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How to Trade in Your Diamond or Engagement Ring

Best practices for upgrading or exchanging your diamond and getting the best value

By Mike Fried,

Have you been thinking about when to upgrade your engagement or diamond ring? Whether you have an engagement ring that’s been passed on from your mom or grandma, or you just want to upgrade to a larger center stone or switch to a different cut, it’s becoming increasingly common to upgrade your diamond ring over time. 

No matter your situation, plenty of options are available for upgrading or trading in a diamond ring. There are vendors who specialize in upgrading rings and trading in diamonds, as well as ways to ensure you receive the highest value. Many jewelers offer upgrade policies that allow you to trade in your original ring for a new one of greater value. We recommend that you always first check with the jeweler where you purchased your ring to see what programs they have in place and what type of offer they can make.

You may desire to upgrade or trade in your diamond for a number of reasons. You may want to:

  • Change the style of your diamond ring
  • Upgrade your engagement ring to something larger
  • Trade in a diamond ring you received from a family member or special friend
  • Upgrade a diamond ring to make an engagement ring

As for how long it takes to upgrade an engagement ring? As long as you use the right vendor, you generally won’t need to wait for longer than you would if you simply ordered a new stone and setting.

Best way sto upgrade an engagement ring

Before pursuing such options, ensure you understand the trade in process. You want to maintain the most value for your diamond and choose a path that will give you the best final result: a diamond ring you love.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Bottom Line Recommendation:

In order to get the highest value for your diamond trade-in or upgrade, we recommend you contact Abe Mor’s diamond buying program. Due to their extensive expertise and connections within the diamond industry, Abe Mor is your best bet for getting top dollar with the least amount of headaches. You can securely ship your diamond to Abe Mor from anywhere in the world.

You can also consider the Blue Nile diamond upgrade program, the James Allen lifetime upgrade program or the Brian Gavin lifetime upgrade

Read our selling your diamond article to be as prepared as possible.

How to Upgrade Your Diamond or Engagement Ring?

Upgrading your diamond or engagement ring is usually a fairly easy process. However, the best approach depends on several factors, the most important of which is where you bought the ring in the first place. 

For example, if you or your partner bought your engagement ring from Blue Nile, James Allen or Brian Gavin Diamonds, we recommend using their respective upgrade programs. These allow you to trade in your old diamond and upgrade to a new one without any extra fees or surcharges.

We’ve covered these programs in more detail below, in our section on the best diamond dealers for trading in and upgrading a diamond.

If you or your partner bought your ring from a local jewelry store, you’ll usually need to sell the diamond before you can upgrade to a larger one. We’ve also explained the best options for this in the section below, along with our tips to help you get the best deal.

You should know that the value you receive on your current diamond will be dependent on the current markets as well. Jewelers account for those in their pricing. Richemont (parent company of Cartier) CEO Johann Rupert recently commented on the current market: “It is highly uncertain how the political, economic and social landscapes will evolve in Europe and in our other key markets,” he said. “We only know that we will likely face volatile times ahead as central banks seek to rein in inflation while governments try to manage severe cost-of-living pressures.”

Deal Alert: Get 25% off sitewide at James Allen

As for the various ways in which you can upgrade your ring, your options include:

  • Upgrading to a larger diamond. One of the most common ways to upgrade your ring is to change to a larger diamond. A larger center stone, such as a 2 carat or 3 carat center diamond, can give your ring greater presence and a more dramatic appearance.
  • Changing to a different diamond shape. Diamonds come in a wide range of cuts and shapes, from the classic round brilliant cut to fancy shapes. If you love your setting but feel like it’s time for a change, consider switching to a center stone of a different shape.
  • Adding extra diamonds. If you currently have a solitaire engagement ring, switching to a halo, pavé or side stone setting can be a great way to add extra beauty and sparkle to the ring without changing the center diamond.
  • Changing the setting. A wide range of different settings are available in addition to the halo, pavé and side stone settings mentioned above. Our list of engagement ring styles features 17 different setting types that could be worth considering for an upgrade.
  • Choosing a different type of metal. Tired of your yellow gold ring? Consider changing to a setting in a different metal, such as rose gold or platinum. Changing to a new setting in a different metal can give your ring a new look while keeping the same center stone.
  • Repurposing your original diamond. If you’d like to keep your existing diamond while upgrading your ring, consider reusing it in a pendant or other jewelry.

