Don’t know what to do with your old jewelry? Why not sell it to a pawn shop and make some easy cash?
Unless they are broken beyond repair, pawn shops will almost always pawn or buy used watches for a hefty price. Luxury watches are especially coveted by pawn shops seeking out quality second-hand pieces to boost their collection to sell.
Look up shops that don’t have many luxury watches on hand to land some serious cash.
Local pawn shops will always take any jewelry made up of precious metals like platinum and gold. Silver and “gold-plated” jewelry will likely bring you a fair amount of cash, too, but not nearly as much as, say, a platinum necklace or a pair of gold earrings.
Your jewelry doesn’t even have to be in the best shape, either. Bits and pieces of old jewelry can be used to sustain newer ones. It may even be melted down to create gold bars or new jewelry pieces altogether.
Of course, the better the quality of the piece, the more money a shop may be willing to give you for it.
Turns out diamonds are a pawn shop’s best friend, too. Even a small diamond will fetch you a decent amount of cash at a pawn shop.
If you have a diamond to sell or pawn off but aren’t sure if it’s authentic or not, don’t worry about it. Most pawn shops have an on-site expert that will look into it for you and make you an offer based on their findings.
To test for authenticity and determine its value, they will often look into the “4 Cs” of diamonds—carat, cut, clarity, and color. They will use similar scales to test other precious gemstones as well.
Because pawn shops always have customers looking for good diamond jewelry pieces or those looking for loose diamonds to create their own custom piece, you can bet diamonds are always in high-demand (and have high pay-outs).
There are far more precious stones out there besides diamonds. If you’ve got a good sapphire, ruby, opal, amethyst, topaz, emerald, or other valuable gemstone piece lying around, your local pawn shop will definitely purchase it from you for a good price.
It may help to have appraised the gemstone piece through a reputable organization such as the American Society of Appraisers beforehand, too. These appraisers can determine the authenticity and general current value for your jewelry, letting you decide for yourself whether you wish to pawn or sell it off for some quick cash.
Check What’s Trendy
It is always a good idea to look into what pieces of jewelry are currently trending before selling off a few pieces to a pawn shop.
For instance, ever since Kate Middleton revealed her sapphire engagement ring, people started buying sapphire jewelry pieces. If you sold a sapphire piece during that craze, you might have gotten a little more for it then than you would nowadays.
When most people picture a pawn shop, they think of the sketchy cover businesses of mob movies. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Many pawn shops are just like any other shop—clean, well-lit and run by people who want to help you!
How are Pawn Shops Monitored?
Pawn shops are regulated by 14 federal statutes and regulations as well as numerous state and local laws. They are perhaps one of the safest businesses to work with.
It is still a good idea to look into a pawn shop’s reputation through the local Better Business Bureau or the National Pawnbrokers Association’s website before you go.
When people “pawn” items, they are actually taking a pawn loan. With pawn loans, a pawn broker loans you money in exchange for holding onto your personal property as collateral. Once your pawn loan and small pawn fee is paid off, your property is then returned to you.
Typically, you would pawn an item to borrow a few hundred dollars or less at a time. Some pawn shops might even loan up to $15,000 if you pawn off a boat, ATV, or other large motor vehicles.
You can even get a pawn loan from your cars, SUVs or trucks. In this case, a pawn broker will simply take the title of said vehicle as collateral rather than the vehicle itself so you can still drive it around.
The exact amount the pawn shop will loan is decided through a pawn contract you sign with them. How long a pawn shop can hold onto your property before it is rightfully theirs differs for every state. You can look up the specific laws and regulations for your state here.
Let’s look at Florida as an example.
Florida Pawn Loan Laws
When pawning off items in Florida, you must pay off the pawn loan within 30 business days or risk forfeiting the property you pawned off to the pawn broker, including the absolute right, title, and interest in and to the property vests in. You can, of course, extend the loan if both parties mutually agree to do so.
Once the property is in the pawn broker’s ownership, however, they are not obligated to redeem the goods pawned to them as collateral.
You will be given a pawn broker transaction form upon making the contract. If that form is lost, destroyed, or stolen, you must either write to your pawn broker by certified or registered mail, or show the broker a copy of your return receipt.
What Can You Pawn?
There is no restriction (or limit) on what items you can pawn off or even outright sell to pawn shops. You can even pawn most kinds of guns (including airsoft and paintball guns) unless you are a minor. You will also have to prove your ownership as well.
