Selling Gold or Jewelry? Beware

If you have ever considered selling old gold or other unwanted jewelry for cash, you need to know that the many companies that advertise on TV and online, including, will NOT give you “top dollar” for your silver, gold, or platinum. In fact, they may only offer you a fraction of what you could fetch at a reputable local dealer.

Selling unused or unwanted jewelry is a great way to round up some cash to pay down debts or finance a big expense, but proceed with caution, as it’s easy to get ripped off.

Web sites like have popped up left and right offering you money for your jewelry. They make it easy to sell: you mail in your jewelry in a secure envelope, they appraise it and send you a check. If you like the check, you cash it and they keep the gold. If you change your mind, you return their check and they return your jewelry.

While selling your gold on these Web sites is convenient, you are guaranteed not to get the best deal. The reason is simple— and others know that if you mailed in your jewelry (which you must do to have it appraised), you aren’t getting it appraised elsewhere, freeing them to make the lowest offer possible.

A recent TV investigative report solicited offers for some jewelry from and several independent jewelers in the New York area. They received offers from local dealers—for the same gold—ranging from about $670 to $1,400. Cash4Gold’s offer? A mere $209.81.

The bottom line? Do not sell anything valuable before doing your homework. If you can’t do the homework, hang onto the goods.

If you’re selling old jewelry, start with a local estate jeweler to get a rough appraisal (most will take a quick look at a small number of pieces for free). If the jewelry itself isn’t that valuable, only then consider selling it for scrap metal. Get several offers, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Any dealer’s first offer will almost never be their highest.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


  1. Good article David. I’ve been seeing their TV commercials like crazy (not to mention another company that has gold/silver buying “conventions” at a local hotel every Sunday) and wondered how much they were taking from people.

  2. Thanks for the info!

    Cash4Gold advertises like mad on the Howard Stern Show. I guess while they’re paying big money to advertise with him ($5,000-ish per spot), they’re giving you what’s left…which, apparently, is not a lot.

  3. There are several reputable websites and companies out there that will pay fair market value for your jewelry. Cash 4 Gold advertises on TV heavily, radio, newspaper, online – just about everywhere. This expense drives up their marketing costs and they need to cover that expense in what they pay out to the consumer, its that simple.

  4. I’m a coin collector and small scale dealer. I know that if you try to sell to Coin dealer they will usually only give you only about 60% of the book value on a coin (and less for items that are not too popular). Gold and silver are some what of an exception, they usually will pay at least the melt value of a gold or silver coin plus a small premium. It’s still a little less than the retail value of the coin, but that’s too be expected. But be sure to ask before you sell. They’re usually a safer bet than any of these cash4gold and similiar companies, but use caution.

  5. This is all great info! yes i think any one selling gold jewelry should read all the reviews on the jewelers that they are going to sell their gold jewelry to. you will all ways do better with your gold by standing face to face with a jeweler then mailing it in to some hourly wage worker.

  6. Now being in the business I have dealt with a lot of online gold buyers and local pawn shops – my 2 cents – shop around for the best payout.