First you need to realize how much gold is in your jewelry. Most dealers base their pricing solely by the scrap metal value of your gold so it is worthwhile to look at the gold marking to determine carat weight. In most countries by law, the carat stamp is a requirement on any gold jewelry to be sold in stores and it is the first indication of the gold content in any gold jewelry coming from a reputable seller. Most items in the North American market would be marked 10k, 14k, 18k to show the purity of gold in a particular piece of jewelry. European standard is different and it is measured in parts per thousand and would be stamped 416, 585, 750. I will discuss what that means below.
If you have gold filled jewelry, electroplated jewelry or gold plated jewelry then in most cases it would not be worth to try and sell them for the gold content and most dealers will refuse buying this type of jewelry. The most common stamps for such items are GF (gold filled), GP (gold plated) and finally EGP (electro gold plated)
Gold karats are expressed in units of 24ths. Thus, pure gold is 24-karat or 100 percent gold, 18-karat is 75 percent gold, 14-karat is 58.5 percent gold (585 european stamp), 10-karat is 41.6 percent gold (416) and so on. The conversion is simple; divide the karat value by 24 to get the percentage of gold, ex: 10/24=0.416 and so on. The price of gold which we all see on TV is based on a troy ounce which is approximately 31.1 grams of pure 24K gold in standard exchange form such as bars or coins.
Cash value for gold jewelry is much less than the appraised value and there are a few reasons for that. First of all, the appraised value of a jewelry piece includes the labour and the retail mark up of your gold jewelry since the appraisal is most likely done for insurance replacement costs of a particular piece. Retail mark ups on jewelry are astonishing and most people don't realize that when they try to sell gold. The reason is simple; since jewelry is a luxury item and doesn't go out of style, become obsolete or break down like an electronic item (stereo, tvs, etc), it often sits on display for months and even years before being sold at a retail store, and since every jewelry store has high overhead, jewelry is often marked up by as much as 600 percent to turn any profit. You have to assume unfortunately that the price offered for your gold jewelry will be much less than you paid for it. The value of gold constantly fluctuates and depends on many factors. Always check the current price before selling and take a note of it when shopping around for a quote.
My advice is to avoid mail in gold buyers. Most of these companies have a high overhead and advertising costs and you will lose some control when you mail in your jewelry since you can't be there when your gold is checked and weighed. I have heard many complaints from my customers regarding such services and while they may be beneficial for someone who doesn't have the time to shop around, such customers end up paying for this convenience of getting a check in the mail. Know what you are selling first if at all possible!!! Go to two or more dealers to get quotes. Most reputable dealers will be willing to tell you how much they will pay for your piece for free and with no obligations.