The Best Way To Sell Jewellery Online For More Money — 4 Tips

Bad memories or just not worth remodelling — here’s how to sell your diamond ring on Ebay or another online portal.

Those familiar with my musings know that I blog a lot about remodelling precious jewellery to be enjoyed all over again.  Today I thought I would write about what to consider if you have decided to sell your jewellery online.

Reasons for selling your jewellery online

1 - You don’t want to keep it

Simple enough. If there are either negative memories, or you don’t like the elements, and you just never wear it – then don’t leave it cluttering up your jewellery box, get rid of it.

2 - It isn’t going to create a new design that you want.

I had a client recently who wanted me to make an oval engagement ring with a round diamond. She actually wanted an oval diamond.  It didn’t make any sense to try to remodel her engagement ring, it made more sense to source an oval diamond!  So she and her fiancée decided to sell the ring.

3 - You think you can get more than you have been offered for it.

If you have vintage jewellery you may have been to see an antique jewellery specialist who offered something you don’t feel was enough. Jewellery specialists will buy pieces they think that they will be able to sell, the value of what they offer reflects how quickly they think they will be able to.  They are paying for insuring and storing the piece, as well as promoting it, and you can expect to see a decrease in offer reflecting this.  

Alternately, you have been offered a price where you are aware that even the metal scrap value is higher!  Definitely worth trying yourself.

4 - It is not worth remodelling or remodelling will negatively impact the value.

Occasionally I will get a piece of jewellery, where the costs of adjusting are very high in proportion to piece value. I have clients who don’t mind this because the piece is so sentimental.  But if it isn’t, then it isn’t worth remodelling, better to sell.

In the case of these Tiffany earrings, I did suggest to the client that if she wasn’t going to wear them, she would be better off selling them. Tiffany jewellery attracts a lot of interest online, and remodelling them was going to be quite expensive, and for the value of the materials, it wasn’t going to create something equally valuable.

How to Sell Your Jewellery Online


How to clean precious jewellery

When selling a house, or a car you are likely to carry out some DIY, and MoT, have it cleaned and decorated etc. This is because you want to get the asking price for it.  It is worth ensuring that your jewellery is nice and clean, stones are sparkling again and the metal does not look scratched. This could be as simple as just giving the piece a good soak in warm soapy water, cleaning it with a toothbrush rinsing it well and polishing it with a soft cloth. You can buy polishing cloths for silver, gold or platinum.

If there is any damage to the jewellery or setting, and it it a valuable piece, consider having it repaired.  If the white gold is rhodium plated, you could have this re-plated if it is showing wear.  If the stones have a value but the piece itself is damaged, you could sell it for the materials.

An additional note with engagement rings, if there is engraving inside the band, you should have this removed too.  (Make sure that the hallmark is not removed too).  It is a personal item, imagine you received an engagement ring with somebody else’s name written inside it!

Some of this is an outlay, and you may not wish to spend the money. However it is worth noting, that especially for selling an engagement ring online, if your ring is not in good condition you have to be willing to part with it as a bargain as somebody else is going to have to do the work and will offer accordingly.

It is all in the marketing

If your background is product marketing, then I am preaching to the converted. But it is important to note that your prospective buyers are likely to have done some kind of a search first. They then read the description to see how it matches their search, check the visuals and then go off and read the small print.

Get a good title that explains what you are selling

There are a load of benefits in owning your piece of jewellery that prospective buyers need to know about, Consider the two sentences here;

A – Half carat diamond engagement ring in platinum

B –  Stunning platinum half carat round brilliant diamond engagement ring

Which sounds better? Obviously sentence B is a little longer, but it has put a lot more into it. Play with your description depending on where you are advertising.

Sell your jewellery with a killer description

It doesn’t stop at the title. You want to give your audience a full outline of what it is you are looking for, that is honest, and enticing. Don’t lie about quality and condition, if you have a ring that has some knocks and bumps then you should declare them – online purchasers are very unforgiving if they think they have been conned!

Lets keep playing with our imaginary engagement ring which is in mint condition:

Description – A

Engagement Ring

  • 0.50 carat Gvs1 diamond
  • Platinum ring
  • Originally from XXXX jewellers with all packaging.
  • This ring has been worn and has a few scratches, but will polish up nicely.

Description – B

This platinum engagement ring is a great purchase for somebody who is a fan of ABC Jeweller’s sparkling designs, and wants to make a great saving on the price tag.  The ring is offered in new condition having been checked, cleaned and polished recently.  Very elegant on the hand it will make a lucky wearer very happy.  All the original packaging and stone certificate is in mint condition.

