Cash for gold

7 tips for selling gold jewellery at the best price

  • How to sell gold at the best price
  • Common mistakes to avoid
  • Alternatives to 'cash for gold' companies
  • What affects gold prices

Selling old and unwanted gold can be a quick and convenient way to make some extra cash.

Gold is likely to be most in demand during times of economic trouble when it is seen as a safe bet compared with other forms of investment, such as stocks and shares.  

And the number of specialist 'cash-for-gold' companies offering to buy your precious metal soared after the last financial crash - but they may not offer you the best deal and there are plenty of alternatives.

You can sell your gold independently, either to a high street jeweller or through an online trading website, such as eBay. This may take more more effort, but there is a good chance you will get more money.

So take a look at these tips and think carefully before parting with your gold.

Find out more: 50 ways to make money – our comprehensive money-making guide

1. Don't rush to a cash-for-gold company

Using a specialist cash-for-gold company may seem convenient, but previous Which? research has shown it's unlikely to get you the most cash in return for your precious metal.

We found the cash-for-gold companies compared poorly with prices on offer from high street jewellers, pawnbrokers or selling scrap gold online. You should think carefully and consider all your options before selling old and unwanted gold. 

2. Get a value for your gold

Find out how much your gold items are worth before deciding who to sell them to. Looking at the hallmarks and weighing your jewellery will help you to assess how much your items might be worth, based on current gold prices.

You can also get a valuation from high street jewellers to give you a firm idea of what your gold is worth.

If you do send your items to a cash-for-gold company always get a valuation first. And if you think you're being offered a poor deal, remember you can ask for a better price or request the return of your gold.

3. Compare deals and haggle before you sell gold

Always shop around for the best deal when selling gold - and don't be afraid to haggle if you think you're not being offered enough.

Check how many jewellers there are in your area. If there are several competing for business, you may find they are more willing to negotiate with you on the best price they will pay for your unwanted gold.

Find out more: How to haggle – expert tips on successful haggling

4. Sell gold online

If you live in an area with few jewellers, or are unable to find a good deal for your gold on the high street, you could try selling your items online on sites such as eBay.

As you're potentially selling an expensive item, it will help you sell if you have built up a reasonable level of positive feedback from other site users so buyers know you are trustworthy.

Find out more: Selling goods safely on eBay - information on how to set up, and use, an eBay account.

5. Look at the value of the whole item, not just the gold

Gold buyers are generally interested only in the value of the metal making up gold items, rather than any precious stones in them or the value of the craftsmanship.

Cash for gold companies may remove stones from gold jewellery and discard them if you send off rings, earrings and necklaces set with precious gems - preventing you from cashing in on their value.

Likewise, high-fashion or branded jewellery may be worth more if kept whole, than if you sell it on for melting.

Other items, such as old coins, medals and keepsakes, may be worth far more than you'd ever receive from a cash-for-gold firm, or even from a non-specialist high street jeweller.

If you suspect any items you own have more value than just the gold in them, are antiques or might be of interest to collectors, get them properly assessed and valued before selling them.

6. Compare cash-for-gold companies' reputations 

If you're determined to use a cash-for-gold firm, it's a good idea to research their reputations online.

Forums and blogs are likely to contain comments about, and reviews of, cash for gold firms. These might help to flag up firms you would rather avoid.

Simply googling the names of specific cash-for-gold firms, scrolling through the results the search engine returns and avoiding paid adverts should help you with your research.

7. Consider the state of the economy when selling gold

The rules of supply and demand dictate that if more people want to invest in a commodity, its price will increase, and gold tends to be in more demand when the economy is looking rocky.

So, it’s worth considering the state of the economy as a whole when selling gold. If you think there are harder times on the horizon, it might be worth holding out for gold prices to rise.

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Last updated:

March 2016

Updated by:

Joe Elvin

Which? Limited (registered in England and Wales number 00677665) is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited (registered in England and Wales number 07239342). Which? Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited. Registered office: 2 Marylebone Road, London NW1 4DF.