Selling gold jewelry
Scrap gold is not a reflection on the quality of the jewelry, it only means that its market value is based on the actual gold content rather from its form. Gold is highly recyclable, so anything that has gold in it has value. It can take the form of jewelry, but it can also be extracted from cell phones, other electronic equipment, computers, old style dental fillings and crowns, and some gold leaf covered decorations. Gold that comes out of the ground is always re-used, something that has been done since ancient times. Of course, your pawnbroker or jeweler would probably only buy scrap gold in the form of jewelry, bars, or coins. Other types of gold containing items will require additional processing. Here are some things about selling scarp gold jewelry you should know.
It is quite easy to calculate how much money a local gold buyer, such as a pawnbroker, jeweler or scrap gold dealer should give you for your scrap gold. Since they buy gold based on its spot price and weight, all you really need to know is how much gold you actually have and what the current market price is.
Checking for purity
Determining the gold content of your scrap jewelry is quite simple. Most gold jewelry is made of a gold alloy, meaning it is a mix of gold and another metal. The addition of another metal is to counteract of the softness of pure gold, It is so soft that it can actually be molded by hand. You may have seen movies where people bite into gold coins before accepting it. This is to check if it is actually gold, because if it is, you will see the bite marks.
Most gold jewelry, therefore, is not pure gold. You can check what purity you have is by checking the marking. You may see something like 21K or 18K. This refers to the proportion of gold against other metals in the jewelry. Purity of gold is indicated with the unit “karat.” This is different from the unit used in measuring the weight of diamond, which is “carat.” Pure gold is 24 karats, or 24K. If the marking is 21K, then that means it is 21 parts gold and 3 parts other metal/s.
Of course, the marking is not always to be trusted. You can easily be duped into buying counterfeit or fake gold jewelry, which is actually just gold-plated or gold-filled lead or other non-precious metal. You can avoid that now by buying your jewelry from a reputable jewelry store or pawnbroker. To check for the gold content, you can bring it to a pawnbroker or jeweler, or you can check it yourself with the acid test.
To check it yourself, you will need a black stone, called a touchstone, nitric acid, and a file. Gold jewelry is usually yellow, but it can also be white or white, depending on what metal was used in the alloy. However, gold itself will always be a distinct yellow. When you rub any metal on the black stone, it will leave a mark. Upon applying nitric acid on the mark, it should dissolve all metals except gold. The fineness or purity of the gold piece will determine how much gold is left behind. If you have 22K gold, the color of the gold left behind will look something very close to the color of pure gold, which is a rich yellow. If it is bright yellow, that is likely 14K. You can also apply the nitric acid directly to the metal. If it bubbles and turns black, it is not gold. Some gold-filled jewelry are very thickly coated, so you need the file to get deeper into the metal before applying the acid to see if it is gold all the way through.
Doing the testing yourself only makes sense if you have a lot of scrap gold on hand. Otherwise, it would be much easier to have a professional check it for you. You can watch while they do it so you can be sure no switching happens. When a gold buyer appraises your scrap gold jewelry, they may use the touchstone method, or they may use a machine called a densimeter. The appraiser will place the scrap gold in the scale of the densimeter and submerge it in water. The machine will then calculate the density of the object, and identify if it is gold, and what fineness.
Checking the price
Once the fineness of the scrap gold jewelry is determined, it is then weighed. The spot price of gold is expressed in troy ounces, which is a little over 31 grams (31.1034768, to be precise). The gold buyer will weigh your gold in grams or pennyweights, also called denarius weight or DWR,. One troy ounce is equal to 20 DWT. To find out the spot price for your scar gold, you need to do a little math. If your buyer weighs it in grams, the formula is as follows:
(Weight ÷ 24 x fineness (in karats)) X (Spot price (in troy ounce) ÷ 31.1034768)
For example, if you have scrap jewelry with a fineness of 14K weighing 4.5 grams, and the published gold price is $1,200, this is what it will look like:
(4.5 ÷ 24 x 14) (1200 ÷ 31.1034768) = 2.625 x 38.38 = 101.27
The “101.27” is the total gold value of your item in US dollars, or $101.27. If the appraiser uses pennyweights., the formula becomes:
Weight ÷ 24 x fineness (in karats)) X (Spot price (in troy ounce) ÷ 20)
If we use the example above, 4.5 grams is equal to 2.89357 DWT. the calculation for the gold value goes thus:
(2.89357 ÷ 24 x 14) (1200 ÷ 20) = 1.6880 x 60 = 101.27
This might seem like a lot of trouble, but it is quite a simple process once you get used to it. It is important to know the value of your scrap gold so you know if you are getting a good price or not.
Getting the right price
The gold value you get from the above calculations is just a baseline, however. Gold buyers will not buy your scrap gold at that price because they still have to make a profit. Depending on where you sell, the price range can be from 70% to 95% of the spot price. Online auctions and mail order gold buyers may go as high as 95% of the spot price, but you will have to wait for a good buyer and to get your cash. Local jewelers and pawnshops will offer about 70% and may go up to 85% of the spot price, depending on what they intend to do with the gold. You will get a lower price, but it is often safer and quicker because they pay you on the spot. If you are in a hurry, or would rather not take a chance with a private or online buyer, local gold buyers are your best bet.