Selling Designer Jewelry


Designers makes beautiful jewelry and sell them at premiums. Buying them knowing and understanding the secondary market does not value their work as much as their sales people.

Well established designers products often do not get a premium on the secondary market; most frequently because when you are selling a particular item it is a past style.

Renowned designers can make beautiful jewelry. The best ones are true artists who develop eye-popping designs, utilize expert metal smiths to make their jewelry, and build entire looks around their particular pieces.

Here are my cautions with a focus on reselling designer jewelry:

Many designers compromise quality as they become large. There are countless examples I could site of this decreased quality as designers expand their business. The most recent one I encountered comes from Penny Preville. They make some nice jewelry I must admit. I am always excited to buy their pieces. I was very surprised when I went over the ring to find that the engraving on it had been cast rather than done by hand. The difference is subtle but very noticeable to a trained eye. Cast engraving is significantly less expensive and much easier. Yet, the engraving is not as intricate or well-defined. It certainly does not pop like hand engraving.

Designers charge premiums. They advertise heavily and spent to build elaborate, beautiful stores. Their sales pitch usually involves a level of snootiness giving you the allure that their products are exclusive. All of this image consciousness means you are overpaying.

Some brands do have staying power, but they are far and few between. I can name designers from the 1970s, and no millennial will have ever heard of them. Do an internet search for Cindy Royce jewelry if you think I am wrong, and then ask a 20-something about their jewelry. Their styles were beautiful at the time, but styles change.

Some brands can adapt their styles, but most do not. The brands that can adapt have been around for a long time and will continue to prosper. Think Van Cleef and Arpels or Cartier. Tiffany is also an example. Still know that you are paying a premium to shop at those stores.

The resale value of designer jewelry or marked pieces is mostly the same as generic pieces. You are not going to get reimbursed for the snooty sales pitch, beautiful store, and expensive marketing. Normally by the time you want to sell the item, the styles have changed. That designer may not be known anymore or at least that style will no longer be popular (think about those Tiffany sterling silver pieces heart tag pieces popular about 15 years ago).

My suggestion is to buy what makes you happy. If you find a beautiful piece, buy it, enjoy it, and do not worry about the resale value. If you find an up-and-coming designer, certainly support him or her as long as the quality is there. In most cases, find a pretty, more generic piece. There are so many out there.

I end with a quote about reselling designer jewelry. It is a classic: “I am sure that [you name the nice store] will pay you exactly what you bought it for”. If your item is worth that much, I am sure that the store where you purchased it will buy it from you at that price. Go there and sell it to them (or at least try).

More likely than not, my diamond price calculator or instant jewelry appraisal tool will be correct in predicting the resale value of your fancy designer jewelry.

written by Joseph Dolginow

September of 2018


jewelry, designer, value