  • Ring Size – M (UK)
  • Diamond Description – 0.50 carat Gvs1 (GIA Certified) round brilliant
  • Ring description – 6 claw classic setting with a polished finish.  All claws in excellent condition.  Hallmarked as platinum inside shank and retailer marks.

Can you see the difference?  There is nothing wrong with description A, it is doing what it says on the tin.  But buying an engagement ring online can be high risk, and any prospective jewellery purchaser will benefit from as much support and reassurance as possible, which is where Description B comes in.  It advertises what a great opportunity it is to get a brand for a reduced price, is in mint condition, has an attractive diamond and all of the paperwork is there and in excellent condition.  There are far fewer questions left for the buyer to ask.

Get the image right

We are all drawn to an attractive image, which is especially important for buying an item of jewellery online (see my separate blog about the pitfalls).  Jewellery is often small items, which can be a real nuisance to shoot well.  On the other hand, a nice image makes all the difference, as the piece is visible.

Here is the common issue in image A.  It’s a nice ring, we can see that, but it is out of focus, the camera has picked up the texture of the jewellery box, rather than the ring image.

what goes wrong with jewellery photography

If we compare this to Image B, where the camera has been focused on the ring setting itself.  It is useful to ensure that the light is good and also the camera is resting on something to ensure there is no shake.  Both these images were shot with a mobile phone, in daylight using the macro setting.

keeping jewellery in focus by using macro control on camera

A few other camera pointers

how to photograph jewellery
This is the symbol for Macro on most cameras
  • Use the macro option on your camera which is the little tulip shape usually on the same settings as the landscape/infinity focus.
  • Use your zoom if it is easier to hold the camera further away, and zoom in to the jewellery piece.
  • Photograph your jewellery on a white sheet of paper. Often when jewellery is photographed against a texture, the camera will focus on the texture, rather than the jewellery itself.
  • Take a shot of the jewellery from the top, front and sides if it is a ring. If there are additional points of detail (like special engraving under the stone setting) make sure you snap these too.
  • Get a nice shot with all the packaging together, and try to keep it on a white background again. Instagram is great for layout ideas.  You want to make everything look as attractive as possible.
  • If you wish to show a show of the jewellery worn (which is a good idea for showing size proportions, especially for earrings and pendants) get somebody to help you with the shot to ensure it is the jewellery in focus. What is very common is the camera picks up your skin details, and leaves the engagement ring or pendant out of focus!

The ring below was photographed on a sheet of white printer paper which was blu-tacked down to create a smooth backdrop.  The light was a combination of LED and daylight – it is often better to ensure you have daylight as it is a more natural set of colours and works well with diamonds.  Sunlight is probably best avoided though, as the contrasts can be very stark through a camera lens.

photograph your jewellery on a piece of white paper


Second hand jewellery is sold VAT free.  So if you are listing an item of jewellery, you need to consider this if your jewellery is not very old.  For example, say the engagement ring cost £3,300 new then you should consider listing it at £2,750 if it is to all intents and purposes, still in a brand new condition.

There are some obvious exceptions;

  • If the piece is a collector’s item (i.e. it has a particularly unusual stone, or is a designer brand limited edition) it will carry a higher premium.
  • For stone sizes above 0.75 carats you can consider the value of the diamond or gemstone itself as well as the jewellery if it is a few years old as exchange rates have changed and stones costs more at the moment. (If you think you have a stone with value, it is best you get some advice on it). Especially in vintage jewellery, sometimes there is no value to the piece design, but it does have a stone that has value set in it.

Be real with your price expectations!  As soon as you drive a brand new car out of the showroom the price drops.  A piece of jewellery from the high street is not dissimilar as it will have commercial grade stones in it and a high mark up.  Research what other items of jewellery are actually selling for, rather than what the asking price is.

Sites to use

Obviously Ebay is a very popular medium for selling jewellery.  You get the biggest possible audience, although you also have more competition.  Gumtree is also used more regularly now. I don't recommend either, but given that sticking a card in the local shop window isn't as effective as it used to be, it's a starting point.

If you are on some of the mum’s networking sites, some of these have a place to sell used items, and while a smaller network, it is a more focused one.

Other considerations could be to use your facebook page and ask your friends to share.  If you have a good Twitter or Instagram following, you could also highlight your piece is for sale here too.

Final Thoughts

Look at what similar pieces to yours are selling for online.  How are they being marketed?  You need your piece of jewellery to stand out.  The more appealing your listing is, the more likely it is to sell.  So make sure everything shines.

If you aren’t being offered what you feel the piece is worth, or it is more sentimental then perhaps it is worth considering the remodelling route after all?

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