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How to sell your gold jewelry

Updated on December 18, 2016

Three ways to sell precious metals

There are three ways to sell precious metals: out of desperation, compromise, or best price. I've sold many of pieces of valuable jewelry over the past ten years, and I feel I've almost always gotten the best wholesale price. The best price is retail if you can get it by selling online or in person, because markups can be up to 200%. But, a quick search of ebay, craigslist, and other sites shows many pieces not selling. If you want cash quickly, here is how to sell your precious metal fairly and pocket the most cash:

1. Don't get desperate! I've seen people walk in to pawn shops and jewelry stores, place their heirloom gold jewelry on the counter, and accept the first offer. They were desperate because of impending bills or addictions, and they were getting ripped off. One afternoon, I shopped around to find out what three well-known jewelry stores would offer for a 14k gold engagement ring with a high quality, 1/3 carat scissor cut diamond and 14 princess cut chips around it. I wore everyday clothing, old blue jeans and T shirt, and let the buyers do the talking. I was offered about 100 dollars in "scrap gold value" from all three stores. They said that was the best they could do. Then, I drove to a reputable coin shop and an antique shop that have treated me fairly over the years and each one offered me $750.00. I sold it to the antique store, which probably marked it up to $1200 and sold it for at least $1000. I didn't care because the bricks and mortar stores have to pay their overhead and still make a profit. Remember, you're trying to get the best wholesale price possible, so shop around. Take your time!

2. Compromise is what I used to do: Find the best scrap price in the local market. It's the right choice if you need cash now and don't have much patience, but it's still at least 10-15% less than what you could get by selling to the right refinery. Who do you think those buyers sell their scrap gold to?

3. Best value: Now, I sell directly to a precious metal refinery. Refineries are the places dentists and goldsmiths obtain and sell their gold. I normally use Midwest Refinery in Michigan because they pay 95% of gold spot price and 90% of platinum and silver. Their website is primitive, but they have been in business for generations, and they have an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau. The down side is that I pay the shipping costs, and I must wait a few days rather than having cash placed immediately in my hand. Midwest has mailed checks to me on the same day my package arrived, usually resulting in a 7-day turnaround or less. I can live with that because the extra money can be substantial. If you're using the USPS, check the fine print on their insurance coverage. It may have a ceiling.

Check out the other refineries such as Cash for Gold, Sell Your Gold, and any others you can find doing a Google search. Then, start out by measuring what you have: Weigh your gold. I prefer to use grams rather than penny weight, but most digital scales will do either, so it's up to you. Remember that precious metals are measured in Troy Ounces, which total a little over 31 grams. (31.1) I use Silver Recycler's website calculator because it's easy to use: All you do is plug in the weight and carat.

Then, I figure that this refinery will pay 95% of that amount, minus my shipping and insurance costs. Subtract for the weight of any stones, which must be estimated. Some refineries add assay or other fees. If the difference between what you'll get from the refinery and the local options isn't much after shipping and insurance fees, just sell it locally. It's a judgment call.

Finally, some buyers pay for precious stones and some don't. (When they sell them to you, they are precious jewels, but when you offer to sell them back, they are just "rocks.") Consider pulling out the diamonds and other precious stones, saving them, and eventually finding a stone buyer.

Some buyers, including refineries, pay more than scrap value for nicer pieces that are still in style and can be resold. So, do your research. List each buyer's selling points. Compare them all. Call them if you have questions. Rank the different buyers you are considering, and pick the best one. You will be glad you invested the time and effort to become an informed seller and receive the most cash for your precious metal.


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