How to sell your scrap gold jewelry and realize the highest prices!
So you’ve heard that gold prices are high, you’ve seen the advertisements for “Gold Buyers” on television late at night, you’ve seen those hard working young men on street corners with “We Buy Gold” signs and you want to get a fair price for your items. Can you trust the guy that runs the “Gold Buyer” shop near your home? There are many Santa Monica gold buyers, I’m sure you’ve seen them. Should you go downtown with your valuables? Will your jeweler pay you as much as a Gold and Silver shop? These are all good questions and you’re right to have apprehensions about selling your valuables to someone you don’t know. I’ve been in this business for 33 years, that’s about 30 years longer than most of the “Gold Buyer” shops that you see around town these days. I’ve seen all of the tricks, the shortcuts, the fast talkers and the methods that buyers use to increase their profit margins. Today I’m going to help you learn what you MUST know before you try to sell scrap jewelry in Los Angeles or any other town for that matter. So let’s get started!
For this exercise we are going to assume that gold is at $1500.00 an ounce. You can adjust (use today’s current spot gold price) this number using my calculations below and you’ll get accurate results but we need a static number to work with so $1500.00 it is!
Spot Gold Price $1500.00 per ounce
Gold fineness is measured in Karats. That means the percentage of gold in your object is measured by a Karat system composed of 24 points. 24 or 24 Karats represents .99999 pure gold! (“pure gold” is always considered “almost pure”, hence there is no such thing as 100% gold).
The term “Fine” or “Fineness” refers to the purity also. For instance, 14KT fine gold simply means that an item is 14 Karat Gold or .585 Fine. Another way of looking at it is 14 Karat gold is 58.5% pure. Get it? 22 Karat gold is .916 fine or 91.6% pure gold!
Take a look at the chart below; it breaks down karat gold by the actual gold percentage. It starts with 8Karat and ends with 24KT.
The term Karat is abbreviated with KT, so keep that in mind as we move forward.
The Gold Content System:
- 8KT Karat Gold .333
- 9KT Karat Gold .375
- 10KT Karat Gold .417
- 12KT Karat Gold .500
- 14KT Karat Gold .585
- 16KT Karat Gold (Dental) .666
- 18KT Karat Gold .750
- 20KT Karat Gold .833
- 21KT Karat Gold .875
- 22KT Karat Gold .916
- 24KT Karat Gold .99999
How Gold is Measured: Troy ounces VS Avoirdupois, Grams VS DWT!
Most items are weighed by using the Avoirdupois system of weight measurement. That system holds that 28 grams = 1 Avoirdupois ounce.
Unlike most items, Gold is weighed in Troy ounces, the Troy system of measurement holds that there are 31.103 grams = 1 Troy ounce.
You can also measure gold using the DWT (Pennyweight) system which holds that there are 20 DWT (pennyweight) per Troy ounce.
I strongly suggest that you stick to grams, not the DWT system and ask anyone you deal with to make all of their computations in GRAMS not Pennyweight. Doing so will enable you to effectively price shop over the telephone without having to do additional calculations.
Gram for Gram = Apples to Apples, Gram for DWT (Pennyweight) = Apples to Oranges
I know that’s a lot of information but it’s really pretty easy if you just stick to grams weight when discussing or price shopping.
So let’s use a mathematical formula to determine what 14KT gold is worth based on our theoretical ÷$1500.00 gold market price.
$1500.00 (spot gold) X .585 (14KT fineness) = $877.50 (per ounce value of 14KT)
So in the equation above, we have established that at $1500.00 gold, 14KT gold is worth $877.50 per troy ounce.
Now let’s break down the $877.50 per ounce price into something more manageable for small amounts, grams!
$877.50 ÷ 31.103 (grams per troy ounce) = $28.21 per gram
So at $1500.00 Gold, 14KT gold has a market value of $28.21 per gram
Let’s try the same method without my bracketed explanations for 18KT gold and see what we come up with.
$1500 X .750 = $1125.00 ÷ 31.103 = $36.17 per gram
Now that’s not so hard is it?
Let’s say you have a ring that weighs 10 grams and you know it is 18KT because it is marked that way and it has been tested. Your 10 gram 18KT gold ring should have a gold market value of 10 X $36.17 = $361.70!
You can use the chart I have provided and simply apply the current spot gold market price and come up with an accurate idea of what kind of actual gold value you have on hand.
Here is what a standard wet chemical gold testing kit looks like.
There are various strengths of nitric acid, each corresponding to an exact fineness.
The following images show the result of a gold test that had negative results.
This is what you don’t want to see when testing an item. Let’s go step by step and see what happens.
An old Watch Chain on the Gold Testing Stone:
The Chain is rubbed upon the stone, leaving a small of amount of the metal on the stone for testing:
The Nitric Acid is applied to the Stone:
The Acid immediately disintegrates the metal, thus establishing that the object is not gold:
What a positive result looks like when testing an item for gold content.
An old wedding band on the gold testing stone:
The wedding band is rubbed upon the stone, leaving a trace amount of metal visible:
The Nitric Acid is applied to the mark and allowed to react with the metal:
Eureka! We have a positive test result, the trace amount of gold on the stone remains unchanged by the Acid:
In our next blog about how to sell scrap gold jewelry in Los Angeles or wherever you may be, I’ll go over some methods for improving your net cash returns from your sale!
Ask for me, Bryan Abbott and I’ll be happy to take some time and talk with you and help you maximize your value when visiting a Santa Monica gold buyer.
We specialize in Antiques, Rare Coins and Estate Jewelry and a broad range of collectibles. We are located in Santa Monica California. We are nearby Culver City, Malibu, Brentwood, Westwood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. We service the entire west coast with appraisals and buying services pertaining to every field we deal in. If you are interested in buying or selling Antiques, Rare Coins, Estate Jewelry or any Collectibles, we ask that you visit the “what we buy” section of our website. Then click on the category that pertains to your items and you’ll learn a bit about our interest or expertise in that particular field.
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