In this article I am going to address all the questions to maximise the cash you can get from selling jewellery and scrap precious metals !
To answer this question, you need to have the following information :
Once you have this information, please use our scrap gold comparison tool to get the price you can get from professionals : Scrap gold comparison .
If you want a general idea of prices, a plain gold ring is worth between £20 and 50£, a necklace between £200 and £500. It is a very rough estimate that depends on gold prices and on all requested information above but at least now you know your ring is not likely to be worth £1000.
What about silver ? 1 gram of silver is worth half a pound so, do not expect too much from silverware or silver jewellery.
Let's start with the beginning :
Gold plated or silver plated jewellery are not bought by jewellers and scrap gold professionals. Indeed, their job is to smelt jewellery to extract the part that is in precious metal and dump the rest. This amount of metal retrieved will be used in the fabrication of brand new jewellery.
On gold plated items, the gold layer is very thin (about 1µm). So to get 1 mm of thickness 1000 items have to be used. Needless to says that it is not profitable.
Consequently, it is important to know if your jewellery is made of precious metals or plated.
Of course a scrap gold dealer will tell you straight away but I find it useful to be able to tell by myself. After all, there are still a few dishonest, scammy jewellers that would lie on this.
There are several ways to assess the metal and its purity of jewellery items, this is the topic of our article How to test what precious metal and its purity in my jewellery ? .
However there are 2 methods that are commonly used :
At home, reading the hallmarks will give you valuable information about the item such as the precious metal used, the purity and sometimes the goldsmith who has created the piece of jewellery. You don't need any tool except a magnifying glass (because these markings are tiny and barely visible to the naked eye).
Professionals seldom use this Hallmark reading method because some dishonest goldsmith put a 18 carat hallmark on a 9 carat jewellery for example. What this means if you there is 50% less gold in a 9 carat item than in a 18 carat one, so the professional would be paying you twice as much.
They prefer the touchstone and acid testing. You can also do them at home but you need to buy a specific kit such as this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tifoo-test-acid-silver-testing/dp/B00CCBR15M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1551881299&sr=8-2&keywords=acid+testing+kit+jewellery
Compare online scrap gold dealers !
If you do not know the number of carats of your jewellery, read our guide to selling scrap gold at the best price
Every goldsmith and jeweller, when creating a new piece of jewellery has to apply a set of tiny markings called hallmarks.
These markings are called hallmarks and they convey several information. The most important is simply to know what precious metal is used. If it sounds obvious to you, gold is yellow and silver grey, right ? Let me remind you that white gold looks pretty much like silver to the untrained eye!
Similarly platinum is yellow and I don't find it that easy to distinguish it from gold.
Hallmarks will tell us what metal is used in the necklace, ring, chain you are looking at.
Another very important information is the purity of the precious metal. I will talk very shortly about it.
The number of carats in jewellery is a purity metric : a 100% gold item is a 24 carat item. 24 carat is pure gold (or pure silver, platinum... ).
To calculate the purity of any given piece of jewellery, you merely divide : if I have a 9 carat ring then it contains 9/24 = 37.5% of gold and 62.5% of something else.
Most of gold jewellery is 18 carat gold (75% gold) but it more and more common to see 9 carat items, especially in the cheapest jewellery stores.
18 carat is also known as 750, which means 750 parts of gold out of 1000.
What about the remaining 25% ? What are these metals ?
It is what gives some colour to gold : Check out our article on this topic : Red gold, green gold, white gold … : All about coloured gold alloys
Let's go back to our discussion about jewellery hallmarks . Another information besides the metal is this purity. Is my ring made of 18 carat gold or 14 carat ?
There are thousands of hallmarks as each country has it s own system of hallmarks.
Besides, these hallmarks have considerably changed over time. As if it wasn't enough each goldsmith has a specific hallmark he uses to mark all of his creations. I let you imagine how many goldsmiths have lived for the last 500 years. All this doesn't really make it easy to read hallmarks on jewellery !
I have written an article that goes a bit deeper : Gold, silver and platinum jewellery hallmarks .
It is impossible to list every single hallmark that has existed on a webpage but still, there are quite a few.
Once you have identified the hallmarks, you know what precious metal is used and its purity. For example you know that this necklace is in silver 925 (made of 92.5% silver).
Good, you just need to weigh the piece of jewellery .
There are several methods more or less accurate, but if you don't have a scale at home, read our article that gives the average weight depending on the type of item (necklace, ring, bracelet...) Average weight for different type of jewellery .
Now that we have all the necessary information to estimate the value of our items let's talk about the best way to sell jewellery.
This is a central question and your decision in the matter will greatly affect how much money you can get. I have written an article especially about this question : Scrap gold : Should I sell jewellery online or at a shop ? .
