The jewellery market is vast, and selling your jewellery can seem like an impossible venture. After all, where do you start? How can you get the best price for your jewellery? In this guide, we will discuss the main ways to sell your jewellery, and how to make sure that you are getting the best price for your items. The main ways to sell your jewellery are:
- Selling through auction (traditional or online)
- Selling through a broker
- Selling through an online sales platform
- Selling to a jeweller
There are pros and cons to every option and in this guide, we will help you to find the most suitable option for you.
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The Jewellery Market In 2023
The jewellery market has been, and remains, one of the most buoyant markets for luxury goods in the world. Jewellery has played a very significant cultural and societal role for centuries, and this is not likely to change. The resilience of the market can best be seen in the response to the 1929 Wall Street crash. Whilst many other industries suffered, jewellery production continued, and pieces became bigger and bolder in contrast to other fashions of the 1930s which inspired sensibility and frugality.
Fast-forward to 2023 and jewellery is still playing a very important role in society and in fashion. Both modern and antique pieces of jewellery are regularly sold through a variety of means, and at vastly different price points depending on factors such as age, gemstone, and designer.
With the jewellery market being as vast as it is, it can be difficult to know who to approach with your pieces for an appraisal and potential sale. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the different ways that you can sell your jewellery.
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Selling Your Jewellery Through Auction: Traditional or Online
Selling jewellery through an auction is one of the most popular and enduring ways of passing on your items. Bricks and mortar salerooms are the most traditional way of selling jewellery. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent rise of online auctions, traditional auction houses are somewhat falling out of fashion. Despite this, many traditional auction houses are now offering the opportunity to bid online.
As jewellery is, traditionally, one of the most sought after luxury assets, the marketing budget for jewellery sales is often quite high, meaning that your items will receive exposure to potential bidders prior to the actual auction. In addition to this, many auction houses offer buyers the opportunity to go along to viewing appointments prior to the auction so that they may see and handle the pieces that they are interested in.
However, selling your jewellery via auction can come with a hefty price tag.
Auction houses make their profit by charging commissions to both the seller and the buyer. In 2023, the average seller’s commission is 18% and the average buyer’s commission is 25%. This means that if you were to sell a piece of jewellery through an auction house that charged these commissions, you would only receive back 57% of what the buyer was willing to pay. The high buyer’s premiums are taken into account by buyers and, as such, they adjust their bids accordingly.
Pros of selling your jewellery through auction:
- Very high prices can be achieved if two buyers engage in a bidding war and push up the hammer price.
- Salerooms are located all across the country.
- Well-established auction houses have decent marketing budgets for their auctions, meaning lots of exposure for your item of jewellery.
Cons of selling your jewellery through auction:
- High seller’s and buyer’s commissions mean a significantly reduced profit.
- You have no control over the sale price unless you set a reserve, which has its own issues.
- Prices fluctuate depending on the level of marketing and expertise that the auction house provides.
Selling Your Jewellery Through An Online Broker
Brokerage services are a traditional alternative to selling your jewellery at auction. A broker helps you find a buyer for your item – in this case, jewellery – and charges you a commission on the sale price of the item. It is, therefore, in the broker’s best interest to get you the best possible price.
Mark Littler Ltd have been trading since 2015. Our experience gives us the knowledge to help you find the best buyer for any specific item but without the astronomical commissions that have become common in the auction world.
Selling your jewellery via an online broker gives you much more control over the sale price of the item in comparison to selling via auction. If you are not happy with the price, you simply retain ownership of your item whilst the broker continues looking for a buyer.
We make the process of selling your jewellery quick and easy. You send us some images and as much information as you can about your item and its provenance. We then forward the images to our buyers and send you the highest offer range we receive.* The offers are no obligation. If it is not right for you then there is no need to proceed.
* Please note that some items will need to be viewed in person before a valuation can be given. To do this we can either arrange a home visit, or we can have your item posted to our office using our fully-insured courier service.
If you would like to proceed then we send you a contract and you send us your item. We then agree on a final sale price with the buyer and complete the sale. Finally, we send you the funds minus our commission (12% VAT inclusive).
We also have many contacts in the industry that allow us to consign items to auction for our clients if they find that private sale is not for them. Different auction houses specialise in the sale of various types of items. This speciality can make a huge difference to the final hammer price. We will help you to choose an auction house with a low commission, good marketing team, and that we think will help you achieve the best price for your item.
We have hundreds of five-star reviews on Google, Yell and Facebook and are really proud of the level of customer service we provide.
Pros of selling your jewellery through Mark Littler Ltd:
- The sale price is agreed in advance so you know exactly what you will receive into your bank account before you agree to sell.
- We have a fully-insured postage service which takes the hassle out of delivering the item to us.
- Our industry contacts mean that we have a vast network of buyers to whom we will market your items.
- We work with qualified gemmologists to confirm the identity of gemstones.
- Our commission for private sale is lower than seller’s commissions at traditional auction houses.
Cons of selling your jewellery through Mark Littler Ltd:
- As the price is set in advance there is no chance the price will exceed the agreed amount.
