When you need cash fast, it's almost too easy to run to the nearest jewelry dealer with jewelry you haven't worn in years. Even if you don't need the money at the moment, it seems silly to keep the necklace your ex-boyfriend gave you – especially if your new one finds out you still have it.
But before you rush to ditch your old jewelry for fast cash, try selling it in an online auction, as you may be able to sell it for five to 10 times the amount that you'd be offered at a jewelry store or pawn shop.
For example, let's say you inherited an antique watch that you never wear and the jewelry store offers you $200 for it. You search ebay.com for a similar watch and find they are actually selling for close to $900. After auction listing fees for as little as 35 cents and final value fees (commission charged on the item's selling price) totaling $67, you'll still earn $632 more than at the jewelry shop.
Can you get the money as fast as you would at a local store?
Pretty close. You can list an item on Monday for an online auction for 24 hours. If it sells, you can get paid by Tuesday electronically through PayPal and have the money transferred into your bank account within 5 days. However, it's better to list your auction for 7 days to allow more potential buyers to the see the item and bid the price up.
How do you know if it will sell?
You don't know for sure. But the best way to increase your odds is to read the descriptions of closed auctions which did sell and give your product a similar description. However, you want to be accurate about describing imperfections, so you don't get returns or complaints. For instance, if your item has a small scratch, say so.
Can It Sell For Less?
You can set a reserve price that is the minimum you can take.
What if it doesn't sell?
Than you can go to a jewelry shop or have a garage sale. If you go to a jewelry shop, compare prices offered from at least 3 different stores to get the most money.
Alternatives to Ebay
There are a variety of auction sites out there such as: ubid.com, amazon.com, ebid.com and overstock.com. But before you use any site, look at items similar to yours on the sites you are considering for the final sales price. Also, peruse the site for ease of use and look into your options for collecting your payment.
You can't lose by listing your item with an online auction site. The worst that can happen is that you have to take it to a store afterwards, and the best that can happen is that you multiply your profit 10 times over.
For further reading, checkout Should You Pawn Your Valuables? and Contemplating Collectible Investments.