What happens when you bring in jewelry that you want to sell?
When you bring in jewelry that you want to sell we look at it to determine if it is costume or authentic. We buy precious metals that we can have refined. If a jewelry piece is plated or filled, that is not something we can have processed. We inspect each piece to locate a little stamp that identifies the purity of the metal and the authenticity of the piece. The most common stamps for gold are 10K and 14K; 18K and 24K are other stamps, but not as common. There is also a stamp on silver that would be 925 or Sterling Silver. The identifying stamp for platinum is 950 or PLAT. If there is no stamp present on the jewelry piece, or it is illegible, we have a digital tester in our store that indicates the purity and genuineness of your jewelry.
The purity stamps indicate how much of the piece of jewelry is made up of gold, silver, or platinum versus other metals, called alloys. 24K is pure gold and has no other metals in it; 10K is (ten)10 parts gold and 14 parts alloys; 14K is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloys;18K is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys. Alloys are added to gold to make jewelry more durable to wear, and also can change the color so that white gold and rose gold can be produced. Common metals combined with gold are silver, copper, nickel, iron, zinc, tin, manganese, cadmium, platinum, and titanium. Copper is the most common alloy used to make rose gold while nickel and platinum are common to make white gold. The stamp 925 indicates 92.5% silver and 7.5% alloys. Platinum’s stamp is most commonly 950 which means it is 95% platinum and 5% alloys.
For jewelry checking, we often use what is known as a Jeweler’s Loupe, which is a ten-power (10x) triplet that is three lenses fused together to eliminate distortion. Once we have carefully inspected each jewelry piece, we separate the items into karat weights and metals. We weigh each category and use that weight to determine the value of your scrap gold.
Occasionally, there will be a stamp on a piece of jewelry, but the jewelry doesn’t have the same characteristics as an authentic piece. For example, a bracelet may be stamped 10K, but has green around the hinges or clasp, which is not a characteristic of real gold. That type of jewelry is considered costume. Costume jewelry may be plated, but still appear to be stamped that it is real gold. This may occur when part of the stamp has worn off.
It is important to us and to you that we accurately determine the value of the precious metals that you are selling; therefore, we take great care in our inspection of each piece.
(Donald Clark, 2017) https://www.gemsociety.org/article/fundametals-jewelery-metals-overview/