- As many of our buyers are located overseas, offers can take 3-5 working days to be finalised.
- As we usually have to assess items in person, this can add time to the process.
Selling Through An Online Sales Platform: eBay or Facebook
Another way of selling your jewellery online is selling via an online sales platform such as eBay or Facebook. Unlike with whisky, there are no restrictions on selling your jewellery via platforms such as this, and it can be an easy way of selling from the comfort of your own home. However, selling the jewellery yourself comes with its own set of drawbacks.
eBay is a common platform on which people and retailers can sell their items. $27.1 billion worth of goods were bought and sold on eBay in the second half of 2020, so you know that it is a well-established platform.
eBay allows buyers to filter by location, meaning that your item will reach many people in the local area. So, if you prefer, you can localise the sale of your item.
You can also change how the price of the item is decided by either setting a fixed price, or allowing buyers to bid for your item. This process is like an online auction. However, eBay does not have resident jewellery experts or marketers to help sell your item.
One of the downsides to selling your jewellery on eBay is that there is no valuation service, no price guides, and no opportunity to market towards specific sectors of the jewellery industry. Without using a broker, jeweller, or auction house, the responsibility of making sure that your item sells for a fair price falls on you. If you are not educated about the jewellery market then this can be a huge responsibility and may impact the sale price of your item.
In addition to this, eBay charges more commission depending on the sale price of your item. The standard eBay commission is 12.8%, but for items over £2,500, an extra 3% of the sale price over £2,500 is also charged.
Facebook Marketplace has, in recent years, become a popular platform on which to sell items. The upside of selling via Facebook is that there is no charge. You can list your items with pictures, a price, and a description for free. Facebook Marketplace is mainly localised to your area, with the ability to change the search parameters.
As with eBay selling via Facebook offers no valuation service, price guides, or marketing specifics. It is up to you to choose how much to list your item for. If you do not know the value of your item, this can be a difficult decision to make, and you may end up letting a valuable piece go for much less than it is worth.
Pros of selling your jewellery through an online sales platform:
- It is straightforward and can be done by anyone.
- You can localise sales to make delivery/collection easier.
- On eBay you can control how the sale price is decided.
- Facebook does not charge any fees.
Cons of selling your jewellery through an online sales platform:
- No expertise or guidance is given with regards to the age/identity/value of your jewellery.
- It is up to you to decide a list price, which can be difficult if you are not educated about the jewellery market.
- eBay charges a 12.8% commission but is lacking the expertise that can be provided by brokers for a similar price.
- Your item will have less exposure to buyers within the jewellery industry and therefore will attract fewer expert buyers.
Selling Your Jewellery To A Jeweller
Selling your jewellery directly to a jeweller is another popular way of moving your jewellery on. There are dozens of online jewellery stores and local retailers that will buy your jewellery in order to re-sell in their store or on their websites.
Jewellers have expert knowledge meaning that they can quickly identify and appraise your item for you if they see it in person. They are also, usually, very prompt with giving you an offer to consider.
Selling your jewellery to a jeweller can be a fast and efficient way of selling your jewellery. However, you must remember that jewellers are a business and they need to consider their profit margins when offering on your item. As such, retailers will often offer less than what you can achieve at auction or through a broker so that they can maximise their profit.
Pros of selling your jewellery to a jeweller:
- You will likely receive an offer very quickly.
- Their expert knowledge can help identify pieces.
- The sale price is agreed in advance so you know exactly how much you will receive.
Cons of selling your jewellery to a jeweller:
- As the piece is likely to be re-sold in some fashion, jewellers/retailers must take this into account when offering on the piece, meaning the offer will probably be lower.
- Selling to a local jeweller means that your item gets less exposure and is valued by one body as opposed to a network of experts.
- There is no competition for pricing as you are offering the piece to one individual jeweller.
A Note of Caution: Online Fraud In 2023
When deciding how best to sell your jewellery it is important to do your research on any company/website that you are considering using, as fraudsters often attempt to capitalise on the vast nature and stability of the jewellery market.
Look at the reviews. Are they verified? Are they numerous? Have the people that have reviewed the company done so for multiple other companies? Sometimes a business will buy fake reviews, so it is important to be vigilant.
If in doubt, ask for a second opinion or suggestions from a trusted source, use Companies House as a background check and look for verified reviews from trusted sources.
Exciting Things Happening In 2023
The landscapes of jewellery design, wear, and sales are forever changing and 2022 promises to be an exciting year.
At the start of December in 2022, Cartier unveiled their newly refurbished flagship store at 13 Piax in Paris. The store has been the home of Cartier for over 150 years. The building aims to give visiting clients the ultimate luxury experience whilst browsing their jewellery and watch selection.
Elsewhere in the jewellery world the Italian brand, Pomellato, unveiled their new Together Collection. The collection consists of bracelets, rings, and earrings that consist of multiple bands held together by a number of links. The collection aims to celebrate the bonds that make us human through the simple, Milanese designs that Pomellato has become know for.
Let’s hope that the rest of 2023 brings many exciting new releases and record-breaking sales.
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