Sometimes, divorcing clients have a need for quick cash to cover their living expenses before securing support or finalizing their settlements. Selling jewelry, watches, and other valuables is one way to raise these funds; however, your client should understand the available options as well as the pros and cons of each method of sale.
By Jeremy A. Auslander, diamond specialist.
Selling Valuables During Divorce
Many divorcing clients choose to eliminate reminders of their former marital life by selling off their engagement rings and other jewelry given to them by their ex-spouse. Although your client may benefit from the extra income – especially during the costly process of divorce – you should advise them to explore their options before selling their valuable gifts and jewelry to the first buyer or bidder.
Options for Selling Valuables During Divorce
There are multiple opportunities for clients looking to sell valuables such as diamonds, jewelry, and watches. Whether they choose the quick-and-easy pawnshop sell, or the longer investment of listing, promoting, and selling an item through an auction house, there are pros and cons to each option. For instance, pawnshops will likely result in an immediate but low payment, while an auction house may take months with no guarantee of sale. Auction houses also charge commission for the sale in addition to charging for the opportunity to showcase your item; however, the auction house’s reputation and marketing could potentially allow your client to realize more money than a pawnshop or online auction (e.g., eBay).
Before you suggest a path for your clients to follow in selling their jewelry, it is important to find out their specific needs. One major question to consider is whether or not they need money quickly.
Does Your Client Need to Sell Immediately?
If your client requires extra money as quickly as possible, they should consider a pawnshop or local jeweler, as both will provide immediate payment. In cases of diamonds, jewelry, or luxury watches, your client is likely better off selling to a local jeweler than a pawnshop. A jeweler deals specifically in jewelry, gems, and watches, so they understand the true value of your client’s items better than a pawnshop that deals in everything from stereos to golf clubs. A jeweler can offer more money because they can resell an item at retail price faster than a pawnshop – which would either have to wait for a specific buyer to inquire or sell the item to a wholesaler at a cheaper price.
If your client is not looking for the fastest payout possible, then you should advise them to consider selling their jewelry through consignment, the Internet, or an auction house.
Selling Valuables Through Consignment
Although it’s uncommon, some jewelers may consider acting as an agent for your client. The length of this process can vary greatly based on the saleability of the item; the sale time is also affected by the jeweler’s network and work ethic. If a jeweler has good marketing, stays in contact with private clients as well as suppliers, and has a strong network, he or she can immediately spread the word over several channels to let potential buyers know there is a new item for sale.
Your client should receive paperwork noting that the jeweler took possession of their item and what the agreed-upon sale price is. Your client should also set a price floor; he/she can then either work out a commission-based approach (which is typically 10-20% of the sale price) or agree that the jeweler keeps whatever he can earn above the price floor.
Selling Valuables Online
Your clients could consider selling their items themselves online. There are several online sales avenues they can consider:
- Craigslist is a free forum where your client can list their items and prices. However, sellers on Craigslist have no support from the site and there is no protection in the case of fraud. Once a sale is made, your client will likely have to meet with the buyer in person to make the exchange – which could create safety issues. Craigslist is not a recommended method for selling expensive or highly valued items.
- eBay and Amazon are viable options for individuals hoping to sell their valuables online. However, these larger websites require you to create an account, pay a listing fee, pay a percentage of the sale, handle shipping, and set up a payment vehicle such as PayPal. Sellers must also compete against each other, including professionals who pay to advertise. However, if your client has the patience and believes they can obtain a better price on these sites than with other avenues, then selling their valuables online may be the best option for them.
If your clients wish to sell their valuables, they need to determine which option makes the most sense in their unique situation. They should consider the following questions to help determine the best option:
- Do they need the money fast, or can they wait to get top dollar?
- Is the item easily sellable?
Connecting with a trustworthy jeweler and providing your clients with several options for selling their valuables will help alleviate some of the stress experienced during divorce.
Jeremy Auslander is the owner of Roxbury Jewelry, one of the nation’s oldest and most well-respected diamond importers and jewelry manufacturers. Specialists in buying, selling, and brokering diamonds, fine jewelry, and watches, they offer the utmost in discretion, security, and honesty. Roxbury Jewelry is located in Los Angeles, CA with satellite offices throughout the country.
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