Selling Gold To Pawn Shops: Learn How Pawn Shops Value Gold

Selling Gold To Pawn Shops: Learn How Pawn Shops Value Gold

Use our gold purity calculator and pawn shop gold value estimator tools.

Last updated December 1, 2022

Gold bullion, gold bars, and gold coins

Source: Unsplash / zlataky

Most Pawn Shops Deal In Gold

Most jewelry pawn shops accept all forms of gold and can make cash offers on the same day. Gold is one of the earliest forms of money in recorded history. Humans have used gold as a means of storing value for thousands of years. Today, most pawn shops will happily buy and sell gold in exchange for cash.

Gold is a commodity, and in its pure form, it fetches a price determined by global financial markets. Gold is traded in all major financial markets around the world: London, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, etc. Gold in one country always has value in another country.

Since gold markets are liquid and have transparent pricing, most pawnbrokers are able to quickly determine the value of the gold you want to sell. In this post, we will walk you through how pawn shops value gold in its various forms.

Be sure to check out our gold purity calculator and pawn shop gold value estimator below, and contact us if you have any questions.

Gold Purity Calculator & Pawn Shop Gold Value Estimator

We created the tool below to help you calculate the purity of the gold in your jewelry, as well as estimate the amount that a pawn shop will value your gold. Pawn shops typically pay 60% to 90% of gold’s fair market value - so first we need to get the market value of the gold, then we estimate the pawn shop valuation. The formula for the amount a pawn shop will pay for gold is as follows:

Item Weight x Gold Purity % x Pawnbroker offer %

  • Item Weight: The weight in troy ounces or grams. Most gold uses troy ounces rather than standard ounces. One troy ounce weighs 31.1 grams, while one regular ounce weighs 28.35 grams.
  • Gold Purity %: This is the percentage of total weight that is pure gold. For instance, 24-karat gold is 99.9% pure gold, while 18-karat gold is 75% pure. Use our guide in this blog post to convert gold karats to purity.
  • Pawnbroker Offer %: This is the percentage of gold value that the pawnbroker will give you. Pawn shops have to make a profit on the transaction, so they often give you less than the actual gold value.

Our tool pulls live gold prices from global markets so you have an accurate reading of the current gold price.

Gold, Gold, and More Gold

Gold comes in various forms. The type and form of your gold will determine its worth and value. Below are the most common forms of gold.

  • 1. Gold Jewelry

    Large case of gold jewelry
    Source: The Jewelry Magazine

    Gold jewelry is often in the form of bracelets, earrings, necklaces, watches, rings, and pendants. Gold jewelry purity is often measured in a unit called a karat, which is usually quoted as 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, and 24k. You can read more about purity and karat in the section below.

    Gold jewelry value is determined by three factors:

    • Purity: Karat measurement.
    • Design: The appearance and design
    • Branding: Brand names such as Tiffany, Tacori, etc.

    Gold jewelry value is worth at minimum its weight in gold because it can always be melted down into pure gold. Some designs and brands command large premiums above the weight in gold.

  • 2. Gold Coins

    Gold coins

    Gold coins are minted by various entities like the US Mint. Gold coins usually are worth at minimum their weight in gold. Many gold coins are rare and command premiums above the weight in gold.

    Gold coins must be 0.900 pure gold (90%) to be considered fine gold. The purity of gold coins can vary greatly (images are from

      Gold coin American Gold Eagle
    • American Gold Eagle: 91.67%% purity (the other part is 3% silver and 5.33% copper), also known as 22-karat gold.
    • Gold coin Canadian Maple
    • Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: 99.99% pure gold, also known as 24-karat gold. The Canadian Golden Maple Leaf is the purest sovereign gold coin.
    • Gold coin Krugerrand
    • South African Krugerrand: 91.67% purity (the other part is 8.33% copper).
    • Gold coin American Buffalo
    • American Gold Buffalo: 99.99% pure gold, also known as 24-karat gold.
  • 3. Gold Bullion / Gold Bars

    Gold bullion
    Source: Bloomberg

    Gold bullion (also called gold bars) is often used to store large quantities of gold. Central banks and financial institutions store large gold bars in vaults. The large gold bars stored by banks weigh 400oz (12 kg / 27 lbs). Smaller gold bars starting at 1oz are available for retail buyers. Gold bullion is valued at its weight in gold.

