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Buying your engagement ring at an online auction

22 February 2017

Grays O’Maras are regularly contracted to hold online jewellery auctions for diamond rings and other precious jewellery items that have been lost, stolen, or confiscated by the Australian Federal Police. The pieces up for auction have all been valued and authenticated by the expert valueers at Grays O’Maras who have been in the business for over 30 years, so buyers can be sure they are buying authentic and genuine pieces.

For buyers, there is a massive advantage for purchasing highly sought after jewellery at auction. The reserves are not high and buyers can get amazing pieces of diamonds and other jewellery that can retail for eight to nine times higher than the auction price.

Buying a second-hand engagement ring

One of the biggest assets in a married couple's relationship, the diamond engagement ring, might be an emotional asset and a symbol of love and commitment - but in the financial sense of the word, it isn't an asset at all.

In fact, it's worth at least 50% less than you paid for the moment you leave the jewellery store. 

In 2015, the current average cost of an engagement ring is between $4,770 - $5,580 [insert footnote link:1 http://www.weddingstats.org/average-cost-of-an-engagement-ring.html] .However, just like a new car, when you buy a diamond, it loses value the minute you walk out of the store. According to Diamond Cutters International [insert footnote link:2 http://diamondcuttersintl.com/qa/mrs-4/] , the depreciation level is steep. Your diamond is worth about 19.7% of the original price you paid once you leave the store.

For example, if you purchased a $10,000 ring, and then a few weeks later tried to sell it, you could expect to get about $2,000 for it. That's a dramatic loss for any purchase.

People still buy into the belief that an engagement ring should cost a month's salary or more. But that "rule" came from advertising campaigns by diamond seller De Beers. Unfortunately, the salary myth causes people to spend way more than they can afford, and makes them feel self-conscious or uneasy about looking at second-hand rings. 

Just because a diamond has been worn before doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful or valuable. 

A recent Grays O’Maras auction featured 18kt diamond engagement rings with low reserves of just $490 even though they feature a stunning princess cut diamond as well as an 18kt white gold diamond ring with three rows of diamonds each with eight round brilliant diamonds at a reserve of just $420.

What to look for when buying a second-hand engagement ring?

As it is true with buying any diamond, the 4Cs hold true. Carat, cut, clarity and colour are universally acknowledged as the standards in buying diamond.


The Carat weight has the biggest impact on the price of a diamond. For example, a two carat diamond is more than double the price of a one carat diamond. In the diamond trade, size is less important than the quality of the diamond; consumers tend to prefer larger carat weights because of their higher status. Large carat weight alone, though, does not alone signify a better ring.


The colour of a diamond has the second biggest impact on its price, after carat weight. Diamond colour can range from yellow (“light”) to colourless (“crystal clear”); the more colourless, the more valuable.


The cut of a diamond refers to the way the diamond was faceted to allow light to reflect from it. In a well-cut diamond, light enters the diamond and reflects straight back to the viewer’s eye. The width and depth can have an effect on how light travels within the diamond, and how it exits in the form of brilliance.


“Clarity” describes the absence of presence of internal and external flaws. A perfect stone with perfect clarity is rare, although some flaws cannot be seen without using magnification.

Interesting facts about engagement rings

  • The most popular engagement ring cut is the round brilliant diamond
  • The average woman’s ring size is about 6
  • December is the most popular month for buying engagement rings
  • The idea that a man should spend 2 months’ salary for an engagement ring originated from De Beers advertising materials
  • Round cut also known as brilliant cut is the most popular diamond shape. A round brilliant diamond has a total of 58 facets including 33 facets on the crown and 25 facets on the pavilion part
  • Before World War II, only 10% of engagement rings contained diamonds

Sydney based Grays O’Maras are often contracted to hold online jewellery auctions on behalf of the Australian Federal Police. Doing your research and knowing what you want and are willing to pay is key to making the right auction decision.


Buying your engagement ring at an online auction

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