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Should You Clean Your Jewelry Before Selling It?

Should you clean and polish your jewelry before selling it?

The simple answer is yes. This practice is similar to cleaning your house or decorating it nicely to show off to potential buyers. People want to see its best form prior to buying it. In the case of pawning off jewelry, doing the grunt work yourself and presenting your valuables in their best condition may help you get a better deal.

However, it’s not always the best choice. Depending on what the jewelry is made of, how old it is, and if you’re unsure of how to properly clean it, you may need to leave it to the experts. A professional clean might cost extra, but that can pay for itself by avoiding damage to your jewelry and receiving a better price when you sell it.

How can you tell the difference? What is the best way to clean your jewelry? Let’s take a look.

Jewelry Cleaning Basics

While it can’t replace a professional cleaning, there are some ways to clean your jewelry at home.

Gold

Pure gold doesn’t tarnish, but most gold jewelry isn’t pure gold due to its soft and bendable nature. The other metals that gold is mixed with to become stronger do tarnish, like copper, silver, and iron. The lower karat of gold the jewelry is, the more likely it is to darken with tarnish from the other elements in its alloy.

Silver

Silver is known to tarnish, which is why silver polish is easily accessible! Some polishes come in kits with wipes and/or soft cloths. Be sure to research any polish before you buy it, checking the user reviews and seeing if they accomplish what they promise.

Though you can clean silver at home without manually polishing, this should only be done if you know what you’re doing and have performed extensive research into the process of performing a DIY polish. With added or extra steps, beyond using a tried and true polish, you’re at greater risk of messing something up. This is extra important if your silver jewelry contains gemstones.

Gemstones

For most gemstones, you need only wash them with warm, soapy water and then clean with a soft, bristled toothbrush or a fine, soft cloth.

Take care to be gentle around the areas where the gemstone connects to the ring, necklace, or other form of jewelry. The prongs holding it in place may become damaged if brushed too thoroughly.

Organic Gemstones

For organic gems like peals and amber, it’s recommended you do not use water or soap to clean them. Instead, use a soft cloth (a microfiber cloth is preferred) to wipe away any dirt or dust.

If you want to polish the jewelry around the organic gemstone, it’s best to take it to a professional. You need to prevent the organic gemstone from coming into contact with any soapy water or polish, so that detailed form of work is best handled by expert hands.

 

A Breakdown of Gold Karats

What does it mean to have a ten karat gold ring or a pair of seven karat gold earrings? Why is twenty-four the maximum number of karats anyone can have?

It all has to do with alloys, a chemical blend of different elements.

Gold isn’t strong enough to function as jewelry on its own. The softness of gold plays into the old act of biting coins to see if they’d bend, as most other metals aren’t soft enough when a moderate amount of force is applied. To make up for that, most (if not all) gold jewelry is a blend of other metals – which is called an alloy.

So, what does that mean for karats? Let’s dive in.

Alloys and Their Karats

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold often has few other elements in the alloy, allowing the color from the gold to shine on its own without diluting it too much. As a result, a stronger yellow color is likely to yield a higher karat.

White Gold

White gold is an alloy mixed more often with silver, though sometimes you’ll find percentages of nickel, zinc, palladium, and/or platinum.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is commonly made using copper and other stronger metals, like silver or platinum, as copper is also a relatively soft metal.

Pure Gold

Pure gold is not an alloy, but rarely is even twenty-four karat gold “pure” on a chemical level. For those that own twenty-four karat gold jewelry, there will be minute traces of other elements that are unavoidable and extremely difficult to remove. Because they are such low percentages, often less than a percent or two, it is the purest gold that is possible.

Karats and Gold Purity

Understanding alloys provides what you need to understand karats. The purity of gold is measured on a scale up to twenty-four. This refers specifically to how many parts of the composition is gold. For instance, a twelve karat gold ring is twelve parts gold; the remaining twelve parts are a combination of silver, platinum, copper, zinc, and so on.

The Twenty-Four Karat System

But why is the method of counting karats on a scale of twenty-four instead of twenty-five (which is more easily divisible in a percentage system)?

Though the origin of the karat concept is open to historical interpretation, the use of the twenty-four system allows for naturally occurring impurities. In short, there’s more leeway, as each karat now represents slightly more than a twenty-five system would have.

Karat Engraving

Most rings will have an engraving on the inside to represent the metal’s quality. Often, you’ll find it notated with a number from one to twenty-four (though you’ll rarely see a twenty-four karat ring) and a “K” or “KT.” For example, a twelve karat ring may be marked “12K.”

