Selling Scrap Gold: Tips To Maximize Cash (& Avoid Scams)

Wondering where to sell your scrap gold?

Perfect! You're in the right place. 

In this Learning Jewelry guide, you'll learn:

  • How to Get The Most Out Of Selling Scrap Gold?
  • Where to Get Cash For Gold?
  • How To Calculate The Value Of Gold?
selling your scrap gold

What is Scrap Gold?

There are plenty of reasons why one might sell scrap gold. It usually comes from old jewelry that has been passed on through generations. These gold jewelry pieces may be broken, bent, or just not in a person's particular style. Other scrap gold can come from antiques or gold coin collections.

But scrap gold can be broken down further than that. 

It often comes from jewelers, including little bits of gold metal while repairing broken jewelry or resizing engagement rings. These bits of gold can be collected, melted, and sold for cash value.

scrap gold image

"Scrap Gold" by garryknight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Quick Tip: You should have an idea as to what width of wedding band you're looking for. You can try on a 2mm ring sizer at a jewelry store, and get the same size, only find out a 6mm ring fits too tightly. 

1. How To Know if Gold is Real

Those unfamiliar with gold and other precious metals might assume that all gold is worth the same amount. But that's not true. Not every piece of gold metal is actually gold. Some gold colored metals are just coloring over another cheap metal. There are different kinds of gold jewelry and most of them are plated. 

Vermeil gold and solid gold jewelry are the only types of gold worth anything. Vermeil is real gold that has been plated over sterling silver. The value is much less than pure gold, but sterling silver still holds value. 

You can usually tell a real gold ring from a fake by looking inside the shank (band) of the ring. 

By law, all real gold jewelry should be stamped with its karat number followed by K or KT. In the US, most real gold will be 14 karat. 24 karat gold, also known as pure gold, is too soft and isn't sold in most stores.

That's not to say that you can't find 24K gold jewelry from different artisans, but you won't find it commercially for engagement rings or wedding bands. 

Gold plated jewelry usually won't have a stamp, but will be marked KTGP or just GP if it does. If you see 925 on the inside of a gold band, the base metal is sterling silver. 

17" Panther Necklace

Remember that gold isn't always yellow. White gold is the most common color gold in engagement rings and wedding bands today. Still, many refer to this as silver, but it's actually gold. Rose gold has a pinkish copper tone, but is still very much gold. 

For gold pieces like gold coins or bullion, you can try dropping it in a glass of water and seeing if it floats. Gold is a heavy metal, so real gold should sink since it's more dense than the water. Gold doesn't rust either, so that may be another indication the gold isn't real. 

They do have gold testing kits available as well, which makes the entire process easier. But if you aren't wanting to purchase a kit, there are a few different ways to find out. 

The stamp will generally tell you if your gold will be worth any. However, it's worth noticing that in really old bits of jewelry, the karat stamp may wear off. Your best bet if you're still not sure is going to be to take it to a jeweler, or even a pawn shop. 

2. Calculate the Value of Gold

If you established that your gold piece of jewelry is made of real gold, the next step is to determine how much of the piece is gold. If it's a real gold coin or bullion, you'll know that you possess solid gold. It's much easier to sell these kinds of pieces because you have no other metals mixed in. 

But with scrap gold from old jewelry settings, it can be a little trickier. 

Remember how I said 24 karat gold is too soft to be worn commercially in jewelry? It has to be mixed and blended with other metals (called alloy) to become wearable. That's where we get numbers like 14K and 18K. 

In jewelry stores, 14 karat gold and 18 karat gold are going to be the main karat gold you'll come across. You can even find 22K (usually in the best gold chains) and even 10 karat gold. 10 karat yellow gold may appear less yellow since only 10/24 parts of it is pure gold. Most 10kt pieces are found in gold wedding bands for men at places like Zales and Jared. 

In countries outside the United States, you might find 6k or 9k more. The following is a calculated table to show the percentage of gold content per karat type. 