Unfortunately, there are some items that pawn shops will turn away. This list will give you a better idea of what sorts of items pawn shops will accept and what they will refuse.
Most people who want to open a pawn shop oftentimes think pawn brokers simply buy, sell, and trade secondhand goods. The main business of a pawn broker, however, is providing you short-term credit in exchange for your personal property as collateral for a loan.
There are three important factors you need to consider before heading into the pawn brokerage business.
Initial start-up costs may go towards things like:
- Building a solid pawn loan base
- Display cases
- Accounting software
- A computer
- Start-up inventory
- Back room
- Security system
- Qualified assistance
You also need to be able to operate with negative cash flow and minimal profits for several months, which means you need sufficient capital before you even open.
Starting a reputable pawn shop requires you have at least $100,000 in capital. You need to establish your anticipated expenses and expected annual gross revenue in order to calculate how much you truly need. Researching other pawn shops may help give you a better picture of the expenses and revenue you might bring in on your first year.
Use that data to determine what capital you will use. Personal loans, small business administration loans, or an investor are all viable options.
You also need to be able to test and identify authentic precious metals and gemstones. Most pawn shops can attest that at least 50 percent of the of items pledged for a pawn loan or offered for sale are fine jewelry. This means investing in the right tools as well as hiring an in-store authenticator of these goods to look into each piece sent your store’s way.
Consider setting up a good marketing system as well. That way, you will attract good return customers that will keep your pawn shop thriving.
Get a License
Pawn brokers need to follow a wide variety of federal, state, and local regulations. There are currently at least 14 regulations at the federal level alone.
In order to run a successful pawn shop, you need to comply with all regulations within the IRS code, the US Patriot Act, the Truth in Lending Act, and many others to the letter.
You must also obtain a pawn brokerage license. Most pawn shops are licensed at a state level while others just at a local level. Many shops are licensed at both levels.
You will also need many different types of licenses, including:
- A precious metal dealer license
- A secondhand dealer license
- A general business license
Different states require different licenses, so it is important you look up which ones you need before opening up a local pawn shop in your area.
Pawn shops must keep a minimum distance requirement from schools and other similar establishments. It might be a good idea to take over an older pawn shop to minimize any need for location scouting, zoning approval, and additional permits.
If you can’t, contact your city’s planning department to help you find a suitable location for your pawn shop.
When you set up a loan at a pawn shop with physical collateral, that collateral isn’t gone forever. In fact, there’s many ways to reclaim the item you’ve pawned.
Pay Back the Loan
The easiest way to get your item back is to pay back the loaned money plus the interest. It’s often in the best interested of the pawn shop owner to allow you to reclaim your item rather than having to sell it themselves.
This is likely the cheapest and easiest way to reclaim your pawned item, as it’s the intended function of a pawn loan to return your collateral to you once the loan agreements are satisfied.
Ask About Extensions
Either before or after you’ve pawned an item for a quick loan, ask the pawn store owner if they allow for extensions. They typically offer a grace period after the due date for the loan to be repaid. It can be in the pawn shops favor, especially if you can prove it to them that you’re getting paid soon. It’s a gamble on their part – losing out on a potential buyer or having the near assurance of a full payment on the loan.
Reactivate the Loan
Similar to an extension, if you’ve previously forfeit your collateral and it’s still sitting on the shelf after some time, it doesn’t hurt to ask the pawn shop if they’re willing to reactivate the loan. Then, you can finish paying off what you owe in order to get your item back. If there seems to be no interest in the item from paying customers, a pawn shop may feel more incentivized to allow you to resume your loan. That way, they can make back their money and move the merchandise.
Buy it Back
It may feel awkward to attempt to buy an item you’ve previously pawned or forfeited, but you can attempt to buy the item back yourself. This is best if the pawn shop is uninterested in allowing you to resume or finish the loan. If you outright sold the item to the pawn shop, there should be no hard feelings in buying back your item. Granted, you’ll probably be at a loss considering the pawn shop wants to make a profit. The money you got from it was less than its resale value, but if the item means that much to you, it’s an option you can follow through on.
Get a Friend to Buy It
Lastly, you can ask a friend to buy it back if you feel too uncomfortable buying back something from the place you pawned and forfeited on. The social anxiety of buying back an item from the person or company you failed to follow through on can be daunting. It’s a reasonable barrier when wanting to reclaim your stuff. If you have the cash and a good friend, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to get your stuff back so long as it’s still available for purchase.