However, not all jewelry will be marked. Earrings, for example, are typically smaller, so engraving the metal would either result in a too-small mark or damage to the jewelry. To understand the karat value, you’d have to seek a professional assessment.

 

Times When Silver is Better Than Gold

Though gold is always more valuable per ounce than silver, occasionally, silver is the better option. Why?

Mainly, because it’s cheaper. Not everything that could use gold needs to use gold, when something similar and less expensive can do the job.

What are other cases where silver beats gold?

Strength

Silver is so strong that, sometimes, gold needs silver mixed in to make it able to withstand use. As an anti-bacterial metal, it’s often used over other metals to create gold alloys.

Silver is also used to solder and braze other metals, providing them with stable and firm joints in a variety of settings, from electronics to jewelry.

Silver can further be used simply to match the color or metal of the object being soldered. However, its strength always provides the additional benefit of stability.

Jewelry

Besides being a personal preference of color, silver is extremely popular in jewelry for its relative cheapness as a precious metal. This makes it easier for those with metal allergies, or metal hypersensitivity, to wear relatively inexpensive jewelry, so long as what they buy is pure silver and not sterling silver, which is a silver alloy.

Likewise, silver won’t oxidize and turn skin green, nor will it cumulate bacteria that can cause infections. For those that get piercings, silver is a great alternative for a safe piercing that doesn’t break the bank.

Reflectivity

Once used in the construction of mirrors, due to its incredibly reflective nature, silver is now used in lining spacecrafts to protect inhabitants from the sun! Likewise, silver is often used in skyscrapers and other buildings to coat the windows and help them avoid heating up.

Silver functionally replaces the need for shade, as it reflects instead of absorbing heat or light. In space, unless you’re flying right behind a planet or other orbital body, you’re going to constantly be in view of the sun, which would heat you up continuously! This makes silver an absolute necessity under our harsh star.

Electronics

Gold is used in many electronics as a conductor, since gold does not tarnish. However, the electronic industry and the world’s gold supply couldn’t survive by only using gold!

Silver is also the world’s most conductive metal, making it a more efficient form of travel for electricity. Unfortunately, silver tarnish can affect the overall conductive nature of the metal and would need constant upkeep, but, with a bit of maintenance every now and then, it can still perform at its best.

Investments

You often hear of people buying gold or silver coins as investments against economic collapse. Another tactic is trying to play the market by buying at their lowest and cashing in when the price peaks.

Whatever the reason, many prefer to buy silver coins over gold bullions, as they are much, much more affordable and require less money to start developing a collection. People can buy small sets of silver coins when they feel they can afford them, as opposed to shaving off a bit of gold every now and then.

 

Tips for Identifying a Quality Pawnshop

Whether you’re going to shop or to pawn off an item for a loan, it’s good practice to know how to identify quality pawnshops from the bad.

But what makes a quality pawnshop?

Often, it has to do with integrity, a keen eye, and customer service. After all, a good pawnshop is one that inspires trust, knows what they’re doing, and wants to maintain a lasting and positive relationship with their customers.

Quality Assurance

A good pawnshop researches the items brought to them, whether it’s for a loan or to outright sell it.

A poor pawnshop may take any electronic offered to sell it at a discount, whether or not it works. This can be frustrating for people that come in and expect to buy items that actually work.

Being able to go in and trust the items you buy is crucial. As such, their quality assurance is a good sign that the pawnshop knows what they’re doing and is going to provide a fair deal.

Customer Service

If a pawnshop knows they’re going to rip someone off, they often don’t care too much about the people that come in to buy, sell, or take out a loan. Keep an eye on their customer service and see how invested they are in making sure you walk away with a positive experience. This can range from how they greet you as you enter and how willing they are to walk you through each step of the process.

Quality shops will make people feel safe and welcome when they’re either pawning off their own possessions or looking for something to buy. It’s a business’s way of telling customers that they care about your experience and want it to be a positive one.

If you walk into a pawnshop and no one greats you, or they’re trying to rush you along, don’t be afraid to back out of a deal and try the next one!

Online Reviews

The best way to tell if a pawnshop is of any quality is to take to the internet! Though you can’t always believe what you read online, reviews are excellent for getting an idea of a business and how they operate.

Take reviews with a grain of salt, however, as people are more likely to review a business if they’ve had a negative experience than if they’ve had a positive one. If a pawnshop has just as many positive reviews as negative ones, it’s likely that more people have walked away with a positive experience.

If a pawnshop only has negative reviews, see how many reviews there are in total. Only a couple? Probably no need to worry, especially if the dates are spaced out. If it’s a lot, then they have a consistent set of problems that have gone unaddressed.

