Selling unwanted gold can be a quick way to earn some extra cash, but getting the best deal isn’t always easy.
There are plenty of specialist cash-for-gold companies to choose from, but these may not offer you the best price.
Selling gold to a high street jeweller or through an online trading website such as eBay may take more time, but it’s likely you’ll be offered more money.
Take a look at these tips to ensure you get the best deal when selling gold jewellery.
Find out more: 50 ways to make money – our comprehensive money-making guide
1. Consider the best time to sell gold
The rules of supply and demand dictate that if more people want to invest in a commodity, its price will increase. Gold tends to be in more demand when the economy is looking rocky, as it’s seen as a safer bet than other forms of investment, such as stocks and shares.
It’s therefore worth considering the state of the economy when selling gold. If you think harder times are on the horizon, it might be worth holding out for gold prices to rise.
Nevertheless, as with any investment, it’s very difficult to accurately predict future rises or falls in value.
2. Don't rush to cash-for-gold companies
Using a specialist cash for gold company may seem convenient, but previous Which? research has shown it's unlikely to get you the most money in return for your precious metal.
We found prices offered by cash-for-gold companies compared poorly with high street jewellers, pawnbrokers and online gold buying services. Compare prices from as many sources as you can before selling your gold.
3. Get a value for your gold
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. If you think it’s a poor deal, you can ask for a better price or request the return of your gold.
4. Haggle before you sell gold
Don't be afraid to haggle if you think you're not being offered enough for your gold.
Check how many jewellers there are in your area. If there are several competing for business, you may find they’re more willing to negotiate over the best price for your unwanted gold, especially if you’re offloading a lot of jewellery.
Gather quotes from several jewellers, then play them off against each other. See our tips on haggling etiquette to increase your chances of a successful negotiation.
5. 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 websites such as eBay.
As you're potentially selling an expensive item, it will help to build 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 - how to set up and use an eBay account
6. 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.
7. Compare cash-for-gold companies' reputations
If you're determined to use a cash-for-gold firm, research their reputations online. This might help to flag up firms you would rather avoid.
Type the names of specific cash-for-gold firms into a search engine and look for reviews or comments about their service. Make sure to ignore paid adverts.
Forums and blogs are also good places to look for in-depth reviews.