Not long ago, we had a call from a man who had bought a box of 16 rolls of gold-plated jewelry chain at an auction where the assets of a closed jewelry manufacturer were being sold to the public. “I weighed the box,” he told us, “it weighs about 12 pounds . . . so what is it worth?”
Well, that was a complicated question to answer. After testing, we were able to tell him that the value of the gold in each roll of chain came to about $3.00. But a lot of variables factor into a calculation like that, including . . .
- The purity of the gold. Are the chains or other items plated with 10K, 14K, or 18K gold? Clearly, the higher the karat rating, the more pure gold is there.
- The thickness of the gold plating. The only way to know is to have the items tested by a qualified precious metals lab like ours. When the question of thickness is answered, it becomes possible to calculate the percentage of an item’s total weight that is made of gold.
- The cost of separating the gold from the base metals it is covering. Gold can be plated on top of brass, for example, or a base-metal alloy. The cost of smelting to separate the gold from those underlying materials can, in some cases, exceed the value of the gold itself.
What about determining the value of other gold-plated jeweler’s supplies like pins, clasp, and other findings? Considerations similar to the ones we made just above apply.
What about Determining the Value of Silver and Platinum Chains?
The good news is, it is relatively easy to determine the value of most silver chains that are used to make jewelry because they are almost always pure silver, and rarely plated. The only variable is the purity of the silver. But to keep it simple, if you have a batch of sterling chain that weighs four pounds, its value is going to be in the range of about $900.00 at today's current trading prices. So if you can snap one up for, say, $100.00, you have made a wise investment.
What about platinum chain? Like silver chain, determining its value is pretty straightforward. Platinum jewelry chain (unlike rings and pins, which are sometimes plated with platinum) is almost always made of pure platinum. And it is therefore very expensive. One respected jeweler, for example, is currently selling a single, pure platinum chain bracelet that weighs about 43 grams for $4,500. But will you ever find a roll of platinum chain at a business liquidation sale? It is pretty unlikely. But if you ever do - or if you find a roll of brilliant white chain that you only think might be platinum - call Specialty Metals at 800-426-2344 and tell us about your discovery. We are here to test your precious metals, determine their value, and help you get the maximum return on investment for all your precious metal investments.
Where to Find Platinum Scrap
Is Platinum a Better Investment than Gold?
How to Pick the Best Precious Metals Recycling Company
An Invitation to Jewelers, Pawnbrokers and Other Jewelry Professionals
Best Places to Find Large Quantities of Precious Metals