So you have a ruby gemstone and you are thinking of selling it? Let’s take a look at what determines the value of your ruby and what you can do to sell it.
How Much Money Can You Get for Your Ruby?
The price you can get for your ruby depends on its quality characteristics, but there is one thing you should remember: It is unlikely that you will be able to sell a ruby gemstone for an amount that is even close to its retail price, especially if you are selling to jewelry stores.
In fact, depending on who buys your stone, you may even get less than 50% of what you bought the ruby for.
Often, you may get a better deal if you agree to exchange your gemstone for another piece of jewelry from the store and pay the price difference in cash.
First Step: Have Your Ruby Appraised
Before you set out to sell your ruby, it is good to have it appraised by a professional.
This way you will have some idea of what the stone is worth.
Even though you may not be able to sell it for its appraised value, comparing it with the prices jewelers are offering you will give you some indication as to how good of a deal you are getting.
If your ruby is in a ring or another piece of jewelry, you may be able to sell the entire item to a jewelry dealer. Some jewelry buyers purchase pieces from well-known brands (e.g., Cartier or Tiffany) or items that have antique value. For example, WP Diamonds buys such jewelry and you can get a reasonable price if your item is branded and in good condition.
You should have realistic expectations, though — you most likely won’t be able to sell your ruby jewelry at the price you paid for it or at current retail prices. Jewelry buyers usually buy used jewelry at significant discounts and it’s not uncommon for sellers to get offers at 50% of the original price or less.
What Determines the Value of Your Ruby?
The most important factors that affect the price you can get for your ruby are its color, clarity, carat weight, and cut.
Color: This is by far the most important determinant of ruby prices. In general, the more saturated the color of a ruby, the more valuable it is. The rubies that are worth the most have an intense red color of medium darkness.
There may be secondary hues such as violet or orange, and the most valuable undertones are those that underscore and amplify the stone’s main color.
Clarity: How clear a ruby is of internal defects is another important factor for how much the stone can be sold for. Most natural rubies, however, are expected to have some imperfections.
In general, the cleaner a ruby looks, the higher the price it can fetch. However, keep in mind that if a ruby is nearly flawless or perfectly clean, this might indicate that the stone is synthetic, and such gems tend to be cheaper.
Carat: The size of your ruby is directly related to its carat weight, and the bigger the stone, the more expensive it will be.
If your ruby is natural (as opposed to synthetic), its price will rise disproportionally with each carat, i.e., you should expect a 2-carat stone to be worth more than twice the price of a 1-carat ruby. This is because large natural rubies are very rare.
Cut: Rubies can be cut in a variety of shapes, but the most valuable stones are round. The cut of a ruby is not as important as its color and other characteristics, and in general, rubies are cut to maximize their color.
Although there are no precise guidelines for ruby cut proportions, the rule of thumb says that the most valuable round rubies have a height that is 60% to 80% of their width.
Other Factors Affecting Ruby Prices
There are some additional factors that can make your ruby more or less valuable:
Is the ruby raw or polished?
In general, polished rubies cost more than a raw ruby that needs to be cut in order to be sold as a gem. It is important to know that many jewelers don’t actually buy raw stones.
It is also not recommended to sell raw rubies as they are hard to value, and many appraisers won’t appraise them, so you may not even realize what the fair price for such a stone is.
Therefore, if you have a raw stone, you may want to first take it to a jeweler to have the ruby cut before you sell it.
Is your ruby natural or synthetic?
Synthetic rubies have the same chemical structure as natural ones, but synthetics are created in a lab.
Since natural rubies are rarer, they are more expensive.
Is the ruby treated?
A lot of the rubies on the market are actually treated to improve their color, and some are even dyed. Any treatment will diminish the price of your ruby relative to that of a similar but untreated stone.
If your ruby has been filled with a substance that masks its internal flaws, or if the stone has been covered with a film that makes its surface smoother, then you should expect these enhancements to reduce the price you may get.
Where to Sell Your Ruby
When selling your ruby, try to deal directly with the person who will be reselling it retail.
The more middlemen between you and the end consumer, the lower the price you will get. This is why it is better to negotiate with a retail jeweler who sells rubies than with a dealer that resells stones to stores.
Selling your ruby at an auction is another option, and you can even use some online auction websites.
In such a case, keep in mind that it is best if the stone is accompanied by a written appraisal. It should be issued by a reputable professional so that potential buyers can have some third-party verification of the stone’s characteristics.