How To Make Sure That Your Jewelry Is Real Before Taking It To A Pawn Shop

Posted on: 11 February 2015


Do you have some jewelry laying around that you don't wear anymore? Maybe you inherited some jewelry from a relative or it was given to you as a gift, but it's not really your style. Whatever your reason might be for wanting to sell your jewelry, there are some simple ways to check the jewelry so that to ensure that a pawn shop will want what you are selling.

Unless you bought the piece yourself from a reputable dealer, you may not be sure if your jewelry is real gold, silver or platinum, or if the gems are real. There are ways to examine jewelry to determine if it is real. If you do your homework, it will save you and the shop owner a lot of time.

Look for markings on the jewelry. You may need a magnifying glass.


Real gold jewelry is required by law to have a stamp declaring how many karats it has. Gold can have 10, 12, 14, 18, 22, or 24 karats. Pure gold is 24 karats. All of the other karats are mixed with metals to form a gold alloy. The stamp will probably be on the part of the jewelry that touches the skin. The stamp will say 10K, 12K, etc. If the mark says 10K GP or 12K GP, this means that the piece is gold plated, meaning that there is a cheaper metal underneath. Most pawn shops will not buy gold plated jewelry.


Real sterling silver jewelry bears the marking .925 on the inside part of the piece. Real silver will also tarnish over time and need to be polished.


Platinum jewelry will be marked with .850, .900, .950, or .999. These numbers are accompanied by the letters PT or PLAT. The higher the number is, the more platinum is in the piece.


Determining whether a diamond is real or a fake is a bit more difficult. If the stone is set in an expensive metal like 24K Gold or Platinum, it is very likely a real diamond rather than cubic zirconium. Sometimes cubic zirconium is marked on the piece as CZ. In general, cubic zirconium looks too uniform and perfect. A real diamond is likely to have a few flaws.

Other gems such as rubies, emeralds, and sapphires

Again, the gemstone is much more likely to be real if it is set in an expensive metal. Fake gems will usually look too bright. Overly bright stones are likely made of glass.

If you check your jewelry for markings before you go the pawn shop, you are more likely to have a pleasant experience. If possible, visit jewelry buyers as well as pawn shops in your area. Always check any online reviews of the store's customer service and prices on sites such as, before you head out to make sure that they pay top dollar.