Do you have gold coins, bars or jewelry gathering dust in a bank, safe or jewelry box? It may be time to sell your gold.
Many people own gold for two reasons. They bought it — or inherited it — as jewelry. Or they bought it as an investment because some advisors recommended it as a way to combat inflation in an investment portfolio.
The problem is that gold prices are highly volatile, the metal is costly to store, and can be costly to sell too. When those factors are taken into consideration, it pales as an investment in pretty much every market.
However, during times of inflation, its price often does rise, which gives gold owners a good window to get out.
Current gold prices
Indeed, gold prices have been creeping up and are now nearly 20% higher than a year ago — and nearly 50% higher than they were 10 years ago. (Stock investments are up more than twice as much over the same period, just FYI.) All that makes this a good window of opportunity to sell your gold.
And, while gold held as an investment is generally in the form of bars or coins, you can sell gold jewelry too.
Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to sell jewelry that you love and wear. But, if you inherited gold — or have old items that you’re no longer enamored with, it makes sense to sell them now when gold prices are relatively rich.
How to sell your gold
But selling gold is not like selling stocks, where there’s an established price for each security. Different dealers can offer dramatically different prices for the same items, depending on the gold dealer’s cost structure and what they’re planning to do with it.
Even with gold bars and coins, which theoretically should trade in lock-step with spot gold prices, different dealers can make widely varying offers.
And with jewelry, the variations are even more extreme because the decorative elements of a piece can convey a value that far exceeds the metal’s spot price. Moreover, many gold necklaces, rings, bracelets and brooches also include gems, which may be valuable too.
Thus, it’s important to shop around.
Selling gold jewelry
For selling gold jewelry, you can start by visiting reputable local jewelry stores. They often buy gold jewelry for resale and may offer competitive prices. But be sure to get quotes from several stores to compare offers.
If there are precious stones in your jewelry, a local jeweler also should be able to tell you roughly what those stones are worth and whether it’s worthwhile to get them GIA certified. This process can cost between $80 and $300, but for particularly large and valuable stones, it may be worth the expense.
A jeweler can also give you an idea of whether you’re better off removing the stone from the setting and selling the stone and the gold separately. This can be a great option for heavy but outdated jewelry that has both a high gold content and a valuable stone.
There are valuable stones in the jewelry you want to sell? One way to sell a diamond is through an online jewelry auctioneer called Worthy. Worthy provides an insured, postage-paid package to send in your diamonds. Once received, they clean, weigh and evaluate the piece, giving the owner their assessment of what the item is worth.
If you like Worthy’s value assessment, you can opt to sell through the site. In that process, you set a minimum value that you’d accept at auction. Your piece only sells, if Worthy’s buyers offer more — or if you change your mind and cut your price. Realize, however, that Worthy charges a commission ranging from 10% to 18%, depending on the amount of the sale, so you may want to factor that into your minimum bid price.
If you are selling gold bars, coins or jewelry that’s unadorned by stones, the process is a bit simpler. Offers typically equate to slightly less than the spot gold price, multiplied by the weight of the gold in your piece.
Realize, however, that most gold jewelry is just partly made of gold. An 18-carat gold ring, for instance, is just 75% gold and 25% other alloys, such as silver or nickel. Thus, if you have an 18-carat piece that weighs one ounce, you’ll only get paid for 75% of that weight.
Where to sell
There are two good online buyers of gold — Alloy and ExpressGoldCash. Both promise up to pay a significant percentage of the spot gold price. The purer the gold, the higher the percentage. In most cases a pure gold item will bring in 95% to 99% of the spot price, in fact.
And both companies operate the same way. If you want to use them, you ask for a free “evaluation kit,” which comes with pre-paid postage, tracking and insurance. You pack up your items and the company contacts you when they’re received and evaluated. You get an offer on the spot.
If you accept it, they pay within hours via PayPal, check or direct deposit. If you don’t accept the offer, both companies will return your items to you, postage paid and insured.
But both of these companies are gathering gold for its melt value. They have little interest in gems that might be part of your jewelry.