Lastly, trust your gut when reading reviews. If you find that a review is reasonably steering you clear of a bad situation, you’re under no obligation to give the pawnshop a chance.

How to Know When to Sell Gold

Parting with your gold is hard enough without worrying about if it’s the right time to sell it.

Does the value of gold change? Do you benefit the most from selling it now or should it be saved for a rainy day? Whether you have a few gold coins or a couple pieces of jewelry, you’ll want to try to get the best exchange rate you can.

Here’s how to know.

The Value of Gold

Gold is a precious resource used in all sorts of things, from jewelry to medical implants to electronics, making it a well sought after metal. Because of this, the price of gold stays relatively stable. The market for gold will rarely “crash,” so it’s a safe investment against non-backed currency.

In the United States, we don’t have gold or silver backed currency, meaning that the value of the dollar is at more risk of inflation and depreciation in the global economy. People that are worried about such things are likely to invest in gold as a safety net, in the case of an economic downslide or crash.

Fluctuations in Gold Prices

The price of gold is against a whole bullion, or about 27.4 pounds.

As of September 8th, 2019, the price of gold comes in at $1,508.59. Most people selling gold aren’t selling whole bullions, so the few dollars of change in the price on a day to day basis isn’t going to make a huge impact.

You’ll mainly want to keep an eye out for major dips in the value, ranging in the hundreds. Keep an eye on the price of gold on websites like JM Bullion, which keep track of the daily values of bullions, not just gold!

When You’ll Need to Cash Gold

Economic downturns with high inflation on the dollar are the best time to cash in your gold, but it’s not the only time.

Even if the national or global economy is doing well, that doesn’t always mean you wouldn’t benefit from selling gold to get you through a rough time or to invest it in something else -maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity.

This also depends on how you came across your gold. Not everyone that trades their gold for cash bought gold coins to invest against economic downturns. Most people simply have gold jewelry or watches they no longer use, or the value of the piece is more important than having it anymore.

Regardless, it may sometimes be better to hold out for a better price, if you’re not in dire need of emergency funds.

How Will You Know It’s the Right Time?

It’s rare you’ll ever find a time in which you’re absolutely sure that “now” is the objectively best time to sell your gold.

Cashing in any investment or selling your personal items is always going to be a risk. Your best shot is to watch the price of gold and hope you’re able to sell at a peak price, when you need the cash the most.

 

How to Tell How Pure Your Gold Jewelry Is

You have a gold ring, a watch, a pair of earrings, or some necklace that was presented as a gift. As special as the act of gift giving can be, sometimes you just want to know what quality of gold you possess, whether it’s a simple curiosity or if you’re planning on pawning off items you never plan to wear again.

Can you tell the purity of gold from the comfort of your own home, or do you have to take it to a specialist to find out?

Understanding Gold

It’s extremely rare to find out you own a completely pure piece of gold. If you have it, you likely know due to its expensive and breakable nature.

Gold is naturally a soft material, which is why it has such a long history of being made into small, wearable items. Even basic tools can bend and piece together gold. As a result, it often needs to be mixed with another metal to keep it solid and stable.

Karats

Different from carats, which are the measurement of quality for diamonds, a karat is a unit of measuring the purity of gold. Gold is defined on a scale of one to twenty-four, with twenty-four karats representing absolute pure gold. The higher the karat is, the higher percentage of gold. As gold gives off a distinctly yellow color, you can tell how pure yours is by the color.

Alloys

An alloy is a combination of two different metals. For gold jewelry, you’ll find a variety of different gold “colors,” which are actually just alloys with differing percentages of gold to the added material.

This is often done to gold, as it is a soft metal that needs a bit of reinforcement to avoid dents, bending, or breaking. It’s also done to help lower or to change the color for aesthetic purposes.

  • White gold is often an alloy made with silver, nickel, or palladium.
  • Yellow gold is often a “stronger” version of white gold, with a higher percentage of gold in the alloy.
  • Rose gold (sometimes called pink or red gold) is made primarily with copper; though it’ll often contain a small percentage of silver, as copper is also a soft metal.

The more gold is in the alloy, the stronger the yellow color will be. Any rose gold or white gold is going to be a lower karat.

A Keen Eye

It’s difficult to tell the karat on your own at home, but you can attempt to figure out the general range of purity by sight.

Don’t use online photos of gold to compare your gold’s color to. It’s best to find another example you can see side by side. This is especially helpful if you know the karat of the item you’ll compare it to.

