Losing a job. Getting sick. Getting a traffic ticket. Many unexpected scenarios can come into our lives and cut into our budgets.
If you need money quickly, you may have considered selling some of your old jewelry. This is a difficult decision, as this jewelry probably has sentimental value to you and your family. But does it have enough monetary value to merit selling?
We’ll answer this question and explain the basic process of selling your jewelry below.
Step One: Money or Loan?
If you have trouble giving up your jewelry for good, take heart. Many pawn shops will give you a loan and hold your jewelry as collateral, but won’t sell it-yet. If you pay off the loan in time, you can take your jewelry home with you.
Beware though. This loan may come with anywhere from 6% to 25% interest. Only accept a loan if you know you will earn enough money in time to pay it off.
If you don’t anticipate getting extra funds in the future, consider selling your jewelry for cash. You’ll get more money this way.
Step Two: Get It Appraised
The best way to ensure a fair price is to get your jewelry appraised. As part of this appraisal, a jewelry expert can tell you:
- Whether the gem is natural
- The type of metal(s) in your jewelry
- The karatage (measure of the purity of the gold)
- The weight, grades, and measurements of the jewelry
- The monetary value of the jewelry
Note that the appraisal tells you the retail value, and pawn shops will give you about 25% to 30% of the retail value. Why? Because a retail stores mark up their prices considerably. A pawn shop offers you a number closer to the base value-the money they could actually get for the item. So if your appraisal value is $2,000, a pawn shop might offer you around $600.
Now that you know your jewelry’s approximate selling price, consider whether want to sell your jewelry for that much money.
If you’re set on selling, consider getting a second appraisal at another jewelry store. Then take your results with you to the pawn shop. Don’t wait more than two years after an appraisal to sell your jewelry since diamond and gold values change over time.
Step Three: Clean Your Jewelry
Clean, sparkling jewelry will give you a better deal than jewelry that looks old, used, or disgusting. Follow these basic cleaning steps:
- Immerse the jewelry in a quality cleaning solution. You can obtain one from your jeweler.
- Use a small brush to clean around and under stones and prongs. Be gentle so you don’t accidentally pull them out.
- If your jewelry has a karat marking, clean it thoroughly so the pawn shop worker can see it and give you the best value. For rings, the karat marking is usually on the inside surface. On bracelets and necklaces, the marking is on the clasp or the end of the chain.
Step Four: Get a Good Offer
Take your jewelry to several different pawn shops to compare prices. When you get an offer you like, don’t hesitate to haggle with the pawn shop dealer. But if you haggle, you should do it right or you might lose a good deal entirely.
- Pick a starting price. At first, pick a price that’s higher than the price the pawn dealer offered-but not too much higher. Asking for 25% to 50% more is generally expected. So if they offer you $2000, try for $2800.
- Have a minimum price in mind. The starting price isn’t the price you and the dealer will settle on, so decide the minimum price you will accept for your jewelry. If the dealer will haggle, they’ll probably give you 10% to 25% more than the original asking price. If they offered $2000, they might end up giving you $2300 or so.
- Compare offers. Continue to negotiate with the seller until you agree on a price. If you’ve gotten higher offers from another pawn shop, say so. You can say, “Such and such pawn shop offered me $2200. Are you willing to make a better offer?”
- Be reasonable. Remember, the pawn shop dealer has seen hundreds of jewelry pieces, so they have a good idea of how much your jewelry is worth. Make sure you are familiar with the information from your appraisal to help you get a good offer. But don’t expect to get an offer way higher than your jewelry is worth. In the end, the pawn shop dealer has the final say.
When you have bills to pay, selling your jewelry represents a great way to get the extra funds. Educate yourself on the jewelry buying and selling process in the tips above, and you’ll be prepared to get a great deal on your jewelry.