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How Much is a 14k Gold Necklace Worth at a Pawn Shop?

Most people know that gold is highly valuable due to its rarity. Many assume that gold has a standard price. However, that's not quite true. The value of gold, especially of jewelry, varies depending on the economy, market demand, the purity of the gold. So, whether you're considering pawning your gold as collateral or selling it outright, do your homework. Once you understand the key factors in gold pricing, you'll be able to identify the best offer from your pawnbroker

How much can I get for gold at a pawn shop or jewelry store? 

First, remember that high demand for a product that is in low supply drives up prices. This means the value of gold rises during times when more consumers are buying it (e.g., leading up to Valentine's Day or Christmas). Gold also becomes more valuable during economic strife or inflation as it's considered a safe investment. While currency values drop or crises impact consumer behavior, gold tends to retain its value — and often increases in price. The biggest factor, though, is the gold's purity. The precious metal itself is what holds value. The more your gold is mixed with other metals, the less valuable the piece is. Because gold is so malleable, most jewelry is made from a gold alloy. The priciest gold is 24 karats, which is 99% pure. The karat level refers to the number of units out of a possible 24. Most people's fine jewelry will be 14k or 18k, meaning there are 14 or 18 units of pure gold. 

Here's a quick guide: • 14k gold is 58.3% pure gold (14/24x100) • 18k is 75% pure gold (18/24x100) • 20k is 83.3% pure gold (20/24x100) When you bring your gold to a pawnbroker or jeweler, they will consider the purity level along with its overall condition. Obviously, dinged or scratched gold holds less value. If the piece has other gemstones, that complicates the value. In a nutshell, though, appraisers will determine the volume of actual gold and multiply it by the current market price. Over the past decade, the average U.S. price per ounce has fluctuated between $1160 and $1769. The appraiser will determine the total mass of gold in the piece, based on its purity level. 

For how much can I pawn a 14K gold necklace? 

To illustrate the appraisal process, let's say you have a 14k gold necklace. A troy ounce of gold contains 31.1 grams. If the current gold value is $1500 per ounce, the price of gold per gram is $48.23. A 14k gold piece is 58.3% pure gold. If it weighs 15 grams (a common measurement for gold necklaces), it contains 8.75 grams of actual gold, setting the total gold value at $421.77. Of course, you probably paid more than that, because when you purchase gold jewelry, you're also paying for the labor to craft it, any additional gemstones, plus a retail markup. That applies to pawn shops as well. 

If you don't repay your loan, the pawnbroker will sell the gold — and they need to generate a profit. That means you'll get less than the actual gold value. As a general guideline, expect to get 55 to 75 percent of the total gold value (assuming the piece is in good shape). So, if your necklace contains about $420 worth of gold, a fair offer would be $231 to $315. Another way to calculate it is to reduce the per-gram value by 25-45 percent. While the actual price per gram is $48.23, you'll only get up to 75 percent of that, i.e., $36/gram. 

Is it better to sell gold at a pawn shop or jewelry store? 

As you see, you won't get the full value of your gold when you pawn it. If you're not interested in holding onto the piece, you could sell it. Both pawnshops and jewelers will purchase gold from you. Because the value is based on the market price, appraisers at either place will likely come to a similar valuation. Keep in mind, though, that pawnbrokers are typically not jewelry experts. This can make it a bit more challenging to sell gold pieces with multiple gemstones, gold coins, or rarer gold alloys. Always make sure they're using a special scale for weighing the gold — something like a kitchen scale is not accurate enough. Come prepared with an idea of how much you'd like to fetch. 

How much do Jewelers pay for scrap gold vs Pawnbrokers? 

Some pawnbrokers may be more likely to buy your gold as scrap, meaning it will be melted down and sold to a jeweler. You can also cut out the middleman and sell scrap directly to jewelers. You'll typically get less at the scrap gold price — about 20-40% less than market value — as the buyer will need to pay for melting and refining the gold. Whenever you sell gold to a reseller, such as a pawn shop, you'll likely get lower offers because they will need to market and store the item or resell it to a jeweler. Of course, there are exceptions. A unique piece of jewelry may be more appealing as-is than as scrap. Pawnshops that specialize in collectibles or fashion items may offer more for a full piece than for scrap they'd struggle to sell. It all depends on your location and the shop itself. Warning: if you are selling your gold as scrap, be sure the appraiser doesn't weigh your 10k pieces with your 18k pieces! They'll calculate the lowest value. So, is it better to pawn or sell? That depends on your goals. If you want the piece back, selling is out of the question. 

 

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Assessing and Preparing Gold for Selling or Pawning Measuring Your Gold's Purity 

Not sure of your gold's karat level? 

Concerned it may not be real gold? 

Today's fakes are so convincing that some people have discovered their beloved gold jewelry contains no gold at all! Obviously, you'll want to make sure your jewelry is what you think it is before you take it to the shop. There are at-home tests to detect the purity, but it's best left to a professional appraiser. Be sure to find the market value of any diamonds or other gemstones as well. Can fake gold be stamped 14K or another karat level? It's possible, but it's more likely that the stamp will reveal its actual composition. For example, gold-fill or gold-plated pieces have no actual gold, but they'll be stamped as GF and GP respectively. That said, it's worth testing any piece labeled as 14k or higher, just in case. 

Proper Care of Your Gold 

Gold is quite malleable, so you should never attempt to polish your gold. Only clean it with a damp cloth. Anything else can remove gold from the piece, decreasing its value. And of course, be sure to store your gold properly to avoid dents and dings. Over time, the other metals in the alloy will tarnish. This is especially likely for lower-karat gold. Minimize exposure to oxygen to avoid this. 

Wrapping Up

Gold is a rare and valuable precious metal, but it's quite difficult to achieve market value at a pawn shop or jewelers. That's just the nature of the business. However, by doing your homework, getting multiple offers, and understanding the gold market, you can fetch more cash or higher-value loans for your gold items.