Value of diamond rings

Inspired from another thread about someone wondering if he should get his ex-wife’s wedding ring out of hock.

Say I buy a diamond ring for $5000. I then want to sell it 15 minutes later. What would I get for it?

In other words, what is the average ‘markup’ on diamond rings.

The cynic in me thinks it is pennies on the dollar. Has anyone had experience in this?

That very much depends on where you bought the ring, but here are some basics.

  1. Diamonds normally wholesale for 60% of their retail value. And, of course, there’s no sales tax on a wholesale exchange.

  2. When I priced my unused engagement ring (don’t worry, it’s all over), I was offered between 25 and 35 cents on the dollar. On the other hand, the retail jeweler I bought it from may have been unusually expensive. The diamond was set in a ring, of course, which made appraisal by the jeweler more difficult.

Diamonds are at best a semi precious gem, manipulated by a monopoly holding consortium with a multi century history of rapacious disregard for the social harm they do in obtaining and protecting their monopoly.

There are no diamonds which are not associated at some level with the death, torture, starvation, enslavement, and economic exploitation of whole societies. Someone suffered for the diamond you wear. Small children were deliberately maimed to maintain the diamond monopoly, and that abuse continues to this very day. Now, they are a significant source of funds for terrorists as well. The diamond industry ignores that, as they have ignored piracy, murder, and slavery for centuries. You buy, you pay to exploit someone, kill someone, and torture someone. Congratulations, diamonds are forever.

Diamonds are no one’s friend.

I don’t understand how someone could allow a symbol of horrible evil like a diamond to be associated with their marriage. Throw your diamonds away.


Tris, I would agree with a lot of what you said.

The value of diamonds is maintained by the cartel and one of the most effective marketing campaigns of all time, the idea of the diamond wedding ring. Of course no one would sell a wedding ring. Which means that diamonds are bought, but must never be sold except by the cartel. If there were an open market on diamonds their value would plummet.

However, synthetic diamonds have none of the ethical problems associated with “natural” diamonds. Anyone who invests in diamonds is crazy, since sooner than you think you are going to be able to buy a diamond coffee table.

If it takes an expert to tell the difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia, exactly why are diamonds hundreds of times more expensive? You can hear the note of panic in the jewelry store ads as they try to convince people that synthetics are inferior. No, in most cases synthetics are crystallographically superior. What exactly is the difference?

Gems are pretty rocks. Pretty rocks are nice. But how much are you willing to spend for a pretty rock? They only have value because people believe they have value. They might retain that value based on cultural inertia for some time. But the situation isn’t going to continue.

Torture - check.
Enslavement - check.
Economic exploitation - check.

Sounds like a perfect symbol of marriage to me.

You forgot the starvation!

Poor guy just wanted to know what the markup up diamonds was…


That’s ok. I like to hear peoples opinion/observations/facts related to my question.

Nametag, I’m surprised it is 25%-35%. That’s still real bad but I was thinking it might be below 10%.

Doesn’t the ‘exploitation’ etc etc depend on where the diamonds came from? Don’t we get a lot of precious stones, including diamonds from Australia - yes, the land is exploited and was robbed from the aboriginies and release of stones is controlled to keep the prices up, but conditions can’t be as bad in Australia as they are in South Africa?

Nametag, wait. You said it was set in the ring, which I presume was gold. If you took out the price of the gold, I wonder what the markup on the diamond is…

Good point Andy. It is easy to resell gold.

Whether they came out of the ground in Africa, or Russia, or Austrailia, the diamonds are controlled by DeBeers. The cartel allows the trade to continue in places where life is cheap, and the artificially manipulate the market to keep themselves on the top. Children might not be being tortured in Australia, but the money goes the same place.

Throw away your diamonds. Never buy diamonds. There is blood on every one.


What about the ones which you dig up yourself, at the Crater of Diamonds (State or National, can’t remember which) Park in Arkansas?

It’s sort-of like a “U-pick” for diamonds… great family vacation spot. Camping and digging in dirt.

Nametag is correct that engagement-ring-type diamonds wholesale for about 60% of retail, more or less depending on sales or type of item. The pricier the stone, generally the lower the markup. A jeweler would rather make $7k on a $25k sale than $1k on a $2k sale.