The main argument in favour of selling to an online scrap gold professional is that you can easily compare price and benefit from better rates and therefore get more money than if you go to a random shop. It is very easy when using our scrap gold comparison tool
Not everyone is comfortable with selling jewellery on the web and for good reason. At the beginning of the development of this line of business there were many scams. It's over now and the professionals with good feedback from independent companies like Ekomi or TrustPilot are reliable.
If you don't know how to choose a reliable scrap gold dealer to send jewellery to, please read this article Scrap gold : Should I sell jewellery online or at a shop ? , we talk about it at length.
Some people are afraid of lost packages. I think it is clever to buy some insurance so that, should the package gets lost, you are refunded up to the value of the package. Sure you need to pay extra for it but if you send more than 20 grams of gold, the difference between the little cash you will get at your local shop and at the best online shop will largely compensate it.
Some people prefer to directly go to a jewellery store. First, the shopkeeper will weight your items and tell you all this information about what metals are used in your items and their purity. Many are doing it this way and most often things are going well.
I strongly advise you to check these information to at least 2 different shops. I have personnaly witnessed a scammy professional telling me that my 18 carat necklace is 14 carat gold ! I would have got far less money if I had done business with this man.
This rarely happens with online firms because, it is their main business and it is very easy to destroy an online reputation but a very long process to build good reviews.
But to a "normal" jeweller which business is mostly sell jewellery and, marginally make some money when buying back, it is another matter.
Furthermore, there are security concerns in some areas : Would you be confident walking with £1000 of items on you when thugs specifically target people that enter or leave scrap gold shops ?
Even when security is not a problem, how many times did I get into a shop and end up buying something when I swore I could not buy anything!
Well it's the same with scrap gold, if I go to the store and the professional makes me an offer acceptable but not exceptional, I'll probably accept. It's a shame because in the end I could have sold for more elsewhere.
Some jewellery is worth more than its weight in gold. Moreover, there are two types of professionals who buy jewellery. Resellers and Smelters.
Resellers are interested in the piece of jewellery itself, which can be resold without transformation. Pure trading, then. I buy at a price, I sell at another.
Smelters do not care about the aesthetic aspect of the item, what matters is the weight in gold. As their name suggest they will just smelt jewellery to extract the precious metal.
The first category of jewellery is when the value of the piece is provided by a (big) precious stone. The typical case is an engagement ring that contains only £30-50 in gold value but whose stone can sell for £300-500 .
In such cases, to sell well, you need to find a genuine craftsman that can buy your jewellery to directly be resold or, at least, who can use the precious stone when creating new pieces.
Major luxury brands jewellery sell for more than their weight in gold: Boucheron, Chanel ...
Some of these luxurry brands not specialised in jewellery (I will not write down the one I am thinking of) can produce really crappy pieces from a craftsman point of view but they sell well because people buy the brand.
Once again, it is a good idea in such cases to visit specialised jewellers. Online scrap gold dealers are not a good fit here.
Art Deco jewellery from the 1920s caught my eye. These beautiful pieces are selling excessively well and are expensive at auction. Similarly, if you come across a 19th century brooch, it is worth much more than its weight in gold or silver!
I'm talking about it in this article on How to sell silver jewellery? . Feel free to read the article.
Just have a look at the gold price historical graph to get the idea : gold price historical graph . Sure in 2012, the price of gold was peaking and it is now a bit lower than that. Obviously it looks that at this period it would have been more profitable to sell jewellery.
I have created this website in 2012 and I can assure you that you would have got far less money than right now. There were so many dishonest and scammy people doing this trade, only a good knowledge of the filed could have saved you from the many pitfalls. ( Remember Postal Gold ? these guys were offering you 10% of the value of your items !)
Paradoxically, the sharp decrease of gold price that happened in 2013 is the best thing that could have occurred. Most of the scammers went bankrupt and the professionals that are still in activity are for the most part honest.
Nowadays gold prices are still very high from an historical perspective . Gold price is twice what it was 10 years ago ! Gold price is more than 4 times what it was in 2005 (and 2005 was not the lowest valuation)
Consequently, YES, it is a very favourable period to sell some unwanted gold or silver !.
Still not convinced ? Ok, let me tell you the number of burglaries that occurred in England and Wales only from 09/2017 to 09/2018 according to the police.
Do you really think your gold is in security at home in your jewels box ?
(source : Crime in England and Wales: year ending September 2018 )
It is possible to sell coins and bullion to a scrap gold dealer.
Some of these professionals display very competitive prices on investment coins and bullion but some other display very unfavourable prices !
It is especially important to compare, for example by using our comparison tool .
If the coins you have have a numismatic value (ancient coins such as Roman or Greek coins), it is best to visit a professional specialised in numismatics.
Please have a look at the Frequently asked questions
or just tell me what you have in mind : Send me a message
Red gold, green gold, white gold... : All about colored gold
UK Gold, Silver and platinum hallmarks
Gold historical chart in Uk pounds
Frequently asked questions
Should I sell online or at a shop ?
How to identify the metal and purity of a piece of jewellery ?