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Guide to selling your gold and silver jewellery.
Member Name: kojak123
This is an extension of my damning internet gold-buying review, and is intended to help with selling jewellery in general.
Again, to anyone considering selling gold to a postal gold service:
DON'T DO IT!
I own a jewellery and antique shop, so I'll let you in on a few secrets.
Gold is at an all time high. All of the gold dealers are telling us this, and urging people to sell.
At time of writing, November 2012, 9ct gold is smelting (being melted down by the refineries - the end user) at around £12.50 per gram. The smelting price is known as 'spot price'.
If you sell scrap gold to a jeweller, you're using an unnecessary middle man!
While they won't make a fortune off you, you'll be lucky to break £10 per gram for them to make anything from a 10%-25% margin.
Some of the more unscrupulous will offer ridiculously low amounts; I've had people in my shop who have been offered £5 per gram as they clearly don't know what they have or what it's worth. If you sell on the high street SHOP AROUND for the best quote.
Ignore the "come to us last, we'll pay the best price" signs, this means they'll buy your gold at the lowest possible price undercutting the closest rival. If you've been offered £10 per gram, they will magically be paying £10.05. Don't tell a dealer what you've been offered, always ask for their best price and walk away if it's not the best.
Look for a shop who buy to re-sell. That's what I do and it's the reason I can pay a fair price. Often if you sell to a retailer rather than a scrap man, you'll get very close to 'spot price' and often slightly above!
Haggle, especially if you see that the shop can see re-sale potential in your piece of jewellery.
Shops will make (on average) a 100% mark-up on your jewellery, a double up, by cleaning, refurbishing and selling second hand jewellery, but maybe only a 10% margin on scrapping it in. You can't begrudge a shop putting a mark-up on it, that is standard business practice and keeps the lights turned on and the world turning, but you CAN avoid them making a profit on your scrap metals.
The answer is simply to go direct to the end-user, the smelting houses! There are currently over a dozen buying direct from the public (until recently they only used to buy from the trade) and they will pay the best price around for scrap. Expect 95%-98% of the spot price from a smelting house/refinery.
There have been a few reviews with people annoyed that diamonds don't count towards anything.
Sadly that is partially true. A left over loose diamond under 0.25ct (quarter carat) really isn't of much value as it costs more to measure, categorise and grade the stone than it'd be worth sold on. 0.25ct and above is certainly worth some extra money though, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! If they insist on paying scrap price, then insist on the stones back - there is a booming market for loose diamonds on e.bay and a few specialist outlets, so you might as well get a bit of something back for them rather than the gold-buyer profit after lying to your face.
Obviously it's much better to just sell a complete piece of jewellery for a fair price - again, second hand jewellers are the place to look.
Coloured stones are sadly worth very little.
Semi precious stones such as Topaz, Amethyst and Garnet are very cheap to buy directly from specialists, and they are already graded and cut to specific shapes and sizes, so unless it's a wonderful cut, a large size, or an unusual/unique gemstone (multi-coloured such as watermelon tourmaline, or rare as in coloured garnets) then you won't be offered anything on top of gold price for it.
Precious gemstones such as Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald are a slightly different story. They have a value, but it is entirely subjective - they are only worth what an individual is willing to pay. Where diamond values are fairly easy to gauge depending on colour and size, coloured stones are a minefield and a lot of people not trained in gemmology stay away.
Sadly, most of the places buying gold have no idea as to the value of a piece of jewellery, they simply see the gold weight on a scale and tally that against a price chart. Even Tesco buy gold now (don't ask the price - it's embarrassing!)
It really does pain me to think of some of the beautiful pieces of jewellery being melted down because the buyer only sees a gold value. Victorian brooches, 18th century Albert Chains and watch fobs - even named pieces like Georg Jenson Silver and gold Cartier jewellery. It honestly sickens me how the pop-up gold buyers have trashed the vintage jewellery market.
As little as 5 years ago, there might only be one or two places in a town who would buy pre-owned jewellery. Now that the gold value has increased, dozens of these vultures have sprung up and there is now one on every corner. Again, another reason to shop around for the best price.
The only good thing is that the prices are more competitive the more shops in the local area buy gold.
Things to look out for yourself:
Check the hallmarks yourself. If your eyes are up to it, see if you can make out the metal code on the pieces of jewellery you're looking to sell.
375 = 9ct gold (lowest allowed quality in UK)
585 = 14ct gold (common on European pieces)
750 = 18ct gold
916 = 22ct gold
999 = 24ct 'pure' gold
800 = Continental Silver
925 = Sterling Silver
958 = Britannia Silver
950 = Platinum (950PD = Palladium)
The codes are the metals purity out of 1000. So 9ct gold is 375 parts gold and 625 parts other metals.
There are a few oddments around, for example the lowest American purity is 10ct (417), and Germany has 8ct (333) but these are rarely seen over here.
If you're selling scrap, get to the end user such as Hatton Garden Metals, or GBC Gold Buying Centre.
If you're selling complete, decent condition jewellery - either gold or silver - get thee to a good reliable second hand jewellers. Every town has one, usually a small family run outfit rather than a faceless chain shop.
Auctions are ok, but you run the risk of the price levelling out at the scrap value, and then you have to pay the fee's (20% give or take) so end up out of pocket regardless.
If you do deal with a second hand jeweller and you don't like the price offered, enquire about commission and consignment sales. This is where the shop sell the piece for you and take a commission out of the price after its sold, usually around 20%.
Not all shops offer that, but a fair few will, and it benefits everyone involved. You get close to retail value on your jewellery, the shop gets some free window stock and a small commission for zero outlay and good karma flows throughout.
I hope that this helps people. I've written this as a helpful guide (no points for discussion categories) and nothing else, so do feel free to comment if it's been of use.
(rated 1/5 as it's the gold buying page - I didn't know where else to put this).
Summary: Do your homework before selling your jewellery