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how to get cash for unwanted gold jewelry

Cash for Gold
How to Get Cash for Unwanted Gold Jewelry

handful of unwanted gold jewelry
You can get fast cash when you sell unwanted gold and old broken gold jewelry. If you have gold jewelry lying around, it makes sense to take advantage of the high price of gold when you can use the money instead. The price you receive depends on the weight of the gold in the item, that is, its scrap or melt-down value. Here's a quick example. If your 14K gold chain weights 3 standard ounces, at today's price of gold $1650, the gold in your chain is worth $2631. Your best offer from a buyer is likely to be 50% of what the gold is worth, or $1315.

Here we clear up questions about prices, markings, weight, karats, and how much cash you can get. You'll find out what kind of gold jewelry you can sell for cash, and how much gold you actually have. Then we tell you where and how to sell it. We'll help you get the best price when you sell your unwanted gold jewelry for scrap.

What Items of Gold Can I Sell for Cash

unwanted gold jewelry
It's amazing how much gold is in jewelry and other items. In addition to necklaces, earings, brooches and bracelets, you may have gold coins, eyeglass frames, loose gold beads, gold wristwatches, tie clips, belt buckles, cigarette cases and even gold dental work. The gold used in computers and many electronic devices can also be recycled as scrap. Even if the jewelry is broken or damaged, the gold still holds its value and can be sold as a precious metal.

How to Tell Your Gold Jewelry by Its Markings

Real gold jewelry is always marked to indicate its gold content. You may need a magnifying glass to read the mark. The letters14K engraved inside a ring or on the clasp of a bracelet tell you that the item is 14 karat gold, which means that the item contains 58.33% gold. That is called its purity or density. The jewelry includes other metals as fillers and strengtheners. 24 karat gold contains 100% gold. Other gold marks used are
10 karat = .4167 or 41.67% gold. The formula is 10/24.
14 karat = .5833 or 58.33% gold. The formula is 14/24.
18 karat = .750 or 75% gold. The formula is 18/24.
24 karat = 1.00 or 100% gold. The formula is 24/24.

Other marks like 8K or 333, 9K or 375, 15K or 625, 22K or 916, indicate the gold content for jewelry that was made outside the USA.

Only gold of 10 karats or higher is considered a precious metal. If your jewelry is marked Gold Plated or Gold Filled or Gold Electroplated, it generally doesn't contain enough gold to be melted as scrap gold.

Dental gold pieces such as fillings, caps, and crowns are generally made of 16K gold, which is 66.67% pure gold. They often contain platinum as a hardening agent, which adds to the value.

If your gold jewelry has a famous maker's mark like Tiffany or Cartier, or if it is antique or if it contains precious stones and diamonds, have the item appraised by a jeweler or reputable auction house. The item may be worth more for its rarity or styling than its gold content. Gold coins should also be appraised before you sell them, because they often have numismatic value to collectors far in excess of their melt-down price. The appraiser may charge a small fee for the service, and a second opinion is always worthwhile.

Prepare your gold for sale by removing any stones and non-gold parts. Remove the lenses from eyeglasses and watches. Then sort your jewelry into piles according to its karat mark.

Sometimes gold jewelry is not labeled correctly. You can use an acid testing kit for gold to verify its authenticity. The gold testing kit contains a bottle of testing solution, instructions and a touchstone. It can be purchased from amazon or a local jewelry store.

How Much Gold Do You Have to Sell

Before you sell your unwanted gold jewelry for cash, separate the items into piles by karat marking, and weight each pile of gold jewelry separately. You can use an inexpensive digital gram scale to weight your gold in grams. Another way to get the weight of your gold is to place it an envelope and ask the post office how many grams it weights.

For example, your 14K ring is 58.33% gold. If it weights 5 grams, it contains 2.9165 grams of pure gold. The formula is .5833 x 5 = 2.9165 grams.

If you weight your gold jewelry on a scale that measures English ounces, to convert ounces to grams, multiply by 28.35. For example, if your 14K gold necklace weighs 3 ounces, it weights 85.05 grams. It contains 58.33% gold or 49.61 grams of pure gold.

