You might need some quick cash and have a piece of jewelry you don't need any more. Or some jewelry might carry bad memories that make you eager to be rid of ir. Whatever the reason, a pawn broker may be the way to get fast cash for your jewelry. Dealing with a pawn shop may put you at a bargaining disadvantage, but there are some tricks to swing negotiations in your favor and get you a better price.
Know Its Demand
Your pawn broker sticks with jewelry he can quickly sell. Even though you might plan to redeem the pawned item later, the broker always thinks of what to do if he has to sell it. The broker may turn you down because he believes he can't get rid of it. Gold is always best, though he'll probably buy sterling silver.
Clean It Up
Baking soda restores the jewelry's original luster without damaging the surface. Put some baking soda in your palm, add water and mix it until it forms a paste before applying it to the jewelry. Scrub gently with your fingers and rinse it off. You'd be surprised how well it removes tarnish and helps your pieces shine.
Don't Act Desperate
Pawn shops build much of their business around people needing money, and the brokers are more likely to low-ball someone who operates out of such a disadvantage. Dress well when you visit the pawn shop and try to act casual. Don't tell him you need the money; you're selling off a piece because you can't use it any more.
Prepare to Negotiate
The pawnshop business model is to buy goods at as low a price as possible and resell them, or to collect finance charges from the buyer. Because of this, the pawn broker won't offer an amount that's even close to what you hope to get. The jewelry price may be based on the gold content alone. However, it's possible to haggle with him and try to get a better price. Get an appraisal elsewhere so you know the item's value before you go into the pawnshop, but don't tell the pawn broker what you think it's worth or how much money you want. Let him make the first offer. According to mint.com., the person making the first offer usually loses in a negotiation.
Be Ready to Walk
If the broker won't budge on his price, you can always walk out the door and try someplace else. This puts you in a stronger bargaining position. Not only does he lose the sale, but it allows you to look elsewhere and find a buyer who can come up with a better deal.
Al Bondigas is an award-winning newspaperman who started writing professionally in 1985. His print credits include the "Mohave Valley Daily News" and "The Mohave County Standard." Bondigas studied journalism at San Bernardino Valley College in California.