Selling your jewelry for the intact value:
“Is it worth what I expect?”
This thought is very common. Although it’s not the case the most of the time, you need to know what your piece of unwanted jewelry is worth before you can determine the best way to turn it into cash. Imagine if you were to take a piece of jewelry that was passed down to you from your grandmother and have it melted down just for the value of the gold, and then you find out later that it was a very old piece (a true heirloom) from the 1920's, the late 1800s or maybe even either…That would be absolutely devastating.
Not a likely case, but a possibility nonetheless.
In fact, it is very rare to have a period piece that is worth a lot of money. However, if you believe any of the unwanted jewelry you have might be of interest to collectors or are antiques that are worth more than just the gold, silver or diamonds in them, get your items properly assessed and valued by a professional jewelry appraiser (rather than a pawnbroker) before selling them. We at Platinum 1911 Fine Jewelry in Scottsdale, AZ, are gemologists and experts at vintage and period fine estate jewelry as well as buy for the gold and gemstones.
What’s the condition of your unwanted jewelry?
If there are prongs, chips in the diamond, scratches in the gemstones, you may lose some value. Rings and bracelets always receive more wear than pendants and earrings. So, if your jewelry is flawless, and you are selling it for the intact value, you can ask for a higher price.
Current and vintage jewelry is the easiest to sell intact.
In most cases, unwanted jewelry is neither current or vintage and is usually sold for the intrinsic value of the silver, gold or platinum, or diamonds and gemstones or a combination or these.
Selling it as scrap (the quickest way to sell your jewelry):
If it is determined that selling it as scrap is the best option (which is the most common case), here are a few things you need to know.
Selling it for its scrap value (intrinsic value or metal value) means you are getting value only for the materials that make up the piece, so your unwanted jewelry will be disassembled and melted down into gold bullion. This is by far the fastest on simplist way to sell your unwanted jewelry.
To do this, just show up at a precious metal or jewelry buying store with your unwanted jewelry, or mail them in, and they’ll likely make you an offer immediately.
Understanding the melt value – GOLD:
The purity of gold is defined in kKarats or abbreviated "K". A karat is 1/24 part of pure gold by weight, so 24-karat gold is pure gold. Most gold jewelry is rarely pure gold. A lot of jewelry in the US is 10-, 14- or 18-karat gold, 10K, 14K & 18K respectively, which means it is comprised of gold and other alloys. To find out how many karats your unwanted jewelry has, look for the symbol (K, kt or Kt) which should be located somewhere on your piece of jewelry. In Europe, traditionally, Karats are stamped as a percentage, so 14K would be .585 & 18K would be .750 correlating the fraction to a decimal system. When melting down and selling your gold, you will only get money for the weight of the pure gold content.
Now that you know the weight and purity (measured by karats or percentages), you can figure out the metal or melt value. Use this as a guide to see if you are getting paid enough by the buyer. However, please note that you are likely only going to get 60-80% of the melt value as the difference reflects the buyer’s profit when reselling it, as well as the risk for law required hold time in Arizona of at least 10 ten days. Plus, the buyer has more costs when melting and refining your gold to turn it into new jewelry and in the State of Arizona, the Second Hand Dealers License requires a minimum of a 10 day hold period.
Diamonds vs. Gemstones:
The greatest resale value goes to large, good quality diamonds, followed by sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. Besides those, you won’t receive much value from other gemstones unless they are large, rare, high-quality and not damaged or abraded.
If you have documents on your diamond(s), this can be helpful, but it’s usually not worth going out to pay for a formal, written appraisal unless you suspect it is a very high-value piece. Verbal Appraisals can be much more affordable and might be a good option to look into. For larger, higher quality diamonds, having or getting a GIA lab report will help you get the most money possible as GIA certified diamonds take most quality discrepancies out of the buying equation.