How to sell gemstones for cash in 2021

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Gemstones including, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires can be sold for cash, much the same as diamonds and other jewelry. This post summarizes how to understand the value of your gemstone, the process of selling a gemstone for the highest price, and the most reputable gemstone buyers.

How can I sell my gemstones?

Where can I sell a gemstone for cash?

Whether your gemstones are loose or are a component of jewelry, you can typically sell your gemstone to the same buyers that might be interested in purchasing a diamond or precious metals. Jewelers, gemstone dealers, diamond buyers, diamond exchanges, antique dealers, and pawn shops all typically accept gemstones. Some may even specialize in buying and selling stones. Selling through a consignment store is also an option.

Who buys gemstones near me?

Pawnshops, jewelers, local cash-for-gold shops and estate and antique dealers in your area likely buy diamonds. There are pros and cons to selling locally: Pros include that you may personally know and trust a gemstone buyer, and it can feel safer to sell in-person.

However, online diamond buyers that have good reputations are incentivized by sheer Internet competition to pay the highest price, and maintain a good, honest business because their potential client base is national or international — and not just local. Plus, online businesses do not have to invest in expensive retail locations or sales people, which keeps their cost down, and can pass the savings on to buyers.

What about selling to an online gemstone buyer?

Online gemstone buyers are another excellent option for selling your stones. These buyers operate through websites or online platforms to either purchase your gemstone directly, or to connect you with a buyer who might be interested in your stone.  

Worthy is an online marketplace where you can auction jewelry, including gemstones like alexandrite, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. When you sell through Worthy, they will take professional photographs of your jewelry, complete a GIA lab report to verify the gemstone’s composition, and market your item to buyers in their auction marketplace — taking a seller’s fee out of the final price paid to you. 

CashforGoldUSA specializes in buying jewelry and precious metals, paying within 24 hours of receiving your item, and guaranteeing the highest price, or they will return your item free of charge immediately. CashforGoldUSA stands out as one of the oldest and most reputable online gold buyers, as a Fox Business News investigation found the company to pay three times its competitors.

Both CashforGoldUSA and Worthy have A Better Business Bureau ratings.

Understand your gemstones and what they’re worth

In order to get the most money for your gemstone, you must understand what they’re worth. While there are a number of factors that will influence the value of your gemstone, the most important are the same as for diamonds: 

  • Color: What specific color or hue is your stone? The rarer and more vibrant the color, generally speaking, the more valuable your gemstone.
  • Clarity: The clearer your stone, the more valuable it will be.
  • Carat: The larger your gemstone, the more valuable it will be.
  • Cut: If your gemstone is processed, the specific cut and quality of cut will impact its value.

Also, any stone treatments (such as heating) can potentially impact value greatly, even if the end result is a large, clear, and vibrant stone. Also, the origin of colored stones play a large part in their value. For example, with all factors being equal, an emerald from Colombia is worth more than an emerald from Zambia, just like a Burmese ruby is valued higher than one from Mozambique.

While it may be possible to reference online charts and resources to conduct some sort of assessment for yourself, in order to get an accurate picture of your gemstone’s worth you need an appraisal.

How to appraise your gemstone

You can find appraisers who specialize in appraising gemstones; many jewelers and buyers also appraise stones. The most accurate of appraisals will require laboratory testing to measure color and clarity against scientific benchmarks and recent market data — whether yours is a loose stone, newer piece, or estate or antique jewelry

These posts will help you understand more about reselling fine jewelry for the highest price, including necklaces, engagement rings, earrings, bracelets, and pieces from Tiffany and Cartier — as well as timepieces.

How much is alexandrite worth?

Alexandrite is a popular gemstone in how its color can change in different lights: blue or green in daylight, and purple, pink or red in incandescent or candlelight. As such, the value of your alexandrite is most impacted by the purity of its color, as well as how dramatic and noticeable the color change.

Other factors, such as clarity, carat size, and cut will also determine the value of your alexandrite. Low-quality alexandrite can sell for as little as $100, but high-quality stones can sell for tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How much are emeralds worth?

As mentioned above, color, clarity, carat, and cut will all determine the value of your emerald. The most important of these factors, however, is color. 

The most valuable emeralds are typically those that exhibit a vivid, saturated, not-too-dark  bluish-green to a pure green color. The color should be evenly distributed throughout the gem, and the gem should be fully transparent. Generally speaking, the richer and more saturated the hue  of the emerald, the more valuable it will be. 

Emeralds sell for anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. 

How much is a ruby worth?

As with other colored gemstones, color is one of the most important factors determining the price of your ruby. The most valuable of rubies tend to be an intense deep red in color, and may even be a slightly purplish red. Likewise, the clearer the stone—the fewer inclusions, or impurities—the more valuable it will be. 

While richer and deeper hues are  typically better for gemstones, if a ruby is too dark in color it may actually negatively affect the price. This is typically a concern with stones that are so dark that the color of the ruby cannot be appreciated because it absorbs too much light. On the other end of the spectrum, once they are clearly pink and not red, they’re pink sapphires  can also fetch competitive prices. 

Generally speaking, the rarer the color, the more valuable the ruby will ultimately be. The most common hues falling in the middle of the spectrum between pinks and deeper reds can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars, with rarer and higher-quality stones selling for tens of thousands of dollars. 

How much is a sapphire worth?

The value of sapphires, like rubies and emeralds, is predominantly tied to the color of the stone. Stones which have a high degree of clarity, color intensity, and saturation will be worth more than stones of lesser quality. Note: Treatments a stone may have undergone will play a part in its final value. It is likely that a smaller untreated ruby with amazing clarity, color, and saturation will fetch much more than a larger, heated ruby with the same clarity, color, and saturation. Heating sapphires and rubies to achieve a more desirable color is an accepted treatment, so untreated stones with naturally desirable colors are more rare and hence valued more.   

While most people think of blue gemstones when they think of sapphires, the truth is that these gems can be found in a wide range of colors. Blue, pink, purple, orange, and yellow sapphires are all highly sought after. One of the rarest, and therefore most valuable, of colors is the Padparadscha sapphire, which is pink-orange  in color.

Sapphires range in price from $25 to $11,000 per carat.

How much is opal worth?

Opal is a unique stone in how it reflects light, and as such the value of opal is often tied to these unique qualities. The class (single vs. doublet vs. triplet, body tone (white vs. black opal), play of color (variety of colors reflected in light), brilliance (clarity of the stone), and internal pattern can all significantly impact the value of an opal. Rare opals can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars — or be worth tens of dollars.

Learn more about the price of gold and selling gold for the highest price, including gold buyers near you, the best silver buyers, as well as what platinum is worth.

Bottom line: Best place to sell gemstones

If you have a large gemstone or gemstone jewelry worth more than $1,o00, then Worthy.com is a quality auction platform that will help you sell your item for the highest price to multiple bidders.

If your gemstone or jewelry is worth $1,000 or less, CashforGoldUSA is a the best place to sell your item for fast cash within 24 hours.

Learn how much your silver is worth and how to sell it

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

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