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What to Know Before Selling Your Gold-Precious metals, such as gold, are always in high demand. In fact, the price of gold has already risen over $40 per ounce in the first month of 2016 alone. So, if you have some gold coins or jewelry that aren’t doing much beyond collecting dust, you may want to consider taking advantage of the current market. Whether you’re interested in selling or pawning your gold, here are a few things you should know before striking a deal:

Get Familiar With Your Piece:

Whether you’re buying or selling gold jewelry, knowledge is power. That’s why it’s important to do a bit of research on your item’s history and characteristics. Why? Well, a piece made by a high-end jeweler, such as Tiffany or Bulgari, has value beyond just the precious metals and gems. Age is another important factor, as antique pieces may be particularly valuable. Depending on what you have, it may be more profitable for you to sell or pawn your jewelry as a single piece, instead of in parts.

Know the Current Price:

Gold is a commodity that is traded on worldwide markets. That means that there is a single price for an ounce of gold everywhere from Hong Kong to Halifax. The price, which fluctuates daily, can be found on several online trading sites or in your local newspaper’s business section. Just remember that the published price is for one troy ounce (the equivalent of 31 grams) of pure, 24-Karat gold.

Estimate Weight & Purity:

To get a rough idea of how much gold your item actually contains, you’ll need to assess its weight and purity. The first step is to weigh your item on a scale that is accurate to at least 1/10th of a gram. If your piece has gemstones or other decorative features, remember to subtract the estimated weight of those items from the total.

Next, figure out the purity of the gold your item is crafted from. This is often quite easy as the level of purity is typically stamped right onto your item; just look for the karat rating (24K, 18K, 14K, 10K). The higher your item’s karat number, the more gold it contains. Odds are your jewelry is not composed of 24K gold simply because pure gold is extremely soft, making it susceptible to damage. In order to make gold jewelry more durable, pure gold is often blended with another, stronger metal. So what percentage of your piece is pure gold? 18K is 75% pure, 14K is 58% pure, and 10K is 41% pure.

Now that you know your item’s weight and purity, determining what your gold is worth takes a bit of math. While you are welcome do the figuring yourself, it’s probably faster and easier to plug your numbers into an online scrap gold calculator. Plus, the results often include other useful information such as the estimated refining cost.

While having this information will put you in a stronger negotiating position, we’d urge you to shop around so you feel confident you are getting maximum value for your gold jewelry. If you’re looking for an estimate, or would just like your jewelry professionally weighed, feel free to visit any of Common Exchange’s eight convenient locations.