If you want to sell an engagement ring in a pawn shop, your only strategy is tough bargaining. Be ready for low offers, and be prepared to walk away from several pawn shops until you get a price that meets your requirements. You should also have a Plan B, because you may not get the price you want.
It’s vital that you know the real market value of your engagement ring and that you won’t be fooled by a practiced pawnbroker spiel about how your ring is only worth a fraction of what you thought. Read on to learn how to negotiate with America’s toughest pawnbrokers, and discover another way to get a much higher price for your engagement ring.
What is a Pawn Shop?
Pawnbroking is a major business in the US and pawn brokers are the go to buyers for millions of Americans who want to sell used goods. In some neighborhoods there is a pawnbroker on (almost) every block and many are open for business day and night. The traditional image of a pawn shop is a seedy store on the edge of a slum neighborhood that operates in a legal grey area. It’s certainly true that some pawnbrokers operate a discreet sideline fencing stolen goods. Others may turn a blind eye when they’re presented with valuable items by dubious sellers.
There are also many legitimate pawn shops that specialize in high end merchandise and won’t take the risk of buying stolen goods. The owners and managers run straight businesses and will require a valid photo ID or proof of ownership from sellers.The fact that they are law-abiding doesn’t necessarily mean that they are entirely honest. If you try to sell a diamond engagement ring, you should expect to hear some lies about its market price and quality.
How do Pawn Shops make Money?
Pawn shops traditionally offered a service to poor people who needed money and couldn’t get loans, or who were too wise to approach loan sharks. If you took an item of property to a pawnbroker, he’d accept it as security against a small loan. You’d receive a ticket for your goods and could redeem them with a future cash payment. If you returned with the money, the pawnbroker made a small profit. If you didn’t, he’d sell your property. Poor people would often take out short-term loans against household items, work tools, or clothing.
Some modern pawn stores also offer short-term loans against items of property. It’s still possible to hock any personal item with a resale value. These could include musical instruments, guns, electrical goods, jewelry, or literally anything that is easy to resell. Most people will take a one-month ticket, but when you walk into a pawn store everything is negotiable.
For the most part, pawnbrokers simply buy second-hand goods outright. The majority of clients don’t want their possessions back and are happy just to take the cash. The problem for the clients is that it’s usually a lot less cash than they were hoping for. There usually comes a moment when the pawn store manager simply says
“Look buddy, there are another twenty pawn stores in this district. They’re all going to make the same offer – or even less. You may as well take the money.”
As a rule of thumb, quality second-hand goods sell for between 30-60% of their original retail price. For a pawnbroker to make a profit, he has to be incredibly tough when it comes to making offers. That could mean offering a seller 10 – 15% of whatever they paid for their item a few years ago. The pawnbroker has to pay rent, utilities, taxes, employee salaries, and a host of other business expenses. Any prospective buyer can google the price of second-hand goods and pawn stores are also competing with eBay and Craigslist. Don’t expect to find kindness or sentimentality in a pawn store – it’s strictly business.
How To Sell An Engagement Ring At A Pawn Shop
Now that you know how pawn stores operate, you may be wondering if you can even get a fair price for your engagement ring. Well. probably not, but there are definitely some strategies and techniques that you can use as a seller.
5 Top Tips for Bargaining with Pawnbrokers
- Know the market value of your ring
- Take any certification or appraisals that you have
- Set a minimum price in your mind and don’t budge from it
- Take a friend along if you’re not naturally assertive or are not a good bargainer
- Memorise the names of a few other pawn stores in the area and use them as bargaining leverage.
When you show your engagement ring to a pawnbroker he’ll probably react with polite skepticism and an apparent lack of interest. The first bargaining tactic he’ll use is to act like he sees twenty similar rings a day and can’t really be bothered with them.
When he sees your disappointed reaction, he’ll take a second look (like he’s doing you a favor) and then tell you that either:
- There isn’t much demand for these right now
- It isn’t the wedding season and sales are slow
- There’s a glut on the market due to COVID-19
- I’d be taking a big chance on something like this
- It’s not a bad ring, but nobody’s buying this style anymore
Don’t be fooled if the pawnbroker produces a jewelers loupe and carefully examines the diamond. He’s almost certainly not a trained jeweler and definitely not a gemologist. All he can do is verify that the diamond is real and see if it has any visible inclusions (flaws).
Pawnbrokers are very shrewd judges of character and have years of experience when it comes to weighing up customers. A successful pawnbroker is a skilled street psychologist. He’ll fix a final price in his mind and then make you a lower offer. He’ll be looking for weakness, naivete, lack of assertiveness, desperation for money, or even just an agreeable nature and an eagerness to please others. Whatever he senses, he’ll adjust his bargaining strategy to exploit it.
|Important InformationAny experienced pawn store owner will almost always want to buy your diamond engagement ring. He knows for a fact that he can immediately call a professional online jewelry buyer like Gemesti and make a clear profit on the ring within 48 hours. He doesn’t need to display the ring in his store and wait for a client, or even try to sell the ring to a local jeweler. A FedEx courier will come to the store, take the ring for a free appraisal, and the money will go straight into his bank account.
