The value of gold jewelry is typically based on two factors; the value of gold and the artistic value of the jewelry. These two factors combined make up the total value of a piece of gold jewelry.
When a person buys a piece of gold jewelry at a department store or a jeweler, they often pay two or three times more than the price of gold. For example, a bracelet may have $50 worth of metal, but it sells for $150. In contrast, when you sell your broken or unwanted scrap gold, you are paid only for the precious metal, not the artistic value of the jewelry. This is because the typical precious metal dealer is buying the jewelry for scrap, and it will soon be melted down in to bars of gold.
Gold is a commodity traded in the commodities markets. The price of gold is set by the supply and demand of millions of people buying a selling gold. Looking at the London PM Fix price, you can see that the price of gold is at an all time high. Back in 1976 one troy ounce of bullion sold for as little at $150.
The commodity held its value of around $400 an ounce for two decades, until at the turn of the century when gold prices started to skyrocket; up from $400 to well over $1400 an ounce in 2011. If you’ve been holding old or broken jewelry in the back of your jewelry box, there has never been a better time to sell.
The first step to calculating the value of your scrap gold is to find the current value of gold. You can simply search Google for the phrase “spot gold”. You’ll find that Kitco offers the information you are looking for.
You will need to sort your items based on the purity. Put your 10k in one pile, your 14k gold in another pile, and so on. You can typically find markings on the inside of rings, on the clasp of necklaces and bracelets, on the posts of earring, etc.
What do the different markings on my jewelry mean?
Real Gold – 8K, 9K, 10K, 14K, 14KP, 18K, 22K, 24K,.585,.417,.750
Plated Gold – Marked 1/20 12K GF, HGE, EP, Avon, Monet, or no markings
24k gold is pure, while all the other varieties have some percentage of non-precious metal mixed into the alloy. To calculate the purity, divide the marking by 24. For example, a bracelet marked 14k has a purity of 14/24 or 58.5%. A ring marked 10k has a purity of 10/24 or 41.7%.
Now you know the price of gold and the purity of your jewelry. The next step is to find the weight of your jewelry. You’ll want to use kitchen scale or mail scale to weigh your jewelry. You will need to convert the weight into troy ounces to calculate the value. There are 31.1 grams per troy oz and 1.1 regular ounces per troy oz. (Don’t worry, there are examples at the end of this article)
One last factor that plays a role is the percentage of the value you can actually obtain. If you were a refiner with a smelting plant and a list of customer orders for gold bars, you could sell you gold for 100% of spot value. If you are a precious metals dealer who works with refiners, you can sell your gold for about 95% of spot value. However, you as a consumer should expect to receive anywhere from 20% up to 65% of spot value.
Your local pawn shop and a few of the big name online buyers will try to pay as little as 20% of spot value. Your typical online gold buyer will usually pay 50% of spot value. Some of the better online buyers will pay as much as 65% of spot value. You definitely want to get a personal reference to get the best price!
The last step is to do the math. Let’s do some examples.
You have a 10k class ring weighing 17 grams and today’s spot price is $1425 per troy oz.
$1425 * 10k/24k * 17/31.1 * 65% is $295
You have a set of 22k earrings weighing 0.1 oz on your kitchen scale and spot price is $1465 per troy oz.
$1465 * 22k/24k * 0.1/1.1 * 50% is $61
You have a 14k Herringbone necklace weighing 0.6 oz and spot price is $1385
$1385 * 14k/24k * 0.6/1.1 * 55% is $242
You have a 24k gold charm weighing 8 grams and the price of gold is $1412 per oz
$1412 * 24k/24k * 8/31.1 * 60% is $218