Is It Better to Pawn or Sell Gold?

February 07, 2020 - Jewelry & Luxury Items

Get critical information on your gold’s value before you pawn or sell it

In fact, if you put all the gold that’s ever been mined together you could hold all of it in just three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Since it’s so rare, it holds its value. Which is perfect if you’re in need of money. But you have to choose if you prefer to pawn or sell gold. To help you make an informed decision before you walk into stores that buy gold, keep reading.

Whether You Pawn or Sell Gold, You Need to Understand the Gold Market to Get a Fair Price

Gold is an asset, like a stock, that is publicly traded and has a market value. Google “gold pawn shop near me” and you’re bound to find a bunch of places nearby. And most stores that buy gold are very honest.

Like a stock, its value is always fluctuating as well. Luckily for you, this information is easily obtained and tracked. Gold is traded 24/7 on the open market. Currently, the price of gold is at $1,400 per ounce. You can use this as a baseline to determine the price of your gold jewelry or bullion.

But you should still understand how jewelry stores that buy gold determine their prices.

Major events such as presidential elections can even influence the price of gold. Supply and demand, currency values, and buying power also influence the pricing.

Your local pawn store will base the price off of the current market. Before you head off to the best place to pawn jewelry, check what gold is selling at first. Working off the base price for gold that the market determines, a pawn broker (or any other buyer) will likely pay you less than its market value so that they can turn it around and sell it for a profit. They are a business and need to profit to function.

Know the Karat of Your Gold

The karat of your gold is what measures the purity of it. Pure gold is 24 karats and is so soft that it can be bitten into.

If the gold in your possession is in jewelry form, then it will most likely be mixed with other metals. The question is just how much other metals are mixed in.

Most pieces of gold, whether it’s in the form of jewelry or bouillon have the karat marked on the gold. On rings, it is typically on the inside of the band. If you can’t find any karat markings anywhere, you can test the purity of your gold by buying a gold test kit.

This is what is known as the Touchstone Method. For the time’s sake, I’ll describe it briefly. What you do is you take the stone found in your test kit and rub your gold jewelry against. This will leave a bit of gold residue on the stone.

Then, you place a small amount of nitric acid onto the residue. Pure gold is extremely resistant to strong acids, so if the residue does not dissolve when exposed to the strongest nitric acid in your test kit, it is most likely pure gold.

Every test usually comes with different-strength acids for purer and impurer (24-karat, 22-karat, 18-karat, etc.) gold pieces. How pure the gold is will determine the value of your gold, so it’s important to know.

Do not clean or polish

It’s okay to dust off or wipe away dirt with a damp paper towel. Do not, under any circumstances, try to polish your gold. Polishing your gold can take away some of the gold, which will result in loss of weight and a lower valuation.

Selling Gold

Before checking out stores that buy gold, do some research on your jewelry. 24-karat gold is worth more than 14-karat gold. If you know the percentage of gold in your jewelry you can use that to roughly determine the worth of your gold.

When pawning gold, it is important to keep all of your gold pieces separated by karat. Some gold buyers will weigh all of your gold together and give you an appraisal based on the value of your lowest karat.

Clearly, if you have a mix of 22-karat and 12-karat gold, this is a raw deal. So make sure you know much of each karat of gold you have in your stash.

Is it Better to Sell Gold to a Pawn Shop or Jeweler?

Pawn shops, jewelers and any other shop that is in the market for buying gold are all working off the same gold value that the open market determines. You have this on your side.

The current value of gold is always publicly available, which means you can educate yourself as a buyer how much you can expect to receive for your gold.

If you know the weight of your gold and the current value of gold you can roughly estimate how much your piece of jewelry is worth. Keep in mind that how much you will receive for the gold is also based on how pure your gold is. For instance, you will get more money at any time for a 24-karat gold piece verses a 14-karat one. You can use the percentage of pure gold in your jewelry to roughly calculate how much your gold jewelry is worth.

How to Sell Gold to a Pawn Shop for the Best Offer Possible

It’s a legitimate concern that you want to get the most money for your gold. This means that you need to compare offers for your jewelry from multiple pawn shops.

You have a couple of options here. You could go shop-to-shop to get offers from different pawnbrokers, or you can compare offers online. Here’s how to sell gold to a pawn shop for the best offer:

  1. Create a free listing for your gold online at PawnGuru
  2. Receive offers from pawnbrokers in your local area
  3. Enter the pawn shop with the highest bid to finalize the offer
  4. Sell your gold for cash in hand

Do Your Homework

You’ll get the best rates if you do your homework.

Gold is weight using pennyweights or traditional grams. A pennyweight is 1.555 grams. It’s also not weighed in normal ounces (28 grams) it’s measured in Troy which is 31.1 grams.

Make sure you can see the gold buyer’s scale as he or she is appraising your gold to ensure they’re using a proper scale. Also, if you sell your gold, you won’t get exactly market value since they then have to sell your gold for a profit.

Any legitimate buyer will be licensed by his home state to buy and sell gold and will readily show you his licensing.

A good buyer would also ask you to show a form of government I.D. to prevent the sale of stolen goods.

There are roving gold buyers that come into your state, advertising top-rate gold exchange prices, but don’t have a proper storefront or shop to work out of.

