Sell Your Gold Jewelry As Scrap: A Brief Guide

Do you have any gold jewelry lying around that you no longer wear or no longer want to keep? If so, then you have the option of selling that item to a jeweler or gold dealer. In many instances, you will only be able to sell the piece for the value of the gold it contains. Such items are known as scrap gold. This article examines the subject in more detail.

Scrap or Not

Most people would naturally like to sell their gold jewelry for more than just its scrap value alone. This is possible if your jewelry contains valuable gemstones, is an antique, or was made by a notable jeweler. These types of pieces can often contain a resale value far above their scrap value. Unfortunately, however, items such as this are the exception to the rule. Most gold jewelry is only worth its gold content, so it's important that you understand how to determine a piece's scrap value.


Gold is typically too soft to use in jewelry unless it is alloyed with other metals, such as copper or silver. The percentage of gold in a gold alloy is known as its purity, which is expressed by the term "karats." For example, 22-karat gold is about 91 percent pure, 18-karat gold is 75 percent pure, and 14-karat gold is about 58 percent pure. The least legally acceptable karatage for gold jewelry in the United States is 10 karat gold, which is about 41 percent pure.

Of course, higher karatage pieces are more valuable, so an 18-karat piece would receive a higher price than a 10-karat piece of the same weight.


The second determination of gold jewelry's scrap value is its weight. Jewelry items are often measured in units called "pennyweights."  One unit is equal to 1/20 of a troy ounce. It's also possible that the gold in a piece will be measured in grams.


The combination of your gold jewelry's karats and weight, along with the current market price of gold will determine the price you receive from a gold dealer. You will not, however, receive the item's full estimated scrap value. The gold dealer must obtain a profit to pay for their overhead and will take off a certain percentage from their estimate when they make you an offer. 

For more information about how to sell gold jewelry as scrap, contact a gold dealer in your area.