Now, if you try to sell that stone, you will probably not get wholesale for it, since if a jeweler wants to buy wholesale he can just call up a supplier and get any stone he wants at any time, what’s the point in paying you what he’d pay the wholesaler? Some stones may be harder to get a good price when you sell because they are of too high or low a quality, or are an unpopular size or shape, or maybe that particular jeweler has no need for stones of that type. Also, it is harder to judge the quality of a stone set in a ring, and since a couple grades in color/clarity difference can make the difference between a $5000 diamond and a $4000 diamond, the jeweler is going to be conservative in the price he offers for your diamond if you just hand him a ring. If you have a GIA-cert 1 carat brilliant-cut diamond of a good but not ridiculously good quality, you will probably get a pretty decent price if you try to sell to a fair dealer–I’d think maybe 50-65% of retail, maybe more, assuming you didn’t overpay. If you try to sell a 5 carat internally flawless D color diamond at your local store, or a cluster ring of poor quality diamonds, or a heart-shape, etc., you won’t do so well. The jeweler will factor in his chances of quickly reselling that particular piece, or the cost of removing and resetting the diamonds, into the price he gives. You might very well get an offer of 10% on the dollar if you paid a bit much for a designer piece and the jeweler just plans to scrap the ring for gold and spare diamonds.

::ignoring Tris’ tangent about bloodstones:::

Though it hardly seems necessary, I’d just like to point out that there are a number of perfectly valid industrial uses for diamonds.

Just trying to temper the “carats of blood” rhetoric.

I don’t. Not in GQ anyway. We’ve got forums for that, and this isn’t one of them.

Another option…

Yes, diamonds are evil. If you wish to throw them away, send them to me, and I will dispose of them for you.

Actually, I tried to sell my diamond engagement/wedding ring once it no longer symbolized anything of value, and found that it really was worth pennies on the dollar on trade-in. Instead, I had the gems reset into a very pretty necklace that I happily wear as a symbol of liberation from ** mattgg’s ** “torture, enslavement, and economic exploitation.”

If you get lucky enough to actually find anything, it’s usually industrial-grade, i.e. not really gem-quality. Or so I’m told. This was in a “10 Places To Visit” article I read, so YMMV.


Um, I just re-read my post and want to clarify that I was referring to mattgg’s clever post and not to any personal knowledge that marriage to him/her would be “torture, enslavement, and economic exploitation.”

As part of my job, I purchase diamond rings from the public who no longer wants them.

Let’s deal with something rather concrete here. Take a full, half-carat round brillian cut diamond. Let’s pick one that is very clean inside(SI-1) and of decent color, whitish, say G-H or so. A solitaire, mounted in a simple gold band so as to not confuse things with side diamonds, etc.

What is that diamond “worth?”

If you go to a typical retail jewelry store you will see the ring “tagged” with a retail price of between $$2700-3500. But of course, they’re having a sale :rolleyes: So it’s automatically lowered by 25-35%. And, if you are the negotiating kind and the salesperson works with you, you might walk out with a final price of $1800-2000, before tax. Boy did you get a good deal!

Now, if you had come into our store and asked to purchase the same stone, .50 carat, SII-1, G-H, nice cut, we would have sold you the stone for $1250. Same diamond. Same quality. Are we stupid? Did we screw up?

No. We bought that diamond from a person who no longer needed/wanted it. We paid between $475-600 for the stone, depending on our needs that week/month. And our needs seldom are great. We probably always have 100+ half -carats on hand at all times. They’re common.

If we were out of a diamond that quality,size, color, I could call a few wholesalers in NYC and get one shipped in on approval to me at $750-900, depending on my credit, whether I’m paying cash, my history, etc.

We pay the highest price to the public that they can get in Northern Ohio, give or take a weird mistake.

NOW…if you paid $2000 for that diamond in the mall 1 year ago, and you need to sell it today for cash, we just bought it from you for say, $500. That’s 25 cents on the dollar.

There is no conceivable way you can buy a diamond at retail and take it out and sell it for more than 30-40% unless you find a private buyer. In some cases, where you buy a complicated ring which has, in addition to a larger stone, some side smaller diamonds, especially if fancy cuts(baguettes, trillions, etc.) you can expect to get killed on what they bring on resale.

I’ve offered $300 for a ring that the customer has a receipt showing that ACTUALLY paid $3000 for. It’s not that I’m being cheep, but rather they paid $3000 for a ring that I could buy NEW, wholesale, for $600.

Platinum bands are very popular now, but again, they cost a fortune new, but you get crucified on the resale.