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What to do with scrap gold laying around

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Do you have old gold scrap collecting dust? Broken gold chains, bent gold bracelets, old dental fillings, solo earrings without a mate? Even beautiful gold jewelry is often considered scrap to a gold buyer, who will melt down most items and sell them to a refinery for profit.

With gold prices hovering around record prices of $2,400 per ounce, now is an excellent time to sell any gold.

As of , the spot gold value in the United States was trading at $ per ounce, or $ per gram. 

Common questions about scrap gold:

What is scrap gold?

How and where to sell scrap gold

  1. Scrap gold buyers online
  2. Scrap gold buyers near me
  3. Selling scrap gold independently

What is scrap gold worth?

What is scrap gold selling for?

Where can I find scrap gold?

What is scrap gold?

Scrap gold is any piece of gold that is not used as anything else — not jewelry or a coin, for example. Also, any gold that isn’t or can’t be used in the way it was originally intended to be used (such as broken jewelry or old gold dental components) is considered scrap. 

Lower-end jewelry is also considered scrap gold when selling it because it will be melted down and resold as gold bullion — opposed to the necklace, ring setting, or bracelet it once was.

Meanwhile, a Tiffany gold bracelet or Cartier gold ring is more likely to be purchased for its resale value (because of the high demand of both brands).

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How and where to sell scrap gold

You can sell scrap gold in a number of ways — both online and in person. This post offers a guide to selling gold, including understand what your gold is worth, and whether your gold is real or fake.

The good news is that there has always been a market for scrap gold. It is an investment that may decrease in value periodically, but always has value.

1. Scrap gold buyers online 

Our post on selling gold explains all the ways and popular online gold buyers, including:

  • American Bullion
  • Goldco Precious Metals
  • Gold Geek
  • JM Bullion
  • Kitco
  • Liberty Gold and Silver
  • Luriya
  • Money Metals Exchange
  • The Alloy Market
  • US Gold Buyers

Our number one recommended online gold buyer is CashforGoldUSA based on our first-person investigation, Better Business Bureau A+ and Trustpilot reviews, and length of time in business.

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2. Scrap gold buyers “near me” 

If you search for scrap gold buyers near you, you’ll find local businesses where you can physically bring your gold to sell. Pawn shops, local jewelers, and precious metal exchanges and “we buy gold” storefronts fall under this category.

We recently hired a North Carolina-based writer named Melinda Burris to conduct an experiment on selling gold to three different local scrap gold buyers. These were her findings:

I ordered six bracelets of the same style and karat weight from Macy’s on March 3, and they arrived on March 9. 

10k gold bracelet from Macy's.

These were 7.5-inch Italian 10-karat gold paperclip bracelets, with a total weight of 2.1 grams. I purchased six of them on sale for $200 each, plus tax.

I chose the following retailers, and this was my experience with each of them:

Raleigh Diamond Fine Jewelry

Business type: Jewelry store

This business sells new diamonds and jewelry and also buys used items, including gold for scrap.

I took the bracelet in on March 30, 2024 when the most recent spot value was $62.86. The sales rep evaluated it, weighed it, and determined that it weighed 2.1 grams.

He then offered me $40. I explained the piece was new (purchased within the last year). He said he could give me $40 cash but that was it because 10K gold does not really sell anywhere other than in the U.S.

I asked him why that is, and he said he didn’t know, that it's just not popular anywhere else. He said that he doubted any pawn shop I could visit would give me $20 per gram. I declined his offer.

He also gave me a soft sales pitch and said I could get more for my money if I bought 24K gold with his business: He was very personable, and I was very comfortable throughout our negotiation. After our interaction, he invited me to visit them again.

Final offer: $40

Percentage of spot gold price: 64%

JewelRecycle in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Business type: Local gold buyer

JewelRecycle buys precious gold, diamonds, and jewelry. They were extremely busy when I visited on the morning of April 1, when the spot value of my bracelet was $63.70.

They were short-staffed due to a communication error, I was told by the woman who greeted me immediately. I was third in line behind an older man who had buckets of silver half-dollars from different eras.

They were weighing his coins based on the years because older coins have more silver in them than newer coins. The other customer ahead of me had a full bag of everything from jewelry to coins and even silverware she was selling.

A second employee arrived within 15 minutes and once he did, I was seen within 10 minutes.

The woman who analyzed my bracelet weighed it and told me it was 2.1 grams and she could give me $50 in cash for it. I asked if she would consider going any higher based on its condition.

She said, “No, and I’ll show you why.” She then showed me what gold was trading for that day and the calculation used to determine what gold is worth based on market value. I asked her to please check what price gold was currently exchanging at. She did and then offered to go up to $51 in cash, and I accepted her offer.

To complete the transaction, I was required to show proof of identification. The customer service rep was polite, apologized for the delay, and made me feel very comfortable, actually telling me: “There’s no pressure. You decide if you want to sell.”

