Signet-owned jeweller giant H Samuel is trying to cash in on the thriving second-hand jewellery market by offering cash for unwanted items.

The venture is different from pawnbroking – which enables customers to buy back their goods – but is likely to have a similar appeal to cash-strapped consumers wanting to sell items for cash. H Samuel will not offer the second-hand product to customers, but sell it to businesses instead.

H Samuel’s offer, launched this week on its website, applies to white, yellow and rose gold jewellery and the retailer said it will offer “competitive rates” for gold from 9ct to 22ct.

Customers online can send their items in to be valued by a trained jeweller and if the customer is happy with the valuation a cheque will then be sent. The customer is under no obligation to accept the offer and goods will be returned for free.

H Samuel, which has 350 stores, hopes that the fact consumers can sell their jewellery through a trusted name with no obligation will attract more customers to its website.

Pawnbroker sales have soared since the recession began to bite because it is an easy way for people to raise extra cash. Although not a pawnbroking offer, shoppers may turn to the H Samuel service for similar reasons.

Verdict consulting director Neil Saunders said the H Samuel initiative is sensible. “In a recession people do cut down on jewellery as it is an expensive luxury item.”

“This will stimulate interest in the jewellery market and if H Samuel can recycle the jewellery and sell it on it can stimulate demand.
It can get customers to go to H Samuel instead of a pawnbroker.”

Verdict estimates that sales of new jewellery will fall 3.3 per cent this year to £3.68bn.

In the 13 weeks to August 1, like-for-likes at Signet’s UK arm, which includes H Samuel, slid 4.3 per cent, while total sales fell 0.4 per cent at constant exchange rates. The group will issue second-quarter figures on September 9.