The holidays are coming quickly, and with them the added expense of food, gifts, and travel. If you need extra income, consider selling some of your nice, but unwanted jewelry at your local pawn shop. Here’s what to know to get top dollar!
- Understand the process. You don’t have to know the exact value of the jewelry you’re selling, but it’s a good idea to have a general and realistic idea of what your piece is worth, and how the transaction will take place. With gold jewelry, for example, an appraiser will quote you a price based on the weight of the gold content—indicated in karats—also taking into account the current market price, and minus a handling fee. Solid gold is 24 karats. Most gold jewelry is less than that because it is mixed with other metals. If it contains precious or semi-precious gems, that should increase the value.
- Get it appraised in person. There are many online jewelry companies who advertise that they buy and sell online. Some are legitimate, and others are not. How they generally work is, you mail them jewelry you want to sell, they appraise it and mail you back a check. To ensure that you’re happy with the appraisal and amount offered, it’s best to get your jewelry appraised in person by a reputable appraiser at an established jeweler.
- Seek out several appraisals. Once you have some jewelry stores or pawn shops in mind, it’s smart to shop around and get your jewelry or coins appraised at more than one location. Call ahead and make sure the appraiser is Gemological Institute of America (GIA) educated. The GIA is the industry standard for gem and precious metal appraisals. A GIA-educated appraiser will abide by the strictest industry ethics and methods to ensure that a seller is given the fair market price for the piece being sold.
- Realize the market fluctuates. The price of gold and silver changes daily based on various factors, including market demand, manufacturing supply and the financial markets. It’s important to understand that the price you’re quoted for a piece applies to the day that the piece is/was appraised and is/was based on the market value in the industry at that time.
- Shine it up. Before you bring your jewelry for appraisal, make sure to give the pieces a good cleaning to make them as attractive as possible. Read our tips on the best way to clean your gold jewelry.
On appraisal day … When you get your piece appraised, confirm that the appraiser is GIA-educated and the sell price will be based on the current market value. Don’t be afraid to haggle, within reason, and make sure your jewelry or coins never leaves your eyesight. A legitimate appraiser will make a point to explain the process, do the appraisal in front of you, and answer any and all questions.
Finally, trust your instinct. If you feel comfortable with the appraiser and the price and are ready to sell, go for it. If not, politely decline and say you’re going to think about it. Remember, selling your gold, silver or estate jewelry is not just about getting the most money—it’s also about the transaction and being happy with the outcome.