Your engagement ring is a deeply personal item, meaning there’s no “perfect” way for everyone to upgrade their ring. Pick the upgrade option that best suits your tastes, personality and budget and you’ll end up with a beautiful piece of jewelry that’s uniquely yours.

Where To Trade In or Upgrade Your Diamond Ring

Trading in your diamond at just any vendor or jewelry store can be detrimental. If you’re not careful and haven’t done the research, it’s likely you’ll receive far less than the maximum value for the ring (or, honestly, anywhere close to it).

Many diamond vendors have trade-in policies, but that doesn’t mean they’re good policies. While the offers may seem great at first glance, many of the companies that offer full value upgrades are companies that ripped you off to begin with. Even if a company is offering a “full upgrade” or “the full value of the original purchase price,” it’s simply not a good deal if the diamonds they sell are of poor quality.

Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Ring in a Milgrain Pave Setting
Cushion Cut In a Milgrain Pave Setting

For example, let’s say you originally purchased your diamond from Shane Co. You may think it is the better route for your trade-in because you get the full value for your original purchase. But you’ll end up overpaying on the new diamond by an obscene amount—meaning you’ll end up losing money in the end. We call that: “throwing good money after bad.” Your original purchase from them was likely less than stellar. By going with them for a trade-in, you miss the opportunity to find an extraordinary upgraded diamond, all while putting your money toward an overpriced diamond.

Both brick-and-mortar stores and online vendors can pull these tricks. That’s why the vendor you choose for your diamond upgrade or trade-in is extremely important.

We recommend going with a diamond vendor that offers excellent value from the start. Our extensive experience and working with a range of diamond dealers have shown us which vendors you can trust.

The vendors below are highly trustworthy and reputable options for your upgrade.

Abe Mor

Ring from Abe Mor

We highly suggest using Abe Mor Diamonds for your diamond ring upgrade or trade-in.  They offer a secure shipping program that allows you to send your diamond to them from anywhere in the world. Abe Mor’s highly experienced diamond experts will examine your diamond and make you an offer that’s likely to exceed any amount you’ll receive elsewhere.  Their longstanding relationships with jewelry retailers gives them insight into market pricing—translating to higher offers for you. You can find our full Abe Mor review here.

Blue Nile

The Blue Nile diamond upgrade program offers a lifetime diamond upgrade program on all AGS and GIA graded diamonds. They maintain the largest online inventory of diamonds and settings and emphasize remarkable diamond quality. Trading in or upgrading your diamond ring with Blue Nile ensures you’re getting a high-quality diamond at an excellent price. You can read our full review of Blue Nile here.

James Allen

14 k Rose Gold Pave Engagement Ring

James Allen offers a lifetime upgrade program where diamonds can be exchanged at 100% credit for any replacement diamond of at least 2X or greater value. James Allen is known for their phenomenal customer service and appealing prices. Their website utilizes advanced diamond imagery, allowing you to verify that your new diamond is truly stunning. Read our full review of James Allen here.

Brian Gavin Diamonds

Brian Gavin offers their lifetime upgrade policy which allows your Brian Gavin Signature diamond value to be put toward your upgrade. The “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows collection presents super-ideal cuts—giving you the most brilliant diamonds, especially for 3 carat, 4 carat and 5 carat diamonds. Read our Brian Gavin review here.

The Best Option for a Trade-In

When you trade in a diamond, you want to get the highest value possible. You don’t want to be cheated or ripped off—like the many people who don’t know where to go for their trade-in.

The best way to get the maximum value for your trade-in is to find the company that offers the top dollar for buybacks. Not only should you seek the top dollar, but find a convenient trade-in option that works for you.

That’s why we so highly recommend Abe Mor’s Diamond Buying Program. Many of our readers have had exceptional experiences with selling their diamonds to Abe Mor. They received the highest offer possible—and ultimately gained peace of mind knowing that they got the value they deserved.

In our eyes, Abe Mor doesn’t even have competition when it comes to selling diamonds. They’re uniquely positioned to handle diamond upgrades and trade-ins. For instance, one of the first trade-in readers we sent to Abe Mor found the perfect fit. The reader upgraded their 4ct diamond to a gorgeous 8.50ct diamond, and Abe Mor even built them a stunning ring for the stone.