How Much Cash Is Your Gold Jewelry Worth

cash and unwanted gold
The daily spot price of pure 24K gold is published on several websites like and the World Gold Council. The price of gold is quoted in Troy ounces, which must be converted to grams. One Troy ounce is equal to 31.103 grams. So if the price of pure gold is $1650 per Troy ounce, the price is $53.05 per gram, computed as $1650 / 31.103 = $53.05. Now multiply the price per gram by the number of grams of pure gold you are selling, to see how much cash you can get.

To summarize the steps, weigh your 14K gold jewelry in grams. Divide the spot price of pure gold by 31.103. Then multiply by the purity .5833 to get the spot price of 14K gold per gram. Then multiply by the weight of your gold in grams.

Some places quote the price of gold in pennyweights, DWT, where 20 pennyweights equal 1 troy ounce. So 1 pennyweight is equal to 1.55 grams. Take the price of pure gold per DWT, divide by 1.55 for the price per gram of pure gold. Multiply by the number of grams of pure gold you are selling to see how much money your jewelry is worth.

To make it easy, the dealer will quote a schedule of prices based on purity like this:
10K Gold$19.40 DWT
14K Gold$27.08 DWT
18K Gold$34.76 DWT

Based on the current price of gold at $1650, you can see that the value of your gold is almost double what this buyer will pay.

But How Much Cash Cash Can You Actually Get

The spot price, or what the gold in your jewelry is worth, is the maximum you can get. In practice, your unwanted gold jewelry will sell for about half of that or less. Dealers expect a return of 20% to 40% on the transaction to cover the cost of refining. And refined gold usually does not yield its full karat weight.

Where Can You Sell Your Unwanted Gold Jewelry

Buyers for your unwanted gold jewelry are everywhere because it is a profitable business. It is easy for unscrupulous dealers to take advantage of customers. You need to be cautious and negotiate for a better offer. Then take time to comparison shop and get offers from several buyers. Never drop off gold pieces and leave without receiving payment. A legitimate buyer can appraise them while you wait. Many states require the buyer of gold and similar valuables to get proof of identity and a signature from the seller. You may be asked to show identification or sign a form when selling.
  1. The Local Refiner. A fast, uncomplicated way to sell your gold jewelry is to take it to a local refiner who will melt it as scrap and recycle the gold. In your local phone directory, look for Smelters & Refiners - Precious Metals. Call several to get their price quote over the phone. They will ask you how many karats you have and the total weight. Gold refiners should be members of The International Precious Metals Institute.
  2. Jewelry Stores.You can sell your unwanted gold jewelry to most jewelry stores for cash. They will also purchase your more valuable broken and damaged jewelry, too. Reputable jewelers are members of the Better Business Bureau, and trade groups such as the Jewelers of America and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.
  3. Pawn Shops. Pawn shops are always ready to buy your unwanted gold jewelry. More often than not, a jewelry store will offer a much better deal than a pawn shop. But if you want to raise temporary cash and expect to buy back the gold jewelry, a pawn shop can help.
  4. Gold Party. You can sell your scrap gold at a neighborhood Gold Party. A gold party is similar to a Tupperware party in that a small group gathers at a host's home to sell their gold jewelry to a gold buyer. The buyer pays each seller cash at the party. The gold buyer also pays the host a commission of about 10%. You are not likely to get the best price at a gold party, because the host and the buyer are middlemen between you and the refiner.
  5. Consignment. Consign your better gold jewelry with a jeweler or an auction house to be sold intact. A sale cannot be guaranteed, but if you can wait for your money, you are likely to get a better price.
  6. eBay. People regularly sell their scrap gold jewelry at an online auction site like eBay. Because there are lots of buyers, you are likely to get a better price, and you can set your minimum reserve price for the auction. There is no guarantee your gold will sell, and you may wait a week after auction for your cash.
  7. CraigsList. Craigslist has a section dedicated to selling gold jewelry in your town. Exercise caution when you meet your buyer, and take a friend with you.
  8. Online Buyers. Should you sell your scrap gold jewelry by mail, or online? They ask you to mail in your gold for them to price it. When your gold is in their hands, they are not likely to offer you a good price, some say only 5% of the melt value. If you use an online buyer, send your items by registered mail with proof of receipt. Document all pieces mailed to buyers with photos and written descriptions that include karat marks and weights. Insure all packages.
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