Published on September 28, 2022 | By Gold Expert

Selling your gold jewelry

Selling your gold jewelry

How to sell an old piece of jewelry

Jewelry boxes are full of memories. Some good. Some bad. Others indifferent. Not to mention that those memories are a kind of reflection of those things. Certain periods of your life. Certain people. Perhaps you are at the point that you are ready to move on. If some of those items – necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets or whatnot have been sitting in your jewelry box for years without ever having been worn then it might be a good time to sell them and use the cash for something that is more meaningful.

Maximizing the amount of money you get from those items is important and you need to spend at least a few minutes considering some of the following issues.  There are two ways to think about jewelry when you are considering selling it.

Fact 1

  • Most jewelry is only worth the value of the precious metal content. But not always. See fact 2.

Fact 2

  • High end jewelry brands are worth more than the gold, silver, or platinum they contain. And depending upon the brand and condition, they can be worth a lot more on the second hand market.

So let’s discuss each of these two scenarios.

Run of the mill, no name jewelry

Since most of us are not overly wealthy, most of the jewelry we own is not made by brands like Mikimoto, David Yurman, Tiffany, or some other top brands. I’ll cover that in the next section. So this lower end branded jewelry is worth about 70-80% of the gold, silver, or platinum content. Why not 100%? Well, when you sell an old piece of jewelry, the buyer, which can can be a pawn shop, local jewelry shop, or precious metals dealer. These buyers, in turn will accumulate all this old jewelry and then resell it to a smelter who simply puts all the jewelry into a crucible and melts them down into a small brick. The smelter then pays them a percentage of the gold value.

So when you decide what you want to sell, you need to find a local buyer that will pay you appropriately. In our experience, bullion dealers usually pay out the highest. Pawn shops will feel you out when you hand them the jewelry and pay you as little as possible while still trying to get you to sell it. Jewelry shops usually pay you the lowest amount. That seems counter-intuitive, but jewelers don’t really care if you sell them your old jewelry or not. They are in the business of selling you new jewelry that is marked up 5-10x the gold value. In fact, many of them will try to give you “store credit” so that you buy something else. That’s convenient for you if you are in the market for a new piece, but it’s not a prudent way to maximize the amount of money that is in your pocket.

Most reputable dealers buying your jewelry will do the following:

  • Weight the items in front of you. They won’t disappear into some room with your items. They will even let you see the value on their scale so you know they aren’t making numbers up. If you have a kitchen scale at home, then it’s a good idea to weigh each piece if you are so inclined so that you know exactly what you have. At least the weight
  • The buyer will have some way of determining the karat of each piece. The most advanced way is when a dealer uses x-ray fluorescence equipment. I’ll write a separate article on this technology but it’s really cool, and really accurate. It can actually be fooled, but at the detriment of the buyer, not you. If you are curious what that would be, then you will have to read my post on x-ray fluorescence machines.
  • Take the weight of each item and based upon the percentage that is gold, silver, or platinum, determine the scrap value of it. Again, depending upon how much time is involved to get to these answers, you should expect 70-80% of the spot price of gold bullion. Gold bullion are those giant 30 pound bricks of gold you see in central bank vaults. Most people only see pictures of the inside of those vaults. Myself included.

So if you have accumulated a lot of old jewelry over the years, and you don’t think you will ever wear it again, consider selling it. If you like the idea of owning gold, it’s a lot better to sell the jewelry and swap it for a gold bar or gold coin, which are easier to sell or trade and the value is much easier to determine. Now lets talk about Fact 2, where your jewelry is a top brand.

Top Brand gold, silver, or platinum jewelry

Lets say you are lucky and own a piece or two of high end jewelry. Maybe a 16”, 18k, David Yurman necklace. Well, you paid at least 10x the value of the gold when you bought it. The craftsmanship of the piece is exquisite and the brand is known all over the developed world. People who see you wearing it will KNOW it’s a Yurman necklace. Well, maybe not most guys, but most women will. Maybe you won’t wear it because it brings back memories or a bad time or person in your life, but you can’t get rid of it, can you. It’s gold. It’s a David Yurman necklace for god’s sake. Well in this kind of situation, you almost have to sell it to someone that can pay you a lot more than just the gold content. This will require a lot more work on your part. One good way, but not the only place to sell it is on auction / second hand sale sites like “The Real Real”. They specialize in top brand fashion products to be resold and will have a much better idea of the market value. Since we are NOT specialists in this aspect, we encourage you to do the research yourself. But please don’t sell it to a buyer that will just melt it.

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