In today's economy, it's more important than ever to balance your budget and make your assets work for you. Combine this with a strong gold and silver market and it's easy to see why many Americans are selling their old jewelry for cold, hard cash. If this is something you've considered yourself, arming yourself with the right knowledge is important. In this short guide, you'll learn how the used jewelry market works and what type of items are likely to win you the best return.
How the Market Works
Gold and jewelry buyers purchase pieces based on two main factors--the overall purity of the precious metal used throughout it, and its by-the-ounce weight. Thus, heavy pieces with an extremely high purity rating will fetch you a better return than lighter pieces or those with a low purity rating. This is true for both silver and gold.
Depending on what the purchaser is buying your jewelry for, you may get the full market value or the scrap market value. Jewelers who purchase with the expectation that they will resell the piece will often pay more, as they can turn around and sell the piece intact. Those who purchase jewelry to melt it down for sale are more likely to pay a small portion of the most current daily scrap value, as they still need to melt it down and prepare it for sale after purchase.
Keep in mind that the price of precious metals will fluctuate daily. The market rate will change day-to-day, and this may impact how much money you make on your sale. For best results, treat selling jewelry like trading on the stock market--sell when prices are high.
If you're mailing your gold in, you can expect to receive between 11 and 29 percent of the total meltdown value. Conversely, gold shops and jewelers tend to pay around 70 percent. This also provides you with the opportunity to sell the piece as-is for resale, rather than selling it for scrap.
Above all else, it's important to be informed. Always ask your purchaser to verify the price-per-ounce they're willing to pay before your jewelry leaves your possession. When possible, get it in writing--this protects both you and the buyer.
Before you even consider selling off your old jewelry, you need to know that not every piece is worth selling. Most buyers purchase pieces to melt down, selling the results to jewelers or factories at market value to recoup their costs. For this reason, jewelry has to be made from real, highly pure precious metals to fetch a reasonable amount of cash.
If you're not sure where to start, consider:
- Old wedding rings
- Old engagement rings
- Cuff links
If you're seeking to sell your piece to a jeweler for direct resale, leave semi-precious and precious stones in their settings. Jewelers will judge the piece on both its market value and its artistic merit. Conversely, most scrap metal buyers aren't interested in the stones themselves, so you can go ahead and remove diamonds, sapphires, rubies or emeralds if you wish. The removal won't impact your rate.
Understanding Gold and Silver Purity
It's important to understand jewelry purity before attempting to sell. Most precious metal jewelry will have a stamp on it to indicate its fineness rating; this rating also indicates its purity. Higher purity pieces are worth more money simply because precious metals trade based on weight. For real gold, the most common ratings include:
- 9 karat
- 10 karat
- 14 karat
- 24 karat
The higher the karat rating, usually written as just a number and the letter k, the more pure the precious metal is. A single karat is 1/24 pure gold, or 4.16666666666667% real gold. This means that 24 karat gold ring is made from pure gold, while a 14 karat gold ring is about 58 percent pure gold. The higher the karat rating, the more it's worth.
Silver uses the same rating system, but may sometimes have 999 or 925 stamp instead. If it's stamped with a 999, it means it is 99 percent pure. If it is stamped with a 925 it's 92.5 percent pure.
You may find either karat or triple-digit ratings on silver jewelry; both formats are valid. Which you find is largely dependent on the preferences of the creator.
If your precious metal jewelry does not have a stamp at all, it may be costume jewelry. These pieces are usually made from cheaper metals like steel, titanium, or Tibetan silver, and aren't likely to be worthwhile on the scrap market.
Selling off your old gold and silver jewelry can help you to recoup some of your original investment costs. It's also a fantastic way to make quick cash if you find yourself in a bind. Understanding how the market works and what sells will ensure that you can make good, informed decisions about which pieces you keep and which you sell. For more information on selling old jewelry, contact your local precious metal shop or try this link.