BBB Tips on Selling Gold and Jewelry

June 08, 2010

With the tight economy and continued high unemployment rates, more and more people are considering selling their gold and jewelry for extra cash or to make ends meet. While the lure of cashing in on old or broken jewelry is strong, there are some things you should be aware of before sending your merchandise away or making any deals.

Consider your options. It is important to do research on the companies you plan to do business with in most situations, but especially when valuables are the commodity.

Resale value will likely be less than purchase amount. Jewelry purchased in a retail setting is marked up according to production costs and other retail factors. When you sell your jewelry, especially gold, you are getting what is similar to the wholesale price.

Things change. The price of gold is not a set price, nor is it regulated, so it’s in your best interest to shop around. Ideally, customers will be able to shop prospective buyers on the same day, as the price of gold is subject to change daily.

Be aware that after receiving merchandise you send through the mail, some buyers will send you a check without first allowing you the opportunity to reject their offer. At that point they have your gold and you have a check for an amount you think is too low. These buyers are relying on you accepting the check rather than going through the hassle of returning it and trying to get your gold back. If this happens to you, be aware of your rights and remember you do have options.

Look for a reputable jeweler in your area. Getting an appraisal for jewelry is a good way to know what the actual value of your merchandise. Do not be afraid to ask for the karat information and weight in pennyweights or Troy ounces. This information is valuable in determining the market value of the jewelry being sold. Jewelry that is gold plated or less than ten karats is typically not worth much.

You should get carded. In accordance with the 1979 Anti-Fencing Law, a buyer is required to card someone selling them gold. If your driver’s license or state I.D. is not asked for, it could be a sign that this business is not right for you. To learn more about the Anti-Fencing Law, visit the U.S. Department of Justice website at

Location, location, location. While the internet is a fabulous tool, it may be more helpful for first time sellers to meet with an actual jeweler first to learn more about what they are selling. Make sure that there is a physical address and telephone number for the business you are considering.

Use a tracking system. Be cautious if you’re mailing your gold to an out of state buyer. Pay the shipper the extra amount which allows you to track your package and/or send your items certified. You will also want to insure your merchandise.

Not all jewelry is created equal. The ideal jewelry to sell for scrap is mismatched and broken, because it has no real purpose otherwise. However, jewelry with a designer label, has an intricate pattern, or contains gemstones is more valuable. This type of jewelry is better off sold to a jeweler or at an auction.

If you’re selling gold coins, be aware that many coins have value beyond their worth in gold. Consult a coin collector’s book or do some research on the Web before selling your coins.

Check with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Like pawn shops, gold buyers have to be registered with the state.

Check the company’s Reliability Report with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota at or by calling 651-699-1111.