Jewellery of all sorts, but gold jewellery in particular, has always been one of the world’s most popular purchases, whether fore oneself or as a gift for someone special. It is a sad but true reality, however, that when average people buy or sell gold jewellery, their inexperience and lack of research on the topic can cost them serious money.
If you are going to avoid falling into the gold salesman’s trap, it is important to know certain things about gold, both as a material and as a commodity.
Pure gold is mostly unsuitable for making jewellery from – it is an incredibly soft metal that bends and scratches easily, and therefore other metals or mixtures (alloys) are added to give the gold jewellery the desired properties. If gold jewellery is stamped with a mark of “750”, it signifies that the gold used to make that piece is 750 parts of pure gold, mixed with 250 parts of other metals. This percentage of gold purity translates as 18 carat gold. Gold with a mark of “585” is less pure, containing only about 58.5% pure gold, and often referred to as 14 carat gold. 9 carat gold, frequently marked with “375” is a mere 37.5% pure.
In most western countries, 9 carat gold jewellery is considered to be of little more value than costume jewellery, and is therefore considered to be a bad investment if long-term value is important to you. The resale price of this kind of gold tends to be so low that many buyers and sellers don’t consider it to be worthwhile.
Generally, when you are selling gold jewellery that you have owned for a while, the only factor that will get you a good price is the weight of the pure gold it contains (unless you are lucky enough to own antique designer pieces from well-known designers or fashion houses, which can command quite impressive prices many years down the line.
When a gold buyer is appraising your piece, they will weigh the gold and then deduct from its value depending on the amount of other alloys it contains.
So when you consider parting with your old gold jewellery or golden family heirloom, it is always a good idea to have a sympathetic jeweller appraise your pieces before you even walk into a gold buyer’s door. Ask about the weight and purity of the piece, as well as whether it could have any value added from being a famous design or limited edition piece. You never know – you could be holding an antique Bvlgari or Tiffany piece without even knowing it!
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