Gold prices may be slumping today, but the price is still above $1,800 an ounce. For those who are strapped for cash, selling gold might seem like just the thing to do. You might have gold jewelry, and want to visit a jeweler, pawn shop, send it to mail-in gold buyer, or even attend a gold party. Before you do any of these, things, though, you need to do your homework. Here are some things to keep in mind to avoid being ripped off as you sell your gold:
1. Know the Realities of Selling Gold
Realize that even though gold prices are above $1,800 an ounce, you aren’t going to get that. The buyers are going to want to make a profit. You will likely only get around 60% to 70% of the market price of gold at a reputable dealer.
Another thing to be aware of is the karat weight of your gold. 10 karat gold and 14 karat gold don’t have as much actual gold in them as 18 karat or 22 karat gold. Only 24 karat gold is considered pure. However, you might find that all of your gold is weighed together — and you are offered a price reflecting the lowest karat weight. To avoid this type of rip off, insist that different karat weights be kept together and weighed separately.
2. Shop Around
Take your gold to two or three independent appraisers. They can give you different ideas of what you can get for your gold. Don’t just take your gold to a gold party and take what is offered. Do your homework first. Go to independent pawn shops, jewelry stores and appraisers to get a more accurate view of what you are likely to get. Also, keep in mind that if you have a unique piece of jewelry, you might actually be able to get more for it because of the way it looks. Factor this in.
3. Keep the Gems Separate
If your gold jewelry has gemstones — especially diamonds — don’t let buyers hoodwink. The chain for your diamond pendant necklace might only be worth $10 or so, but the diamond is certainly worth more. Get independent appraisals of the gems, and make sure you sell them separately. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds can be especially valuable.
4. Be Careful of Mail-In Gold Sales
There are a lot of mail-in gold “opportunities.” Be very careful. Some of these have been flagged, you may not get what you asked for. Carefully check terms and conditions, especially of receiving your gold back if you don’t like what you were paid. You might find your gold melted down less than two weeks after sending — and with no recourse.