Now and then, emergencies come up – and you need cash fast. What are the best ways to secure a loan on a tight deadline?
Though these aren’t highly recommended, due to their high fees, a payday loan may be necessary. They best suit people in time-sensitive emergencies, like making sure you have enough to afford your copay for medicine.
Otherwise, it’s best to avoid this method. It can spiral into getting a payday loan every pay period, as you’ll need a payday loan to get to your next payday. As such, you’ll be working with less money until your next pay check; so on and so forth.
This method should only be used in emergencies and if you have no other way of getting a quick loan.
Friends and Family
Though not an official loan, you can sometimes rely on friends and family for a quick loan.
Only do this if you know you can pay them back fast and completely. After all, you don’t want to sour personal relationships or burn bridges you may need for support later in life.
Create a spreadsheet and keep track of everything you have borrowed. Add entries for every time you’ve paid them back, whether it’s in full or in small amounts, and keep track of everything. That way, you can ensure you’ve paid them back – and avoid the friend or family member feeling like they’re bothering you for repayment.
Cash Advance on Credit Cards
Depending on the limit of your credit card, you can receive a good sum of cash using your credit card – such as at an ATM to get a cash advance.
Though this has a fee attached to it, you won’t incur a high rate of interest, like other loans. At least, it won’t be higher than the current interest on your credit card.
If you choose this method, be sure you can pay back this loan quickly. Keeping a large balance on your credit card for too long can severely damage your credit score.
Banks are good places for receiving an official loan. However, this method isn’t the fastest – often taking one to three days to get processed before you have access to the funds.
While this isn’t the fastest method, it is one of the safer options. It does require a credit check, but you avoid higher APRs, like those found in other fast loans.
Additionally, these loans are generally more than a couple hundred dollars – not a fast, small loan you need to access quickly. Depending on your needs, this may be a great option.
Pawn Shop Loan
Pawn shops can provide a loan the day you bring in your collateral. If you’re not in too much of a rush, you can shop around and compare different pawn shops for the best deal.
Pawn shops are a safe, fast, low-interest way to receive a loan. The interest isn’t based on a credit score, in case you have poor credit. Just ensure you have something expensive enough to set up as collateral.
While everyone knows about pawn shops, online pawn shops are less frequently talked about. As such, their benefits aren’t discussed as openly. Don’t get it wrong – there are many benefits to choosing this version over a physical location.
Let’s take a look at five reasons you should head to the internet instead.
Shop on Your Own Time
You aren’t bound to a physical location’s opening hours or your own schedule when you shop on an online pawn shop.
You can scroll through their website at midnight, on the toilet at work, or while you’re at a physical pawn shop and comparing prices. This convenience is why so many people have turned to online shopping in general. You can get the same convenience with secondhand, too.
Wide Range of Choices
When it comes to shopping, an online pawn store isn’t limited by a physical space, where they’re forced to showcase the items they think will sell fastest. Instead, they can show off everything in their inventory and make it clear how much of every item is available.
Maybe it’s the difference between two similar-looking rings, or maybe it’s the option between differently-sized furniture. Because there’s so much stuff to sort through, online search systems make it easier to find what you’re looking for – without having to ask staff for help.
Niche Objects and Antiques
The best part of an online pawn shop? It doesn’t rely on proximity to people with interesting items or exceptional antiques.
Because items can be sent in from anywhere, online pawn shops can accept everything they think is interesting or might sell well to the right audience. This is beneficial for both collectors and the pawn stores themselves. They can take on riskier, more niche items, because they’re not reliant on a collector wandering through their city or town and completely touring their location.
This isn’t a guarantee, as some online pawn shops may sell their items at the same rate as physical locations (and pocket the difference). However, online pawn shops are in a better position to offer better prices. They don’t need a physical location or employees on-location in order to make sales.
Items are typically stored in a warehouse while they’re listed online. As such, they can fit more inventory into a given space than a store would – where items are spaced out so customers can meander and see everything properly.
No matter where you are, you can always check online pawn shops and compare the best deals. You’re not limited to what’s physically in your area, especially if you’re after a quick, easy, small loan.
There are enough online pawn shops to compare loan details and interest rates, so you can pay off the loan and get your stuff back ASAP.
At the very least, it can give you a better bargaining position with your local pawn shop, should you be determined to negotiate a deal with a brick and mortar store.
