Just Ask Jeff: I sold a stone to a jeweler and later found out he made a killing on it… Am I too cheap?


I sold a stone to a jeweler and later found out he made a killing on it… Am I too cheap?

You could be, but usually not. You certainly did not sell it for less than you thought it was worth at the time. Here is just my two cents on the pricing.

What the jeweler is making on a stone he has bought from you, should/is not really be your concern. People always seem to worry about what the other guy is making. What you need to worry about is what are you making? What you need to know is that you are making good money and are happy with the transaction (without knowing what they are making). Worrying about what the next guy is making will just drive you nuts, and likely out of business. If I sell a stone to a jeweler for what I felt was fair market value, say $100 and later find that he sold it for $500. More power to him. He will usually be back wanting to spend the $500 with me. The better he does the better I do. I try to make good money and be fair about the pricing. How do I price my stones?

Lets be honest when you buy a stone for $10 and cut it and sell it for $200 do you go back to the rough dealer and say. Gosh, I made a lot on that stone here is your share? I doubt it… More than likely you try to buy the rest of the parcel the stone came out of, at least you should. It is expected for you (hopefully) to make money and the stone dealer did when he sold it to you. That is the system. Trying to figure the other guy’s profit is just not something that can be done with any accuracy, besides the fact that it is really not your business. There are too many variables and expenses that you are clueless about.

Raising a price on a stone after the fact (or next time), because you think maybe the jeweler is making too much money on those stones, is a very good way to not sell any more stones to that jeweler and anybody he knows. If you were pretty happy with the transaction (and made good money) until you figured out what the jeweler was making when they resold the stone. Then be happy. Do not let the greedy grabber get the better of you. We all have that thought sometimes, just lock it away and ignore it. You were happy, enjoy the sale and the fact that you have a jeweler that wants to pay fair money for your stones.

Price your stones so that YOU are happy with what you are making. If a jeweler makes what you think is a killing on that stone, be an adult and say, “I am glad he made out on the stone…” He likely did not make as much as you think he did by the time all of his expenses are figured in. Be fair and you will make a lot more money in the long run. There will be stones that the jeweler will buy from you over the long haul that he may have to give names to because they sit in his cases so long and his money is tied up. I have a stone named Clyde in my case, he/it is getting to be a regular, it is a pretty stone that I have just not found the right person for yet. But I will sooner or later.

Would you take a stone back that a jeweler bought 6 months ago and he cannot sell it? Probably not. Although I have actually done that on occasions when the jeweler was a very good customer and the stone was in good shape. I let them trade for another stone.

Note: They really appreciate it and often trade up and spend a little more.

The bottom line here is that. When you sold the stone you made money, if the stone was the going rate or close to it you did the right thing. If you sold the stone for less than the going rate, it is your fault, not the jewelers. You set the price. If you do not know what the going rate is, that is your fault, you should know before you try to sell any stone. If the stone is unusual and you cannot compare it to anything commercial (this happens in custom cutting). Price it so you think you are fair and making a decent amount of money for your time a trouble.

Also keep in mind that if the stone is a novelty or unusual, it will be a very fickle market both for you and the jeweler. Just because it went the first time does not mean it will again. Move on, if the jeweler made a killing he is just that much more likely to buy more stones from you. Believe me when I say. things usually even out over the long run. Do not let a little greed on your part ruin your chances for the long run with a jeweler that is willing to pay a fair price for your work. They are not all that easy to find. You will make a killing with them sooner or later on something, just sit back and wait on your turn. When it happens (and it will) just smile and say thank you. You did earn it.

Gram Faceting Archive of Information
This edited version of an article by the late Jeff Graham is part of a special archived informational series from Gram Faceting. Used with permission.