Consumer Tips for Selling Gold

I’ve prepared these tips for those wanting to sell old or unwanted gold jewelry with reference to more than 30 years of experience in the jewelry business. Over the years I have been asked about this process hundreds of times.  I have separated the process into three categories, Preparation, Shopping and Transaction.  One note: As a independent jewelry appraiser I do not buy or sell jewelry, nor do I recommend any one company.  If you have any questions please feel free to call 602-264-3210 or e-mail me.


Web sites to check the price of gold and other metals on the day you want to sell. If you want to verify the gold price

Separate your gold as best you can into 10k, 14k, 18k,  platinum, silver etc.  If you are not sure about the gold content, don’t worry the dealer will test it also.

Shopping for the best price today

Get written offers to buy from at least 3 dealers in the same day. Know that the offer will most likely change by tomorrow and sometimes it may change in the same day (gold and other metals change minute by minute and are world wide markets).

From years of personal experience I generally suggest a person get offers from local dealers who you can check out and make the deal face to face.  Traveling “hotel shows” and internet buying companies make it difficult to get several offers in one day and if you ship your items off somewhere without payment, there can be problems with what day (gold price) is being used for the buy, Although it happens rarely, it can also get lost in transit and paperwork. And it is considerably more difficult to ask questions if there is a issue about a item.

Here are some suggested questions to ask each dealer you speak with.

Ask: About today price of gold.

The web sites listed above can give you the currant price of 24k gold. It is good to know the price of gold and then when you ask it will tell you if the dealer is up to date on the gold price. World gold markets are closed weekends.

Ask: What price per gram or pennyweight is being paid for 14k, 18k gold etc.

The answer to this question will help you compare dealers.

Ask: If the dealer is licensed to buy. Most states, cities and counties require businesses to have a second hand dealers or pawn license to buy gold, jewelry and other personal property items.

Ask:  Does the company use a “troy” scale which is certified for use in transactions? In Arizona the state law requires a dealer use a scale that has be tested and certified to be accurate for transactions. The scale must be retested certified by the state of Arizona each year.

Expect the dealer to test the gold by a acid scratch test or other electronic test for the amount of karat gold for each item. The dealer will test regardless of the items markings. The karat marking on pieces are usually correct but sometimes they are not.

Know that it doesn’t matter if the item is yellow gold or white gold it is still gold.

Old gold items before 1978 could be 13k and still be stamped 14k.  Since 1978 and the passing of the “National Gold and Silver Marking Act” gold is required to be within 3 parts per thousand of the karat gold mark. Sometimes you will see a letter P directly after the karat gold mark. This “P” refers to the federal stamping act referenced above and is a statement that the karat gold is exactly the karat stamped. It does not mean it is plated.

Transaction: When you find a price you are willing to accept, be prepared to have the dealer make a copy of your drivers license, sign a statement that this is your property and you have the right to sell these items and in some jurisdictions take your fingerprints. These are rules set up by local or state governments and are regulations the police will be checking the dealer for  compliance.

Invoice/receipt: I strongly recommend the following to be listed on the receipt you receive for the sale of your gold.  Your receipt is an important record of your transaction, I would be very leery of a dealer who will not give you a complete receipt for your transaction.

Company stationary: The receipt should be on company stationary with company name, address, telephone listed. The receipt should include.

  • Date for your transaction
  • Gold price for that day
  • Price per gram/dwt. being paid that day
  • Weight of gold “by karat” (i.e. 14k, 18k) you are selling
  • The total being paid for your gold
  • Name of the person buying the gold

Best of luck!

Craig A. Lynch G.G. Independent Appraiser
Accredited Senior Gemologist

For more in information about the precious metals used in jewelry see chapter 7 of my book – Romancing the Repair.