Best way to get an honest gold valuation

We've put together some FAQ about selling old jewellery for cash which we hope you will find useful.

What is the best way to get an honest valuation of the jewellery I want to sell?

The NAJ Institute of Registered Valuers recommends that you shop around. Don't accept the first offer you receive. The National Association of Jewellers represents the majority of jewellers in the UK and we would obviously recommend them as your first port of call. 

Is it possible to value gold at home by putting it on the kitchen scales and looking at the kitemark?

Kitchen scales aren't usually meant for weighing such light items (eg rings, earrings, neck chains, etc) so on the whole they won't be very useful. Unfortunately putting all the items onto the scales won't help much either, different prices are offered for different metals, you'll be offered more for an 18ct gold piece than a Sterling silver item, gram per gram. Someone offering to purchase the items from you must have accurate weighing scales that comply with The Weights & Measures Act 1985

The majority of precious metal items bear a "hallmark", one of the earliest forms of consumer protection dating back to the early 1300s. The hallmark comprises three compulsory marks; the sponsor's mark (a unique mark bearing the initials of the company or individual sending the item in for hallmarking - often the maker), the millesimal fineness mark (a three digit number within a shaped surround, indicating the quantity of precious metal in the item in parts per thousand) and the town mark (indicating the assay office which tested and marked the item). There are another two voluntary marks which can appear as part of the hallmark; a date letter indicating the year the item was marked, and the traditional fineness symbol (a pictorial image indicating the type of metal used, for example, a lion passant indicating Sterling silver, or a crown indicating gold)

Other voluntary marks which occasionally appear with the hallmark include commemorative marks, such as our Queen's Diamond Jubilee mark (2012), and international convention marks which allow items to be traded between members of the hallmarking convention without the need for further testing in member countries

The four UK assay offices - located in London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh - all publish a useful leaflet which is available to the public upon request, or which may be downloaded free of charge from their websites.

What if it doesn't have a hallmark?

Not all items have to be hallmarked. Full details of items which are exempt from hallmarking can be found in The Hallmarking Act 1973. Of course, an item could have been purchased from a country which does not have its own hallmarking regulations; such items may bear no marks or have stamps such as "9K", "18ct", "750", etc. If you have an item which is not hallmarked which you wish to sell a jeweller will have equipment which they can use to check the precious metal content.

What's the best way to sell my old jewellery?

Find your nearest Jewellery shop, and call in (in person or over the phone) to ask about selling your jewellery.

Would I get more from a pawnbroker, jeweller or postal cash-for-gold company?

That's not an easy one to answer! You need to shop around and find who is willing to give you the best price.

Should I go to a different place depending on whether it's a coin or jewellery?

retail jeweller will be willing to accept gold coins and/or jewellery.

Should I consider postal gold traders? What's your experience of them?

As a trade association, we can only recommend our members, so we cannot comment upon the use of postal gold traders. We've all heard the various stories on consumer television programmes and in the press but the Association has no personal experience of them.

If I decide to use a postal gold trader, what precautions should I take?

Having had no experience of using one of these postal gold traders we are unaware of their commendations to their customers but we would suggest you take a photograph of the pieces you're sending and write down a list of what the items are, eg hallmarked 9ct gold signet ring, hallmarked sterling silver charm bracelet with ten charms, 18" yellow neckclain stamped "9K", etc. The kitchen scales might come in handy if a lot of items are posted for an approximate record of the gross weight. Oh, and don't forget, the items must be posted by Royal Mail Special Delivery. And don't necessarily accept the first offer you get from a postal gold trader.

What about my sapphire and diamond brooch?

Retail jewellers will take into account any diamonds or gemstone included in a piece of jewellery, which might have value in themselves. Whatever you do, please don't attempt to remove the gems yourself as they can be easily damaged


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