The price of gold has been reaching records highs over the last few years, prompting many people to sell their little-used gold jewelry. But most people have no idea what their gold is worth. Gold is sold on an open market, so the price of gold changes daily. However, the price of gold has been over $1000/ounce for several months, so this is a good time to get rid of your gold if you need extra cash.
Many gold buyers, including jewelers, will purchase gold in various forms besides jewelry, including gold bars, gold coins, and scrap gold. But most people who are looking to sell gold have gold in the form of jewelry.
You should try to avoid selling your gold jewelry as scrap gold, which can cause you to lose up to 75% of its retail value, since the price you get will be based on the value of gold metal. Scrap gold buyers will not take into account a piece of jewelry’s craftsmanship or antique value, not to mention any personal or heirloom value it may have to you and your family. When selling gold jewelry as scrap gold, its best to sell broken pieces, earrings that are missing their mates, old class rings, or a plain or engraved wedding band from your ex-spouse.
There are three main types of buyers that will purchase your gold jewelry:
1. Jewelry stores
2. Pawn shops
3. Online gold buyers
You should be careful when selling to all three, and always protect yourself by taking some precautionary measures. Typically speaking, however, jewelry stores will offer you the best value at the lowest risk for your gold jewelry. Pawn shops offer a lower risk as well, but tend to pay less for your gold jewelry than a reputable jewelry dealer.
There are an increasing number of online gold buyers popping up these days—and sometimes these companies will give you the best dollar value for your gold jewelry—but you should be wary of any company, online or not, that asks you to mail in your gold in a pre-addressed envelope and then wait for a check to come back to you in the mail. This option offers the highest risk for a number of reasons, chief among them that you won’t know how much you’re getting until you receive the check up to several weeks later.
If you choose to sell your gold to a reputable online gold buyer, choose a company that will insure your mail-package contents for you. If you don’t like the amount of the check you receive from a mail-in gold buyer, you can request that your jewelry be returned instead, although you will need to make this request immediately. In 2010, complaints to the Better Business Bureau about online gold buyers were up by 60%, so it’s not a bad idea to consult with the BBB before dealing with one of these companies.
The best way to protect yourself when selling your gold is to do your research, get your jewelry appraised, and try to sell to a local jewelry dealer with a good reputation, preferably one that either you or a friend know personally or have dealt with in the past. When choosing a local jewelry dealer, it’s always best to start with a company that has been recommended to you by someone you trust. Plenty of your friends and coworkers have bought or sold jewelry in the past, so ask around if you don’t have any experience in this area.
When selling your gold jewelry, it’s always best to start by getting an appraisal. This is something you should consider doing to protect yourself and your assets anyway, regardless of whether you are thinking about selling your jewelry in the near future. An appraisal will cost you a little bit of money initially, but it is often worth it because of the bargaining power you’ll gain by knowing how much your jewelry is worth and having the credential of an appraiser to back you up. Try to find a third-party appraiser—one that is not currently buying jewelry themselves—who is more likely to give you a fair price based on the current market value.
Once you’ve gotten an appraisal, it’s time to start doing your research about the companies you’re considering selling your gold jewelry to. Start with local jewelry stores you’re more familiar with and find multiple buyers, which will allow you to “shop around” and see the range of prices you’re offered before you make a decision about who to sell to, often giving you additional bargaining power. Again, you can save some time by contacting the BBB about anyone you’re thinking of selling your gold jewelry to. Any jeweler who receives a bad review can be crossed off your list before you spend precious time going to their store.