Questions to Ask a Pawn Shop When Buying Jewelry

Though pawn shops are one of the more reputable businesses out there, most people still have reservations about buying jewelry from them.

What are a few questions you can ask the pawn broker to put your mind at ease?

Do you have any certifications I can see?

If a pawn shop has a gemologist or jeweler in-house, they should be certified by the Gemological Institute of America. The GIA is an institution that ensures that a gemologist or jeweler has the expertise and know-how to appraise and handle all sorts of jewelry.

If their in-house gemologist cannot produce such certifications, it’s best to go to a different shop.

Are you a member of the National Pawnbrokers Association?

The National Pawnbrokers Association is a trade association dedicated to following local, state, and federal government laws as well as providing its members with helpful resources and tools to improve their trade.

Any reputable pawn broker should be a member of this association. It’s a good idea to confirm this before doing business with them.

Can I customize this piece?

Say you really like the look of a gemstone set into a ring but don’t like the ring itself. You can just ask the in-house gemologist to transfer the stone to a different piece that better suits your tastes with no extra charge to you!

You can also ask them to resize any necklace or bracelet chains as well! Feel free to mix and match any bits you like to create a truly unique piece.

Is there a fee for cleaning this piece?

Most pawn shops clean their pieces before selling them, but you can ask the in-house jeweler to clean your piece then and there if you want, too. Some pawn shops will clean the jewelry you buy for free while others may charge a small fee. Looking into the services your local pawn shops provide beforehand may help you determine which shop you should visit.

Is this made of pure gold or is it just gold-plated?

There is a big difference between pure gold jewelry and jewelry that is merely gold-plated. Pure gold jewelry is more valuable and more durable. Gold-plated jewelry, on the other hand, risks the gold flaking off to reveal the metal underneath, making it far less valuable.

Ask for gold jewelry that is made of solid gold rather than this thin gold plating to save money in the long run. You should also confirm whether or not their in-house jeweler is able to tell the difference as well.

What can I trade for this piece?

Unlike in retail jewelry stores, you can bring in an old piece to a pawn shop, have it appraised, and ask the pawn broker to trade you your old piece for a relatively new one. That way, you can get rid of some jewelry you don’t want and get something new in return! The pawn broker will also have a new piece to sell, making it a win-win for everyone!


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