It’s a long struggle of which is better: the big-city or small-town lifestyle? While it may be similar to the old adage, pawn shops and many other stores that stock secondhand items are going to differ greatly based on where they are. That’s not to mention their populations and the local economies, making this debate a lot more quantifiable than general preference.
Which should you pick? Let’s take a look.
Big City Pawn Shops
The biggest advantage of big-city pawn shops? Their access to a larger population, with a wider variety of items. They may have more to sell on any given day.
Bigger pawn shops and specialty pawn shops are more likely to be competitive in these environments, so they can stand out from the rest. This allows for precise shopping and selling, like jewelry specialty pawn shops.
Additionally, prices are likely to be in the customer’s favor. You can have more options for pursuing a pawn shop loan by shopping around.
Any strange or interesting finds are more likely to be scooped up very quickly by collectors. That’s not to mention people looking to resell to a targeted audience, rather than the general population that a pawn shop serves.
This can also exasperate the issue of a generic inventory, with repeat items that just aren’t desirable to collectors or general populations. You can always find the same thing anywhere else.
In bigger cities, you run the risk of accidentally buying stolen goods. While pawn shops don’t set out to resell stolen items, some stuff may fall under the radar. Finding reported items is difficult, as the description may be generic or it may lack any kind of identification number.
Little City Pawn Shops
Though lacking the variety of big-city pawn shops, a little-city or small-town pawn shop is far more likely to reflect the local culture. As such, it’ll include niche items that the local population isn’t interested in buying or can’t afford. This ensures collectors touring around may find some rare items.
For local residents, this lack of constant turnaround can also be a boon. In case of a loan being defaulted or not paid back in time, you have a better chance of returning later and buying back your stuff, rather than returning to find it already gone.
Based on statistics alone, a town may not have many pawn shops. This gives them the upper hand in any negotiations, especially regarding loans. After all, you don’t have the ability to walk away in favor of a better deal or the possibility of a better deal.
You’ll also find the prices slightly higher, since they have to cover expenses while selling fewer items.
With all that said, the biggest con of a little city pawn shop is the lack of variety in their stock. While you might find those rarer items or come across more antiques, these pawn shops generally lack a broad inventory. Things just get shuffled around a smaller community.
Online reviews are a great place to start when hunting for the best pawn shop. Whether you’re selling, pawning your stuff, or finding a good bargain, they can help you vet out contenders and gain insights.
However, the anonymity of the internet can be a cover. It’ll bring out the worst in people, or allow fake positive reviews to be left without contest. How can you know which to trust?
Let’s take a look at five ways to keep from getting bamboozled.
Misery Loves Company
Most reviews are left by people who have strong feelings about their experience. They feel compelled to write it out for others to see, whether it’s singing praises or warning people away.
Because most people expect a good experience to be the norm – and thus not worthy of praise – this means that most of the extreme reviews are negative.
So, you shouldn’t be dismayed by a handful of negative reviews. If there’s an overwhelming amount of negative reviews compared to the positive or neutral ones, however, then you should be concerned.
Reviews that expect a pawn shop to be something unlike a pawn shop (such as a furniture store with consistent inventory) should be taken with a grain of salt.
Even though they come in with unrealistic standards, they may still have some legitimate complaints.
For example, a pawn shop isn’t going to have extra stock of a certain item, because they work with secondhand items. However, if a pawn shop doesn’t have a good inventory at all, then it means not many people want to pawn their stuff there.
A basic review, which says something small, is oddly your best bet for an actual experience that isn’t exaggerated or falsified.
Things like “great selection, friendly staff” is definitely written by someone that’s trying to fill their time at a restaurant while waiting for their food, or hanging out in the car as their partner finishes shopping. As such, they’re accurately recalling their real, lived experience.
Check the Account
Whether you’re on the fence about the review’s authenticity, or it seems too good to be true, the next step should be to check the account itself. Does it have other reviews for other websites? If not, it may be a fake account made by the owner – especially if the review is positive.
It gets a little trickier when it’s a negative review. As stated before, people feel more compelled to review a place if they’ve had a poor experience. So, it’s possible that someone created the account solely to warn people of their experience at that pawn shop.
Not every business owner will monitor all the different sites where people leave reviews. However, it shows good faith when they respond to negative reviews and take criticism well.
The downside? If all the replies are a copy-pasted response without variation. This means they’re more concerned with the appearance of looking like they care, rather than taking the time to actually improve their customer’s experience.