  • 4. Scrap Gold

    Scrap gold from computer electronics
    Source: Youtube

    Scrap gold can be collected from electronics and other parts that use gold. Often people melt components down to extract the scrap gold. Scrap gold is valued at its weight in gold, adjusted for purity.

  • 5. Plated Gold

    Gold plating

    Plated gold is a very thin layer of gold that is bonded to another metal. Plated gold is typically not worth much money because the gold content is so little. Typically plated gold thickness is measured using a term called microns.

  • 6. Gold Nuggets

    Huge gold nugget from

    Gold nuggets are raw gold found in nature and mines. Large and unusual gold nuggets can often command a premium above their weight in gold.

    The precise purity of gold nuggets is often difficult to establish without melting the nugget into pure gold.

  • 7. Gold Leaf

    Gold leaf
    Source: Pinterest /

    Gold leaf is a very thin layer of gold that is applied to a surface such as wood or metal. Gold leaf is usually not worth very much because it contains very little gold.

Gold Karats

What is gold karat?

A gold karat is a measurement of the fineness of gold, which is a way to describe the purity of gold relative to the entire piece. The gold karat is a fractional measure with 24 parts representing pure gold.

Most jewelry is either 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, or 24k gold. To calculate the fineness you can take the number of karats divided by 24. Below is a list of the purity for all gold karats:

  • 10k gold: 42% pure (10 / 24 = 42%)
  • 14k gold: 58% pure (14 / 24 = 58%)
  • 18k gold: 75% pure (18 / 24 = 75%)
  • 22k gold: 92% pure (22 / 24 = 92%)
  • 24k gold: 99.9% pure (24 / 24 = 99.9%)

You can calculate the amount of pure gold by multiplying the total weight of your jewelry by the percentage above. For example, a 10-gram 14k gold ring would have 5.8 grams of pure gold (10 grams * 58%). 24-karat gold is the purest gold and most expensive gold.

Gold is typically mixed with other metals (called alloys) such as copper to give it additional strength. Pure gold is more malleable than other metals. Jewelry is often mixed with other metals to make it strong so it does not get damaged when it is worn.

Most jewelry will contain a stamp noting the gold purity. For example, a gold wedding ring may display a 14k stamp inside the band.

Gold Can Have Many Colors

The color appearance of gold can vary based on the other alloys (metals) mixed in. The three most popular gold colors include (Rolex watch images are from

  • Yellow Gold: Yellow gold is the traditional gold color we are all used to seeing.
  • Yellow gold rolex
  • Rose Gold: Rose gold is a gold-copper alloy. Most rose gold jewelry contains a mix of 75% gold and 22% to 25% copper. Also, a small amount of silver is often added. Rose gold is typically classified as 18k gold.
    Rose gold rolex
  • White Gold: White gold was originally developed to look similar to platinum. White gold usualy contains about 75% gold and 25% white metals such as nickel, silver, zinc, and palladium.
    White gold rolex

How To Sell Gold At A Pawn Shop

Selling gold is fairly easy and straightforward. Most pawn shops deal with gold every day. Follow the steps below to sell your gold:

  1. Clean the gold. Be careful not to use chemicals to clean your gold - some chemicals could be harmful and ruin the finish. Mild dish soap works just fine - let your gold soak in a mixture of water and mild dish soap overnight. Then rinse the gold and wipe it down.
  2. Weigh the gold and estimate its purity. You should know the quantity of pure gold you are selling so you know if your offer is fair. Amazon sells many digital scales that can be used to measure gold. Make sure you buy a digital scale that is accurate to 1/10 of 1 gram.
  3. Find pawn shops near you. Use our tool to find nearby pawn shops.
  4. Be careful transporting large quantities of gold. Always make sure the area is safe.

Most pawn shops will give you 60% to 90% of your gold’s face value. The pawn shop may want to perform an acid test to verify the gold is real. Although it is rare, fake gold does exist. Fake gold is often manufactured in China. Fake gold is made from Tungsten and then plated with real gold.

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