You’ve got a gold ring or silver pendant and you want to know what its scrap value is….Here’s the quick and easy process for estimating scrap value:
- Determine the purity of your item. Most pieces should have a stamp indicating purity (aka “fineness”). For gold, look for the following marks “10K” (same as “416” = 41.6% gold); “12K” (same as “500” = 50% gold) “14k” (basically the same as “585” = 58.5% gold); “18K” (same as “750” = 75% gold); or “21K” (same as “975” = 97.5% gold). For silver, look for 800 (80% silver); 830 (83% silver); 835 (83.5% silver), 900 (same as “Coin” and just plain “Silver” = 90% silver); 925 (same as “Sterling”, “Ster.” and “SS” = 92.5% silver); “950” (95% silver); “980” (98% silver) or 999 (same as “Fine Silver” = 99.9% silver). If you’re not sure of the purity, you can take a guess that a silver item is 925 and a gold item is 12K (while your item almost certainly is not 12K gold, it is probably either 10K or 14K if it was purchased in the USA and thus 12K is a nice happy medium for estimating purposes).
- Now you need to know the weight. Unless your item has lots of stones or very large stones, don’t worry about them. If you have a gram scale handy, that’s great. If not, you can use any food or postal scale. If your scale doesn’t weigh in grams, then you can easily convert from ounces. 1 ounce = 28 grams. So if your item weighs 0.4 ounces – you multiply 0.4 x 28 and get 7 grams.
- Next you need to get the pure gold / silver weight of your item. Take the weight (7 grams in the example above) and multiply it by the corresponding percentage from step 1. So, for example, if it’s 14K gold you would multiply 7 x 58.5% and get 4.09 which you can round to 4. That means your 7 gram piece of jewelry has 4 grams of pure gold in it.
The prices listed here are per Troy Ounce. (A Troy Ounce is different from a regular American Ounce aka Standard Ounce. A regular ounce is equivalent to 28 grams and a Troy Ounce is equivalent to 31.1 grams. That’s why we converted to grams in Step 3 so we can compare “oranges to oranges”. To get the current value of your item you need to take the “spot price” from the link above (currently $1340.00) and divide it by 31.1. Today, that would be $1340 divided by 31.1 = $43.08 per gram of pure gold. Now, we determined in step 3 that our piece has 4.09 grams of pure gold in it. So we just multiply 4.09 x $43.08 and get $176.19. That’s the current estimated scrap value.
There are a lot of factors which can affect the actual scrap value of your item. For example, gold marked 14K is not necessarily 14K and is often less than 58.3% gold. In addition, things such as stones, repairs, and watch bands will add non-precious metal weight that will thus result in a lower value.