When you’re looking to pawn jewelry, what types pawn the best?
In general, avoid pawning anything you bought for twenty dollars at Target, as the resale value isn’t worth much to the pawnshop. Because of this, you won’t receive a great loan.
While you can still try to sell that cheaply-made, costume jewelry necklace, you might also want to dig to the back of your jewelry drawer. These five types of jewelry will receive much better loans:
Gold is valuable even when it isn’t made into jewelry. As such, it’s usually a safe bet for pawnshops to take on as collateral for loans. If they can’t sell it directly, gold is still lucrative to sell for cash to a gold company or other precious-metal-recycling companies.
For you, pawning gold jewelry means you can get a better loan or sale, and you can walk into the pawn shop knowing they’re unlikely to turn you down.
While silver is also a precious metal, it’s not worth quite as much on its own. So, if sold for parts, it isn’t likely to recuperate its losses well. This means the worth of the piece is in the design, not in the metal.
Diamonds are very sought-after and can be sold at a high price.
You might get a better deal at a jewelry specialty pawnshop, where they can confirm the worth of the diamond setting in the jewelry and give you an appropriate deal or loan.
Without someone to confirm the karat, you might not get the best deal. If the diamond turns out to be a fake, the pawn shop will have to factor that into the possible loss.
A good watch can still fetch a good price at the right pawnshop. Depending on the metals it’s made with, how good the machinery is, and the design or brand name, you can get a good pawnshop loan with a watch.
This, however, really only applies to jewelry-type watches, not to purely functional and reliable plastic or polymer watches. Depending on how good it is and how much you originally paid for it, you might still be able to get a good price, but you shouldn’t expect too much.
Pawnshops can always go for a good wedding ring, since many people these days turn to secondhand rings to save on the cost of a wedding or engagement. A well-styled ring (nothing too gaudy) is going to be more attractive, and if you have the engagement ring and wedding band set, you’ll have a great deal on your hands.
A well-made pair of earrings, especially those with precious metals or gems, can be worth a lot. Perhaps not as much as wedding rings or bands, but you can still get a good deal or loan from a pawnshop for the right pair of earrings. This is especially true during peak jewelry seasons – like Valentine’s Day or Christmas.
Before you pawn an item, there are five simple questions you need to ask.
Why? Why not just barrel in without the answers?
Taking a deep breath, looking at the situation, and making a thoughtful decision before going through with a pawnshop loan can save you time and hassle. Even if money is tight, you shouldn’t approach loans in a way that you’ll regret. As a plus, choosing the right timing can help you get a better loan!
Make sure to tick off these five questions before pawning your stuff.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Can I Live Without This Item?
While this can also be a literal question (don’t try pawning your medication – that’s illegal), this question should be asked more generally.
If you can’t get your stuff back, will you regret it? Did it have sentimental meaning? Will losing it make you feel like your life is lesser without it?
Even if you’re indecisive on the answer to this question, asking it will let you examine why you like it or would like to keep a certain item. It’s better than deciding it after the pawn!
How Much is This Item Worth?
You may need a certain amount of money from a pawnshop loan. So, you need to pick the right item to get you what you need.
If you need a hundred dollars to tide you over until the next paycheck arrives, pawning a TV you bought three years ago might only fetch you fifty dollars at best.
When Am I Expecting Money?
If your goal is to pay back the loan and retrieve your collateral, ask yourself: when will you get your next paycheck, how much is that paycheck, and how much do you have to pay off the loan once you subtract your expenses (like rent, food, and transportation costs)?
Figure out how quickly you can pay back the loan. From there, you can decide whether or not pawning your item is a safe bet.
Questions to Ask the Pawnshop
How Long Do You Have to Repay the Loan?
Know the terms of your contract with the pawnshop. You need to know how long you have to pay back your loan in order to retrieve your collateral.
The last thing you want is to finally scrape together the money, head to the pawnshop, and realize that you no longer have claim to your item. If it’s already sold or is being sold for more than the money you owed, you’re out of luck.
What is the Interest Rate?
Loans aren’t free, so you’ll need to figure out what the interest rate is from the specific pawnshop you’re going to apply to.
This will also help you calculate how much you’ll eventually owe. Better yet, it can let you shop around and see if there are other pawnshops in the area with lower interest rates. Don’t just go for the first option – find the best option for you. Otherwise, you’ll pay more later.