A Guide to having Gold Jewelry Appraised

Jewelry of all kinds, especially gold jewelry, is among the more popular gifts you can buy, or just a common purchase for yourself individually. Regrettably, given how many jewelry purchases there are, many cases exist of consumers paying way too much. A typical jewelry sale is figured at what’s called the triple keystone price, or what industry insiders call triple cost. Basically, when a jeweler shows you an item in a book listed at $3,000, he likely only paid a grand for it. That means he can mark it down 20 percent, to $2,400, offering you a ‘great’ deal while still making out like a bandit. You’re not ripping him off if you take it. His $1,400 profit is 140 percent.

Before you go shopping, you should know particular things regarding gold jewelry. When jewelry gets stamped ‘750’, then it means it has 250 parts alloy to 750 parts gold, or it’s 75-percent pure gold. That’s identical in purity to 18-carat gold. Gold which is marked ‘585’ is thus 14-carat or 60-percent pure gold. Likewise, ‘375’ gold is 9-carat, at 37.5-percent pure gold. Consumers in England might sell 9-carat gold and have a high opinion of it, but the American market considers it costume jewelry and not a great investment. You’d like never get to resell it for anything close to what you initially pay for it.

You can typically expect to sell any piece of jewelry for its pure gold weight. You have to weight it specifically on a jeweler’s scale in order to identify the base value of any gold jewelry. You do have to make specific deductions for how much alloy there is in the gold from the weight. For instance, 18-carat gold is only 75-percent gold, so you must deduct a quarter of the total weight to get the gold weight. If the price of gold at the time is $1,000 per ounce, and your hypothetical 18-carat piece weighs 4 ounces, then the pure gold value of the total piece is $3,000, meaning it’s the price you would expect to get for selling it.

However, were you able to purchase that same 18-carat bracelet over on 47th Street, you’d likely find a store selling it for roughly $4,000, roughly a third over the weight. Triple keystone is the standard outside the jewelry district though, so you’d buy that same piece for roughly $9,000. None of what was posted above will hold true for modern pieces made from top names like Cartier, Buccellati, or Bulgari, because a bracelet with 3 ounces of pure gold from them might go 10 times the weight and clock $30,000 or higher. Of course, some famous jewelers make particularly well-crafted and designed pieces, so the premium you pay is for the name and style. However, if you sell such designer pieces, you’ll get premium over weight as well, although it won’t be much more than ordinary gold pieces bring.

Keep all this in mind when you decide where to shop for gold jewelry, particularly if you are worried about investment value over time. If you want to go down the gold stock road you can skip a lot of the faffing here and enjoy gold stock with good dividends.


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