We’ve reviewed other major online sites that you can sell your ring to, and they didn’t even come close. Abe Mor even offers to pay for the insured shipping of the ring in order for them to inspect it. They also consistently offer higher prices than any of their competitors. Combining that with their professionalism is a winning scenario.

The best way to sell your diamond is to contact Abe Mor directly. They’re your best bet for getting top dollar with the least amount of headaches. Be sure to read our selling your diamond article to be as prepared as possible.

Determining the Value of Your Diamond

In order to determine the value of the diamond you’d like to sell or trade in, you need to get a professional assessment from a reputable and trustworthy buyer (we suggest Abe Mor). To be sure you’re getting the best deal, read the instructions below to learn how to calculate how much your diamond is worth.

Follow our expert guide for finding the best value for your diamond:

  1. Contact Abe Mor Diamonds through their diamond buying program to see how much they’re willing to buy the diamond for.
  2. Look for your desired diamond ring online with a reputable vendor like Blue Nile or James Allen. Make sure the diamonds you’re looking at are GIA certified (don’t fall for appraisals). Figure out how much the net cost of that new ring is, subtracting out the value of your trade-in. For example, if your new 1.43 carat diamond ring costs $20,597, and you’re receiving $10,575 for your trade-in, your net cost for the new ring is $10,022.
  3. Compare that to what you’d pay out-of-pocket for the new diamond if you sold your original diamond to Abe Mor. Using the same example, if you get a diamond sale price from Abe Mor of $11,585, it would be advantageous to sell with Abe Mor and buy the diamond from James Allen (for a net cost of only $9,012), rather than take the trade-in (net cost of $10,022). In the end, you simply need to compare what Abe Mor is giving you compared with another company’s trade-in offer.

Follow these steps to ensure you get the top value for your diamond and that you end up with a stunning, new ring from a reputable seller.

It’s important to understand that your diamond’s resale worth will be nowhere close to what you paid for it. We explain the reasons why fully in our article about selling diamonds.

The two main reasons you’ll not receive the value of what you originally paid:

  • Profit percentages were included in the original diamond’s purchase price
  • There’s no real consensus on a diamond’s “market price”

Read our article about selling diamonds and reach out to us if you have any questions or want to discuss your particular situation.

Choosing Your New Diamond Ring

Our goal is for you to end up with the most exceptional diamond ring at an excellent price. We want you to get the best trade-in value and find a new diamond ring that’s stunning.

The best way to get the most beautiful diamond ring is to spend in the areas that greatly affect a diamond’s beauty, and scale back in the areas that won’t be noticed by the naked eye.

To do this, we recommend reviewing the diamond yourself or having an expert assist you.

Follow our expert recommendations when searching for your new diamond:

  • Certification: Ensure a GIA certificate accompanies any diamond you’re considering.
  • Diamond shape: Choose the diamond shape that’s most appealing to you. Shape should be decided based on your personal style and taste. Pick a setting that matches your style and provides stability to your diamond.
  • Diamond cut: Find a diamond with an ideal cut or an Excellent grade on the GIA scale. An exceptionally cut diamond will maximize the brilliance and fire more than any other feature.
  • Diamond clarity: Look for diamonds with a VS1 and VS2 clarity grade. This level of clarity offers the greatest value for what can be seen by the naked eye. Blemishes and inclusions will go unnoticed at these grades.
  • Diamond color: Consider diamonds in the nearly colorless range of G-I. To the naked eye, these diamonds appear just as clear as diamonds in the D-F range but cost much less.
  • Online diamond dealer: Select a diamond from a reputable diamond vendor with high-quality cuts and years of expertise such as Brian Gavin DiamondsBlue Nile and James Allen.
  • Expert assistance: Lean on the experts. Ask for the complimentary help of a diamond expert to review and search for high-quality diamonds. Check out resources like our 2 carat and 3 carat Buying Guides.

Final Thoughts

Make sure you get the absolute best value for your trade-in or upgrade. Choose the Abe Mor diamond buying program or a reputable vendor with an upgrade policy like James Allen, Blue Nile or Brian Gavin.

When in doubt, reach out to us and we’ll walk you through every step of the trade-in and upgrade process.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online. Get 25% off sitewide at James Allen
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing.Save 25% on settings at Blue Nile!

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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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