Instead, they’ll post up in a hotel room, ballroom, or a cheaply rented space and work out of there. They’re most likely always moving because they have a bad reputation for ripping everyone off. They aren’t there to give you or anyone else a good deal.

It’s best to avoid these situations entirely.

Pawn shops tend to be community centers that have been around for years. They aren’t running off anywhere.

Scrapping Vs Selling

Sometimes you’ll find that the piece you’re thinking of selling is worth more as scrap than it is as a whole piece. You can use an online calculator to estimate scrap gold metal before you go.

There are ways to estimate the scrap gold value of your piece with online calculators. Or you can get the piece appraised by a professional and decide upon its supposed value.

It’s important to acknowledge the fact that the scrap value of your gold will always be considerably less than the value of it when it’s melted down. If you can stomach that, then go ahead. Otherwise, it might be more beneficial to sell your jewelry as-is.

Understand though, that pawn shops are resellers and will give you less than market rate because they need to resell your gold for a profit.

Pawning Gold

Pawning your jewelry is a really good option for two reasons. First, it’s great if you need money quickly but you also want to keep your jewelry.

Second, because the pawn shop doesn’t have to worry about having to sell your jewelry, you’ll probably get more money.

If you’re pawning gold, you’ve got something people want, so use that to your advantage. Shop around at different pawn shops or jewelers. Leverage their appraisals against each other to get the best deal.

Just remember to be patient. You’ll make more money this way.

Pawn Your Item With Us

Now you know all the tools of the trade, you’re ready to sell.

Have you determined whether you’re ready to pawn or sell gold? We can help you easily find a reputable gold pawn shop near you with just the click of a button.

Since running around town to get different prices from all your local pawnbrokers is such a hassle, consider selling with us. We’re an online shop that gets cash offers from pawnbrokers in your area and puts them in one place.

This way, you can compare offers so you’ll make sure you always get the best price.

Paul Richter
Paul Richter


Avatar for Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

April 16, 2019, 7:24 PM

I really appreciate your advice to check the current market price for gold before selling your jewelry at a pawn shop. It makes sense that you should wait until the gold prices on the current market are higher. We’ll start looking into current gold prices and the reviews of local pawn shops because we really need to sell our jewelry to afford my husband’s new car.

Avatar for Sarah Packer

Sarah Packer

July 9, 2019, 6:39 PM

My husband got some old jewelry from his mom before she passed away and we wondered if we should sell it since I won’t ever wear it. I didn’t know you shouldn’t polish your gold because it can take away some of the gold, lowering the price of it. Thankfully neither of us have done that and we can sell our gold to a buyer for a good price, thanks to this post!

Avatar for Mia Stewart

Mia Stewart

July 17, 2019, 4:10 PM

I like how the article explains that you shouldn’t try to clean or polish your gold jewelry before selling it. My grandma gave me her gold jewelry when she passed but it’s not meaningful to me so I want to sell it. I will make sure I don’t clean or polish it.

Avatar for Gillian Babcock

Gillian Babcock

July 24, 2019, 12:48 AM

My sister has a lot of missing gold earrings and she is planning to sell them because she’s short in cash. It was suggested here that she should understand the price of gold in the market and how stores determine their prices. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to trusted shops when looking for people to buy scrap gold.

Avatar for Eli Richardson

Eli Richardson

October 14, 2019, 7:57 PM

It was useful you suggested polishing the gold pieces to maintain the value of them. My mom has a few earrings and necklaces that she wants to get rid of. I’ll help her get the jewelry brighter to get more cash for it.

Avatar for Derek McDoogle

Derek McDoogle

October 31, 2019, 7:28 PM

I like how you explain that gold is an asset, like a stock, that is publicly traded and has a market value. My dad has some gold that he has been saving for years but he says that it isn’t worthed if he does not take advantage of its value. I will recommend him to sell it to a professional so that he can get what he deserves.

Avatar for Skylar Williams

Skylar Williams

December 11, 2019, 6:12 PM

Thank you for your tip to not polish your gold before you try to sell it, so you don’t decrease its worth. My wife likes to collect coins, and she has a few rare gold ones. We are a little behind on our credit card payments, so we were thinking about selling some of them. I’ll be sure not to polish the gold before we find a buyer.

Avatar for David Johnson

David Johnson

December 18, 2019, 10:01 PM

Thanks for explaining that sometimes it’s beneficial to sell jewelry as is. A week ago someone gave me some rings that I don’t need, nor does the rest of my family. I’ll have to look at selling it for cash.

Avatar for Derek McDoogle

Derek McDoogle

January 10, 2020, 9:46 PM

My cousin is in need of cash urgently and he does not know what to do. I like how you said that local pawn shops base their prices on the current market. As far as I know, he likes to buy jewelry so I will recommend him to go take some of that jewelry to see if he can get a loan in a pawn shop.

Avatar for Charlotte Fleet

Charlotte Fleet

January 21, 2020, 8:40 PM

Thank you for pointing out how important it is to understand the gold market in order to receive a fair price for the gold you intend to sell which can be tricky since like stocks the value is always fluctuating. My husband and I received some jewelry from his great grandmother when she passed away and aren’t quite sure what to do with it. I think we should research the current gold market then find a gold buyer who would be interested in the pieces we have.

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