Evaluating and Selling Jewelry

So Aunt Petunia has just kicked the bucket, and she left you a small treasure-trove of
shiny objects that you think are gold, diamonds, and priceless heirlooms. The question
is, how can you tell what’s profitable and what isn’t worth the trouble? Well here we go
with a primer on gold, silver, platinum, and diamonds, how to identify them, and what
you can get for them.

I’ve been working in the pawn broking industry for a bit now, and as part of my everyday
job I have to evaluate and price jewelry. With that in mind, I’ll be giving you an idea of
what you can expect from pawn shops, as well as reasonable charges when selling
privately.

(You’ll also learn how much you may have gotten ripped off when you bought your
girlfriend that “gold” necklace last Christmas.)

Precious Metals: What they’re worth to the world
The mainstay of the jewelry industry is precious metals: gold, silver, and platinum being
the most popular. All have their own benefits and all have their respective drawbacks.

Before we start, you should know that many websites, sellers, and buyers price metals
by the Troy Ounce, and I’ll be referring to value by the gram, since most jewelry isn’t
going to weigh more than a few grams. For ease of reference: 1 Troy Ounce = 31.109 فروشگاه آنلاین لوازم بهداشتی
grams.

Silver

Silver is a beautiful metal, strong for settings and full pieces alike, and is relatively
cheap compared to the other metals. A quick way of identifying silver is to look along the
inside of a ring, or along the clasp/end of a necklace or bracelet. What you’re looking for
is a little number like “.925” or “.999.” This is the percentage of silver versus other
metals that are in your item. Sterling silver, one of the most common types, is made up
of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

Current prices for silver are at about $0.18 per gram. I would expect to sell a weighty
silver chain necklace (about 30 grams) for about $10 if you’re being fair. Since we know
that stores aren’t fair, you can usually get away with selling them for about 2.5 to 3 times
that amount. As a pawn broker I tend to avoid buying silver at all, mainly because I can’t
sell it as readily, and also because I can’t give the customer enough money to make it
worth their while.

Gold

Ah yes, gold. Traditional or white, gold is the most common and popular of the precious
metals for most jewelry. Gold is weighed and valued by a system of karats, with 24
karats being pure gold, and is abbreviated after the value number as “K.” Most people
know that you can buy jewelry in 10K, 14K, 18K, and sometimes the full 24K (though
this is rare).

Gold is a very soft metal, so other metals are added into any jewelry of less than 24K,
and typical alloys include zinc, silver, and copper. When you’re trying to identify how
much gold you’ve got in a piece, you’re going to follow the same guidelines as when
checking silver, only this time you’re looking for a 10K, 14K, or similar on the item. If you
see certain letters after this value, such as EP, GEP, or P, it means that the item is gold
plated and not solid.

Currently gold is at a high and valued at about $24 per gram, with predictions of rising
again in the future. The price assumes you have a 24K piece though, so a little math is
required to find the value of your ring/necklace/etc. To find the market value of your item,
use the following equation:

Market Value = (karats / 24) x ($24) x (weight in grams)

In this case, a 10K gold ring weighing 3.0 grams would be worth: (10/24) x ($24) x (3.0)
= $29.95. So for that ring you’d be looking at market value of about thirty bucks.

Platinum

Platinum is an incredibly strong metal, very hard to work, but very good for jewelry that’s
going to be put to the test. It’s often used as the setting in gold and silver jewelry to hold
diamonds and other valuable stones. The price of platinum fluctuates often for a few
reasons: it’s hard to work, hard to find, and Russia.

Wait. Russia? Yep, the good old Russians. Since the largest producer of platinum in
the world is the Russian Federation, even the slightest rumors about fluctuating prices
over there will send our prices into spirals up or down over here. And no one can seem
to get them to let us in on their market information, so we’re stuck in half a guessing
game.