Know the market value of your ring
If you know the actual market value of your engagement ring, you can immediately counter a low initial offer. Mention that you had the ring appraised by a jeweler and the resale value is not the $500 he’s offered but more like $1,200. You understand that he needs to make a profit, and you’d be willing to take $1,100 but not a cent less.
When he tries to explain that this isn’t actually the case and the jeweler misled you, or didn’t take into account the fact that…. You can produce your GIA certificate and point out that the 1.5-carat diamond has the following gradings…
Your goal is to control the conversation and politely cut off all opportunities to undermine your price. Be quietly assertive and confident – and don’t waste words. Either he’ll make an offer that you can live with, or you’ll leave the store.
If you have a friend with you (always a good idea) your friend can play bad cop and hint that you’re wasting your time. A little bit of impatience is a nice touch, but don’t be aggressive with it. You can act like you are ready to defer to your friend’s judgment.
If things go well and the pawnbroker is coming towards your minimum price, there may be a stalling point where he makes his ‘final’ offer. If you memorised the names of a couple of local rivals, now’s the time to use them. “That’s too low, We Buy Gold offered me $1,050 and O’Leary offered me $1,100”.
Be Ready to Walk Away
There will be pawnbrokers who you can’t sway with any bargaining technique. Or they may be determined to call your bluff and see if you come back again in a day or two. Be ready to break off the conversation and walk away. Don’t let the pawn broker manipulate you into feeling like you’re being rude or that you’ve wasted his time. Just get up and leave.
How To Sell An Engagement Ring At A Pawn Shop
It’s a fact of life that some pawn stores attract a criminal clientele and other lowlifes. Even if a pawnbroker is running a completely honest business, he’s still likely to get occasional visits from people trying to sell stolen goods. Even in small towns, there may be a problem with junkies trying to make some quick cash from the proceeds of a burglary.
Not every pawn store is located in a rough neighborhood. Many are just typical stores in ordinary commercial districts. They are also protected by security cameras and their parking lots are well observed with plenty of passers by. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking some basic precautions when you visit a pawn store. The bottom line is that you’ll either be carrying a diamond engagement ring, or the money that you were just paid for it.
- Unless you are very physically capable, or have a concealed carry permit, take a friend. If lowlifes see respectable or prosperous looking people going into a pawn store, they may be tempted. If you’re not obviously carrying electrical goods or other items to pawn, it’s a reasonable inference that you might be selling jewelry. Women on their own will be seen as particularly easy targets.
- If there are other customers in the store, wait for them to leave. You can pretend to take an interest in the merchandise on display or simply go out and come back later. There’s no reason for random strangers to see that you have a diamond engagement ring on your person.
- Don’t give the pawnbroker any personal information unless you close the sale. If he’s taking the ring and paying you for it, he may insist on seeing some photo ID. Otherwise, he doesn’t need to know anything about you. Neither do any of his employees.
- When you leave the store – either with your ring or with a bankroll – don’t linger in the area. Drive away and make sure that you’re not followed. You don’t have to use spy movie style counter surveillance techniques. Just take a look around as you leave the store and continue to be aware of your surroundings. If you were paid cash, it’s possibly a good idea to drive straight to the bank and deposit it.
Is there a Better Way to Sell my Engagement Ring?
Yes, selling your engagement ring online to a professional buyer like Gemesti is a much better option. You’ll get a higher price, will be treated with courtesy and respect, and will have complete security. Here’s how it works:
www.gemesti.com connects you to a personal client services manager. There’s a simple online form on the homepage that allows you to describe your engagement ring. If you want, you can also upload digital photos of the ring, or any certificates or appraisals that you have. These allow Gemesti to make an approximate price estimate, based on their market knowledge.
You’ll quickly get a call back from your new client services manager. He’ll make a provisional offer based on the information that you provided. If you like the offer, you can start the sales process rolling.
- You’ll get an email with a printable label or a QR code to your cell phone. These allow you to schedule free secure FedEx shipping for your ring. The overnight courier service will ship the ring to the well-known EGL US gemologist laboratory. Your free shipment is insured up to a value of $100,000.
- The gemologist will film the receipt and opening of your package and get a closeup of the ring on camera. This is to create a record of the ring and ascertain that it arrived undamaged.
- The gemologist will appraise the ring and send Gemesti a report detailing its market value. Your client services manager will contact you with a formal price offer.
- If you accept the offer, you’ll be emailed a sales agreement. Upload the signed forms and your money will immediately be transferred to your account.
- Very occasionally Gemesti will decline to buy a ring, or the client will reject the final offer. If this happens, your ring will be returned free of charge by a secure courier.
If you want a fast, convenient online sale that ends at a fair price and same-day payment, check out Gemesti. It’s a family run business with over three generations of experience in the jewelry industry.