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You’ve probably seen the commercials: Old, broken jewelry or gold coin collections can translate into big money if you’re willing to sell and have them melted down. But not so fast; to make sure you’re being treated fairly and getting the maximum profit from the sale, here are five things to do before rushing off to places that buy gold.

  1. Know the Lingo
    Educate yourself in advance so you won’t be overwhelmed when you walk into a shop. Unlike a standard U.S. ounce, which is 28 grams, gold is measured in troy ounces. A troy ounce is 31.1 grams. You may also hear the measurement a “pennyweight,” which equals 1.555 grams.
  2. Separate Your Jewelry by Karat Level
    Since pure gold is very soft, it is mixed with other metals to make jewelry. The higher the karat marked on your jewelry (you can usually find this information on the inside of a ring or bracelet), the more gold is in it and the more it should be worth.
  3. Ask for an Appraisal
    Ask in advance what your gold is worth and then take time to think about it and do your research. Many places that buy gold offer free appraisals of gold and other precious metals, or you can go to an outside appraiser to get an idea of how much your jewelry is actually worth.
  4. Check the Market
    The value of gold changes daily based on national and international markets, so you may want to keep an eye on the market to get the most out of your collection. Going through a gold buyer, of course, means that you won’t get the full value since they have operating costs and need to make a profit as well. But knowing the general trends of gold prices is a good idea.
  5. Research the Buyer
    Find the best place to sell gold in your area. Some businesses buy and sell gold, while others only buy. Research the buyer you’re considering to make sure the store has a reputation for above-board business transactions. The Better Business Bureau is always a good place to start, but you can also check out user reviews and testimonials.

Have you tried to sell gold jewelry or coins? What was your experience like? Share your experience and advice on selling gold in the comments. Read more like this.