Read also: 10K vs 14K vs 18K vs 24K

The price of gold is always fluctuating. It doesn't stay at a fixed price. The daily gold price, also referred to as the spot price, changes every day.

Jewelers weigh gold in jewelry pieces by the troy ounce. Twelve troy ounces of gold is equal to 1 troy pound. Unfortunately, the troy ounce measurements can vary, making it more difficult for consumers to sell gold. 

  • If you have 1 troy pound of gold, you have 20 pennyweights (abbreviated dwt). 
  • One pennyweight is equal to 24 grains (gr). 
  • There are 15.43 grains in 1 gram. 
  • There are 31.15 grams in 1 troy ounce.

If you're trying to get the most value of your gold, it's essential to know these conversions.

3. Calculate the Markup of Gold

When you go to sell gold items, a lot of gold dealers will tell you they don't calculate based on weight alone. In jewelry speak, that means there's a markup price. But that doesn't mean that you can't get a fair price. Jewelry has markup prices, it's a fact of life.

You should get the best price you can though, without being taken advantage of. 

If you're selling solid gold coins or gold bars, calculating the price is pretty easy. These are solid gold pieces and you don't have to worry about other metals being mixed in. 

Calculating the markup price of gold jewelry involves knowing three things: karat, weight and the current market price of gold. Remember, it fluctuates daily. 

You can get an in-depth calculation example of both of these formulas to calculate the cost in this article by the International Gem Society.

As of today, the current value for gold per troy ounce is $1,904.60. Gold prices increase when the rest of the economy declines. It was the highest price ever at $2067.15 on August 7th, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had a direct impact on this. 

Where to Get Cash for Gold?

If you're going to sell gold, you've got to accept the unfair reality that you aren't going to get the exact market value for gold. 

Gold buyers come in all shapes and sizes. Some from pawn shops, some quick Cash for Gold stores, private jewelers, and other scrap gold buyers. These are businesses and they gotta make money.

There are so many options for where to buy gold from online, so it's difficult to really tell you who is going to give the best payout. You can obtain quotes from various places. But if you're really in a jam and want a trusted place to sell gold for cash quick, here's my recommendation. 

I recommend selling scrap gold online with Abe Mor Diamonds. Abe Mor is based in New York and is an excellent choice to sell gold and diamonds.

Abe Mor homepage

Some might say selling gold online might seem risky, but you're more likely to get a higher payout by going through Abe Mor than a local kiosk store. 

The risk is minimal with Abe Mor because every package is completely insured, free of charge. You send in your broken gold jewelry and they give you a quote. If you aren't happy with the quote, they ship it back to you free of charge, still insured. If you do accept the quote, they'll process the payout in one business day via check or wire transfer. 

Abe Mor will also buy gold bullion or coins, and they have a special way to contact them for those.

They also have a great reputation among the diamond industry, being sponsored by the GIA and Diamond Dealers of New York. They are also accredited by the Better Business Bureau. On their website, Abe Mor has also said that in over 50 years, they've never experienced a loss. 

You'll want to sell gold online with a gold buyer like Abe Mor because of the highest payouts. You get your pieces insured and you are in control of the process. The only downside to selling gold online is that it takes longer.

Where to Sell Gold For Cash Now? 

If you are in a jam and need to sell quick, you should have plenty of local options, so long as you're in urban areas. Most places that accept gold will take broken jewelry. Cash for Gold kiosks, private jewelers, jewelry stores, and pawn shops will be your best bet for local places that buy scrap gold. 

An advantage to selling your gold locally would be the "cash now" aspect. 

This is helpful if you're needing emergency cash. The downside is that you'll probably receive 10-15% less cash than you would selling your scrap gold online at a place like Abe Mor. 

My recommendation would be to sell scrap gold online with Abe Mor to receive more payout than you would at a local cash for gold place. But more than that, I recommend you do your own comparisons both locally and online if you really want a fair price and choose whichever one suits your situation the best. 

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