Hi Dirk, I read your post about selling jewelry and wonder how I go about becoming a buyer and seller of jewelry? I’ve been to storage auctions as you suggest and there’s too much other junk involved. Any suggestions?
Tamara, Kansas City, MO.
Dear Tamara, thank you for the question, I haven’t had one in such a while that I thought nobody was interested in buying and selling things anymore. My faith is restored!
Ok, so you want to be a buyer and seller of jewelry; here’s how you do it. First, recognize that you can be anything you want to be in this world. If you want to be a jewelry buyer, imagine your self or pretend that you are and be prepared to take action on it. You need to start with research. I recommend you start with costume jewelry. You need a price guide to train your eye to spot pieces that people are selling cheap because they do not know their true value. Here’s a great book that we often use in our business:
Learn all that you can before you set out to buy. Your next step is to shop at garage sales, flea markets and on craigslist. There are sellers of jewelry all over the place and the three places I mentioned above are the most likely to be selling pieces under value. At every garage sale you should ask, are you selling any jewelry? Even if they are not displaying it, they might have some they hadn’t even considered selling. We find this all the time and when we do, we make an offer to buy everything. People have garage sales for a variety of reasons and if they’re not professionals, they WILL sell you their stuff for practically nothing. They just want to get rid of things, make the rent or whatever. You are most likely to get gold, silver and diamonds from this buying situation.
After you have bought some jewelry, you need to identify and grade what you have before you re-sell it. There are some tools you can acquire to help you with this task. You need a simple test to determine if it’s predious metal and what karat. Consider the following:
This is an inexpensive tester you can start with so that you are not ever underselling any piece. You can also take the tester with you when you’re re-selling at flea markets, craft shows or wherever you will be selling your merchandise and make a few extra bucks by testing pieces for $5 per test. You’d be surprised how many people need metals tested. You should also invest in a diamond tester. I once sold a piece of jewelry with diamonds for $40 and heard later that the buyer re-sold it for $1400. I wasn’t sure if they were real diamonds or not and he pulled out his tester on the spot and happily handed me the forty bucks I was asking for. You don’t want to have that happen to you so get a diamond tester.
We had a funny jewelry buying experience I’ll leave you with. My wife found a seller on craigslist – she was offering 50 pieces of costume jewelry for $40. It sounded promising just from the title; at a dollar a piece, we’re guaranteed profit. We showed up to their house with cash in hand and checked out the goods. This place was straight up ghetto and we walked into a crime scene in progress. I was overwhelmed by the smell of dog piss and the seller was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in their living room. Her toothless husband showed us the jewelry and we looked over just to make sure that the earrings had pairs and what-not. While we were looking over her costume jewelry, he sat on the mattress and she said, “get off of me, I’m sleeping.” ”Whatever, you f–king wh-re,” he said as if we weren’t even there. ”Do you have a grocery bag?” I asked and handed him the $40. We wondered if that was going to be enough for the pair to get their fix of whatever. Later we looked over the stuff, took our price guide out and found several vintage pieces, worth several hundred dollars. We found some sterling silver. Overall, we’ll probably make 5-6 hundred dollars from our $40 investment. It’s not without some risk but the risk is outweighed by the reward. We bagged and tagged the items and put it with our portable sales stash. When we get to Venice Beach next month, we’ll have quite a sale.