The difference between fee appraisals and free appraisals is this:
Jewelers who BUY your jewelry offer the FREE appraisal, which are not really true appraisals, but offers to buy- at the lowest price possible in order to resell your jewelry to make a profit for themselves. When they use the misleading phrase " We pay the highest prices" they really mean among other buyers- not the highest value that you can actually get. Even then, they ALL claim they pay the highest price. Who's telling the truth?
If you want to sell your item privately, you can normally get 2-3 times more than what a jeweler would offer. The profit is yours. After all, it is YOUR jewelry. Of course some people do not have the time to sell privately and need the cash right away. This is considered liquidation value- the lowest value you can get for your jewelry That's the "FREE" Appraisal purpose
In most cases, a jewelry buyer will pay you 25-30% of the WHOLESALE cost of your diamond. You will never be their diamond source and they would not pay even close to what they would pay from a diamond broker. This is because if they need to resell the diamond quickly, their diamond broker will pay them at least 10-15% more than they gave you- They will never lose.
It is the same with gold. There is a daily refining price that they get from the refiners. It goes up and down with the daily gold market price. They will NEVER pay you higher than this or anywhere near it . I hear "we pay 85%" all the time, which in most cases is just not true.
Selling your diamond:
The FREE Appraisal- 25-30% of wholesale Example - 1 carat diamond sells for 3,000.00 a carat Retail value is about 40% higher or 4,200.00 Jewelry buyer will give you $900.00 Private sale (fair market) can be 40-60% of RETAIL You sell privately ( online, to a friend, etc.) and you get about $2,100.00. More than DOUBLE the jeweler's offer. In most cases they will NOT tell you the color or clarity of your diamond. In fact, some will tell you it's "not a very good quality", yet still offer to buy it.
Ready to sell it yourself? I have done thousands of these type of appraisals. The appraisal includes all the information about any gemstones- color, clarity, size etc. plus gold content as well as finger size if a ring. I then put the full retail value of the item on the appraisal. You decide what price to sell it at, and I can help you with that as well. You can make hundreds...or thousands of dollars more!