For example, if you know your ring is 12 karat gold, you could reasonably assume that your watch is of a higher percentage of gold if it looks more yellow than the ring. It may not be perfect, but it’s a great place to start if you’re curious!

 

Uses of Gold in the World Besides Jewelry and Coin

Gold is most often found as jewelry and currency, especially since its rarity throughout human history had made it something to be desired and easily controlled.

However, there are a few surprising uses for gold, beyond looking pretty. Could it be “the most useful metal”, even in this modern industrial age? And does that make it more valuable to you than before?

The practice of gold buying may typically involve gold coins and jewelry, due to the amount of gold and the ease of refining it. Nonetheless, here are other places you can find it:

Electronics

Gold has been well-used in electronic devices, since it’s a great conductor of electricity and soft to manipulate. It also resists tarnish very well, making it ideal for electronics that work in low voltages and are susceptible to rust, which can disrupt the flow of electricity.

Most modern cell phones contain about fifty cents worth of gold in them!

Small amounts of gold can also be found in calculators, GPS units, televisions, and computers. The amount of gold found in these devices, however, is hardly worth the money if someone was trying to sell gold for a quick buck.

Even still, it’s good to know about the treasure inside your electronics, so you remember to recycle! Gold is a very useful and finite metal; it’s wise to keep even the small amounts in circulation.

Medicine

Does gold have medicinal benefits? How can that be right?

While it’s true that eating gold is meaningless (and kind of excessive), this precious mineral does have a place in our healthcare!

For example, gold crowns and caps in dental care! A practice used for over 4,000 years, dentists often mix gold with other minerals to create a stronger, more cost-effective crown for your teeth. Gold is also used in stents, pacemakers, and other kinds of implants, as the human body is less prone to rejecting this metal.

Don’t get any exciting ideas, though; selling gold found in a body is typically frowned upon, even if the body is given to science. Mostly, it’s too much work to extract the gold – but some people just find it distasteful.

Art

Gold jewelry can be considered a form of art, but not all art is wearable!

Gold has been used in art across various mediums, including paint, sculptures and even architecture. Most of these use gold film or leaf, as opposed to creating something entirely out of gold. After all, a solid-gold ring is spendy – but nothing like a solid gold statue, even a small one!

Even still, gold film or leaf was still expensive. So, art using gold meant the artist had a wealthy patron or religious institution serving as the gold buyers backing them.

What To Do With Gold

The best place to sell gold depends on the amount of gold you have.

A painting with gold leaf may find its place at an art gallery. However, an electronic device or component with a higher amount of gold than normal may be best suited to a pawnshop.

When considering where to sell gold, keep in mind: places that say “we buy gold” will most likely pass up on buying the small amount of gold in your smartphone, especially since most of the phone’s value is not the gold.

How to get the best price for your gold

Selling gold has definitely become big business recently and one thing that any gold buyers will tell you is that you are going to want to make sure that you get the best price when you sell gold. But how do you do this?

If you want to know more about gold buying and how to get the most from your gold, then here are some of the things that you need to know.

Sell at the right time

The thing about gold, is that it is just like any commodity; by this we mean that the price of gold will fluctuate, will go up and down and will change depending on the market. You will find that the price of gold is often higher and gold is in more demand if the economy as a whole looks rocky. This is because it is often seen as a safer investment compared to things such as stocks and shares.

If you have gold to sell, then you should be keeping an eye on the economy, as this many help you to figure out when is the perfect time to make a sale.

Find the best place to sell gold

If you are new to selling gold, then chances are that you are going to want to make the process as quick and as easy as possible. This is why many people seem to be drawn to those quick “we buy gold” businesses to make their money. Of course, these are going to allow you to sell your gold quickly and with minimal fuss, but you might not get the same price for what you have as you would if you hung on to it and waited. It is a much better idea to shop around look at places where to sell gold and see if you can find one that will give you a great price as well as making the process easier too.

Don’t be afraid to haggle

Haggling might make you feel a little uncomfortable, but haggling is actually a really great thing to do if you are trying to sell gold. If you don’t think that you are being offered the right price for your gold, then don’t be afraid to say that you are going elsewhere to get a price. You can gather a range of valuations on what you have and compare them. This way you will know what the best price is for your gold.

You may even be able to use this information to haggle with your preferred buyer, as you can show them that they are not offering the best price.

Try selling online

If you are concerned that you are not going to be able to get to a store to sell your gold, then the good news for you is that you can actually sell gold online. There are a variety of online stores that you can use to sell your gold and not only are they easy to use, but they are also going to be able to give you a good price too.

