy pendant, trendy earrings, then treat yourself by changing that jewelry into something you will love to wear; something that represents the woman you are now. In my experience, transforming it into something you will love is a very cathartic and empowering feeling. In addition, if you love diamond jewelry, then you save 50-75% off the retail price of a similar piece when you use your own stones. Plus, you also get the value of your metal toward the price of the new piece. That’s a win, win in my book!
3. Repurpose it to give as a gift. You can use the diamonds in your wedding jewelry to make a gift for a special person in your life to celebrate a milestone like a birthday or graduation. The fact that the gemstones came from you will make the gift more meaningful.
4. Save it for your children. If you are not really a jewelry person and you have a daughter, then I suggest keeping it in the family and saving it for her special day. She will be honored to have the diamond that was associated with the love that she was the result of and was a part of you. She can wear it and know you will be with her as she enters her new chapter in life. If you decide to give it to a son, you may want to take precautions that the diamond always stays in the family, by consulting a family law attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement. An engagement ring is the recipient’s separate property. So, once the parties are married, your daughter-in-law legally does not have to return the engagement ring without a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise.
5. Sell it. Selling should be the last choice, since you lose a lot of value by doing this. If you were to buy the same stone today at a retail store, you will be paying 3-4x more than the value of the ring. Only sell if you need or want the money. The best way to get the most money for your jewelry is to sell it privately. If you decide to sell to a jewelry store, make sure you have any certifications like a GIA grading report because a jeweler will underestimate the weight, color, and clarity to cover themselves if you don’t. The reason why is that the diamond is mounted so those quality factors can be deceiving or hidden depending on the color of the metal and how the diamond is set. Also, certain shaped diamonds are worth more. In today’s market, If you have a round or oval, you will get far more than a pear or marquise shape. Another thing to consider is if your style ring fits the jewelry store you are selling it to. If they cannot resell it as is, you will only get scrap value for the metal & diamond.
So, with selling, take the time to do some shopping around for the best price.
* * *
Jennifer Vichinsky, GG, is the owner of Rejewelvenated Designs, a full service jewelry concierge. www.rejewelvenateddesigns.com. She is a GIA gemologist, jewelry designer, and appraiser. You can contact her at Jennifer@rejewelvenateddesigns.com or 516-387-5187.