Jewelry Pricing Tips

One of the top questions many people have when shopping for jewelry is, "How do I know if I am getting a good price?"

This is a great question. While we may not be able to teach all the skills necessary to ascertain whether it is genuine, there are some fairly easy to do things to help you get a handle on what would be a good price. We have a simple list for you to follow:

Weight
The weight of the metal in combination of the quality (karat if gold) will tell you how much it is worth if you were to sell it for the metal only. This is a great starting point since you will have a general idea of how much markup there is. If for instance a plain gold ring is worth $200 for its weight but is selling for over $800 then it may not be a good deal.

Intricacy
The amount of work that goes into making a piece of jewelry will determine the cost of labor. To be fair, an elaborate handcrafted design will have a higher price tag than a simple machined ring. You will want to keep this in mind when determining value.

Quality
The quality of the item has multiple aspects. The metal quality, which you would determine by karat or metal stamp, will let you know what percentage of the precious metal is in the item. For instance, if it has a metal stamp of "950 platinum" it will be made of 95% platinum. In this case, that is a normal and acceptable amount. Rarely ever is a piece of jewelry made from pure metal since it is very impractical (gold is too soft in its pure form) and often far too costly.

The second part of quality is understanding the 4Cs. This is particular to diamonds. When it comes to calculating the quality of diamonds, the four criteria are observed; cut, color, clarity and carat. Cut refers to the way the facets interact with light. This is affected by both number of facets and style. Although shape is not part of the Cut grade, shape can play a little bit of a role in the value. Color is really lack of color. the more white a diamond is the more valuable. Most diamonds have some color to them usually a shade of yellow. Generally, a Color rating of A through F is excellent quality (and expensive) G and H is a great quality and good middle ground. Clarity determines how clear it is of small natural defects called inclusions. Nearly all diamonds have some number of inclusions as a perfect (or near perfect) is extremely rare. Last of all Carat, refers to the size of the diamond. The value of the diamond increases exponentially as the size increases. 

Bottom Line
When determining a value, decide what is important to you. If a particular item has a unique gemstone color or perhaps you find a handcrafted item that is completely unique, there may be a much higher value both from the seller as well as to you. Understand that most jewelry has a 30% to 50% mark up and sometimes much higher than that depending on the type of jewelry.