Working at the Pawn Shop: How Pawn Brokers Tell What Jewelry Is Worth

Do you want to spruce up your look for work? Learn tips for picking the best jewelry and accessories so you can look great and professional.

Working at the Pawn Shop: How Pawn Brokers Tell What Jewelry Is Worth

11 November 2015
 Categories: , Articles

Have you ever considered selling some jewelry? Maybe you need a couple extra bucks to pay for a concert ticket you're dying for, or maybe you really need some cash before payday to get caught up on a bill. Whatever your reason, you're probably curious what you can get for your jewelry. Read on, because you're about to find out.

The Five Cs: Content, Condition, Cut, Carat, Clarity

The first, and for some pawnbrokers, the most important aspect of jewelry sales is what exactly the jewelry is made of. Costume jewelry, which is made of pot metals and false gems, is worth next to nothing, and some pawn shops won't even carry it. If you're trying to sell costume jewelry, you can expect to get very little for it, and don't even bother with arguing about how much you spent on it. Pawnbrokers offer you about 50% of what they expect to get for each item.

If you have more expensive stuff to sell, your pawnbroker will probably be looking very closely at each item. He or she will try to ascertain the following:

  • Carat. Gold and diamonds are both rated in terms of carats. In gold, the higher the carat content the more gold there is in the jewelry, and with diamonds the more carats the larger the gem. More gold always means more value (and pawnbrokers have kits to test for gold content), but more diamonds does not. 
  • Cut, color and clarity. Diamonds and other gems come in many grades. A raw gem is one that is as it came out of the earth, but most gems in jewelry have been cut to enhance the way they sparkle. Other variables in gems include color, since each gem comes in a variety of colors and some are more valuable than others, and clarity. Clarity refers to imperfections within the stone. Few gems are perfect and the more inclusions, or imperfections in the stone, the less valuable it is. A small diamond with great cut, color and clarity may be worth more than a large but imperfect diamond. 
  • Condition. Not all jewelry wears the same. Necklaces worn only on special occasions are likely to be in better shape than wedding bands that are worn every day, and most people want their used jewelry to look new. If the pawnbroker won't be able to restore the piece to it's original condition it will be worth less.

The Bottom Line

Pawn shops are businesses that must watch out for their bottom line. A good business owner doesn't allow his or her books to remain in the red for long. You may be wondering what benefits you reap from taking your jewelry to a pawnshop when they will only be giving you roughly half what its worth. 

  • Convenience. Trying to sell your own jewelry is very inconvenient. Where do you advertise? How do you get the item to the buyer? You have to field inquiries from interested buyers, most of whom will not actually purchase the item.
  • Quick cash. If time is of the essence you can walk into a pawn shop and walk out with cash in hand in two shakes. Selling jewelry yourself will likely take significantly longer, which could spell trouble for you if you're in a rush.

Even though a pawnbroker will be the one profiting from your jewels it is often still worth it for the convenience and expediency alone.

Deciding to sell your jewelry is the first step, and now you know how pawnbrokers decide what to give you for your stuff. For more information, check out various pawn shops like Desert Jewelry Mart & Coins.

About Me
Choosing Incredible Jewelry For Work

When I started a new job, I realized that my coworkers dressed a lot better than me. Instead of simply throwing together an outfit, they seemed to plan out what they were wearing based on what they would be doing that day. When we had upscale events, they would spruce up their look with a nice pair of heels or a little extra jewelry. I wanted to fit in, and so I started paying more attention to what I wore to the office. I started by investing in some great jewelry basics, such as a nice watch and a gorgeous set of pearl earrings. This blog is all about teaching people how to wear jewelry to work, so that you feel incredible.