Armed with a ring and two necklaces, CHOICE visited 10 jewellers and gold-buying shops in Sydney and was offered between 39% and 89% of the gold value for the items.
We found jewellers in the CBD usually offered the best price, especially when we negotiated, whereas two of the cash-for-gold kiosks in shopping centres were a rip-off. Be careful if you have any items with gemstones such as diamonds, as few gold shops pay prices to reflect their value – most pay only for the gold content.
CHOICE cash-for-gold shadow shop
Many of us have jewellery lying around we no longer wear – a broken necklace or an inherited bracelet that’s out of fashion. In recent years, kiosks offering cash for gold – some with shiny offers – have opened in shopping centres. But do they give you a fair price?
In a recent shadow shop, CHOICE found a huge variation in quotes between shops. We were quoted between $154 and $300 for the same three items of gold jewellery. Their gold value was about $400, so the highest price we obtained is roughly comparable, although obviously nowhere near the retail value, which at $1900 is significantly higher, as it includes workmanship and a retail margin.
Be careful if you have any items with gemstones such as diamonds, as few gold shops pay prices to reflect their value – most pay only for the gold content.
The growing prevalence of gold-buying shops coincides with a dramatic increase in the price of gold over the past decade. It has more than quadrupled from $US274 per ounce in September 2000 to $US1271 in September this year, with most of the increase occurring between 2005 and 2010.
Selling on eBay
Our sister organisation in the UK, Which?, tried their luck at selling unwanted gold jewellery on eBay and found prices were far more competitive than those offered by either TV-advertised or high street gold buyers. Which? sold a batch of gold bangles, bracelets and necklaces on eBay and got five times more than the price offered by the TV-advertised gold buyers. The £215 gold bracelet, for example, sold for £69 on eBay. TV-advertised gold buyers had offered Which? just £12 and high street jewellers, £46, for the same piece. So it pays to investigate selling your jewellery online.
Getting a fair price for your jewellery
You can sell your gold jewellery in a shop, online or at a gold party that one of your friends may organise.
- Weigh the items on a kitchen scale to get the approximate weight, check the gold price and calculate what they are worth.
- Aim to get at least 70%-80% of the gold value.
- Try at least three different outlets. Ring them first and ask how much they pay. Look for jewellers and specialist gold-buying businesses or pawnshops.
- Go to at least three different gold-buying businesses armed with your quotes and be prepared to ask for a better deal. Don’t be shy, as competition is strong and many shop owners will negotiate. Don’t be pressured to sell on the spot; walk away if you’re not sure.
- You’ll usually get better prices for heavier items (or bundle of items) and have more room to negotiate.
- Ask the shops if and what they pay for any diamonds or other gemstones of value (most won’t offer you anything). Go to a reputable jeweller and ask them to take out the stones.
- If you’re going to a gold party hosted by a friend, only part with your gold if they offer you a good price. You may not be able to negotiate as much at a gold party, as your host will get a commission.
- Call and talk to a real person first before selling your gold online. Make sure you get a quote beforehand and that your jewellery will be returned without charge if the quote is too low.