Selling gold is not always an easy way to make money, but it is a good way to make money. So, if you want to try and maximize your investment and see a good return, why not pay attention to these top tips on how to sell your gold for the most money possible.

The Surprising Origins of Pawn Shops

Though we may view pawn shops as places to uncover nifty trinkets and possibly rare finds, the origins of these stores are more diverse than you’d imagine!

Throughout the centuries, pawning has been a preferred way of getting a quick and small loan, as opposed to borrowing money. After all, it won’t result in lingering, accumulating debt; if you can’t pay it back, the shop keeps your item. Nice and tidy!

But where did it start – and how was it different from now?

Ancient to Medieval China

Though they weren’t called a pawnshop, the first version of these stores appeared in ancient China, more than 3,000 years ago. In the 5 th century, medieval China had Buddhist monks and monasteries that participated in the pawnshop trade. Even wealthy families would invest in this form of commerce, as monasteries were exempt from taxes.

Appearances in Europe

The concept of loaning an item as collateral for money isn’t unique – so, it’s no wonder ancient Greece and Rome came up with the idea independently! The 14th and 15th centuries marked an uptake, since the Catholic Church loosened up restrictions on the practice of loaning money for profit.

What Used to Be Sold?

Since most people who used pawnshops to make it through the week were the poorer fringes of society, it was often clothes, not gold or jewelry. In fact, the word “pawn” is derived from the Latin word “platinum,” which means cloth or clothing – something very valuable before industrial manufacturing came around.

The Great Depression’s Pawnshops

During the Great Depression, our modern concept of pawnshops began to take root. Many families fell on hard times and needed money for food more than they needed a family heirloom.

In these times, clothes were beginning to be mass produced. Gold and jewelry more easily made their way into families during times of prosperity, investment, or courtship.

As such, in this era, families were more likely to pawn gold or pawn jewelry than their clothing. Furniture was also an option, but transportation costs or availability made it better to pawn items you could carry in a bag or pocket.

Modern Day America

These days, pawnshops are well-known for finding rare or unique items. The best part is that no two pawnshops will have the same collection. A pawnshop in Miami will offer vastly different items than one in New York or Las Vegas.

As such, if you’re on the lookout for a “pawnshop near me” with a certain item, don’t get discouraged after one or even two locations. Pawnshops are even a great alternative to antique shops, since the good ones put time and effort into the research and verification of certain items – especially when trading items, rather than pawning them. You’ll find loads of hidden surprises with enough hunting.

 

 

 

Getting The Most Practical Home-Improvement Tools

Thinking about doing a home improvement project? If you are, certain tools are necessary to do the job right. Most people have tools that are necessary in their home. Others may have to buy new ones that they do not have. Tools and equipment are necessary to do any type of home improvement project, especially on your own. Here are some proven tips on choosing the right tools for home-improvement undertaking.

Before you take up home improvement projects, make sure you buy a good tape measure. Quite often, home owners try to get by without measuring, when it is such an easy thing to do. Before you get something to fit into a confined space, take a measurement, to see if there is actually room.

A tape measure is sufficient for many measuring tasks, and this is something you should always have close by. To determine flatness or measure angles, a tool that will work for both is a combination square, which is another valuable tool. Different levels will be needed for many home improvement jobs. A wrench is a tool that’s essential for many tasks, and you should have a couple of different kinds nearby. A very valuable tool to have is an adjustable wrench because of its ability to adjust in size for bolts and nuts that you need to work with. These wrenches can jam, so keep the lubricated at all times. At some point, you should just discard an old, rusty wrench and get a new one. If you want, you can also buy an automatic adjustable wrench that will conform to the nut or bolt with the push of a button. You can tighten or loosen the nuts with a combination wrench set, as long as it is in good condition.

One type of tool that’s useful for many home improvement projects is a saw. One saw fits all does not apply to most home repairs or improvements; you will likely need to have more than one type alone. A hand saw will cut through wood efficiently, but you will need a hack saw if you job requires metal materials. If the job is large and will require extensive sawing; you may choose a power saw for the job. You may want to consider a circular saw for jobs that have a lot of different materials to be cut; and it is produced in a cordless unit if you need it where power is an issue. These are very useful for cutting pieces of lumber for any kind of home renovations. Never use a saw blade that is not intended for the particular one you are cutting with and be aware that a dull blade can cause injury. Safety glasses can help keep your eyes safe when you are using a saw.

Home improvement projects usually require a variety of tools to complete them successfully. There are many tools that are needed, as seen in this article, and maybe even more. Having the best possible tools will make your home improvement jobs go a lot better, not only with the ease of work, but the quality as well.