Final offer: $51

Percentage of spot gold price: 80%

National Pawn shop in Raleigh, N.C.

National Pawn

Business type: Pawn shop

Editor's note: Check out the full details of Melinda's experience with National Pawn on our post about pawning jewelry.

Final offer: $50

Percentage of spot gold price: 79.5%

Melinda also sold to two different online buyers. This is how their offers compared:

Gold buyerBBB ratingBusiness typeFinal offer% of spot gold price*
CashforGoldUSAA+ (accredited since 2020Online gold buyer$41.4967%
Alloy MarketA- (accredited since 2023)Online gold buyer$41.4966%
Raleigh Gold JewelryA+ (accredited since 2008)Jewelry store$4064%
National PawnA+ (not accredited)Pawn shop$5079.5%
JewelRecycleA+ (accredited since 2009)Local gold buyer$5180%
*Percentage based on high spot gold price on the date the offer was made.

It's important to note that offers you get locally vs. online can vary drastically depending on your market and from business to business. If you aren't pressed for cash or time, it's always worth getting multiple offers.

For people who are nervous about sending their scrap gold through the mail, the fact that they can bring their gold in person is a positive of using local scrap gold buyers.

There are many quality local gold buyers, and in our research, pawn brokers can offer competitive rates and friendly service — a product of being local businesses with deep roots in your community.

Search for “who buys scrap gold near me” or “where to sell scrap gold near me.”

Check Yelp and Google reviews, and ask for recommendations from your friends and neighbors.

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3. Selling scrap gold independently

While it may take some more legwork on your end, you can also sell gold on your own to an independent buyer.

You can set your own asking price on Facebook Marketplace, ebay, or Craigslist, though you should take safety precautions meeting up with potential buyers. Meet somewhere public during the day, like a store or restaurant parking lot or even in front of a police station.

These are some scrap gold pieces currently listed on ebay and Facebook Marketplace as of April 2024:

Scrap gold listed on ebay for $200.

Both ebay and Facebook Marketplace have ratings systems, so you may have difficulty selling if you don't have much experience/feedback:

There is also a robust subreddit called r/Pmsforsale with 60K members where people buy and sell precious metal jewelry, scrap, coins and other items.

Redditors have the option to create one of three different types of posts:

  • WTS (want to sell)
  • WTB (want to buy)
  • WTT (want to trade)

This is what people who buy and sell on the subreddit had to say:

byu/Celery_Ill from discussion
byu/Celery_Ill from discussion
byu/Celery_Ill from discussion

Of course, there are precautions you should take selling on Reddit to avoid falling victim to scam. Redditors on r/Pmsforsale recommend the following safeguards:

1. Only sell or buy from users with at least 100 buy or sell transactions displayed on their profile. This is shown next to the user's name when they post on r/Pmsforsale. A bot autofills this information for the buyer/seller when the original poster types “Trade completed!” or “Trade complete!” on their post.

Post on r/Pmsforsale subreddit.

2. Use one of r/Pmsforsale's designated “middlemen” to facilitate a sale. These are users appointed to help people with their transactions based on the length of time they've been posting and the number of successful transactions they've completed.

Sellers send their items to the middleman, who verifies the contents match what was posted and gives the buyer the OK to submit payment to the seller. Once the seller receives payment, the middleman sends the items to the buyer.

3. Check out r/Pmsforsale's list of banned users (which they link to in the bottom right under their list of rules).

What is scrap gold worth?

Scrap gold is exactly that: gold. That means scrap gold is worth just as much as any other type of gold. The fact that it’s scrap makes absolutely no difference at all.

Not sure how much your scrap gold is worth? Ultimately, it will depend on three things, which we explain below:

  • Weight
  • Gold content (purity)
  • Current spot price of gold


To know how much your gold is worth, you’ll need to find its weight. Gold is usually measured in either grams or ounces. You can invest in a small digital scale, or take your gold to a local jeweler or pawnshop to weigh it.

Gold content

Gold content is measured in karats. The higher the karat number, the more gold is in your scrap gold. Below is a list that shows the gold content you’ll find:

  • 24K: 99.9% gold
  • 22K: 91.7% gold
  • 18K: 75% gold
  • 14K: 58.3% gold
  • 12K: 50% gold
  • 10K: 41.7% gold
  • 9K: 37.5% gold

Definition of spot price of gold

The spot price of gold is the current price that gold sells for on the open market.

Gold prices hit a record high of 2,431.55 in April of this year.

To determine how much your scrap gold is worth, multiply its weight by its percentage of gold content, then multiply that number by the spot price of gold.

For example, imagine you have a scrap 18K gold necklace that weighs 5 grams. To determine how much it is worth, you would:

  • Multiply 5 grams by .75 (which equals 3.75)
  • Multiply 3.75 grams by the spot price of $84 per gram (April 22 spot gold price)

This shows that the gold content in your scrap gold necklace is worth about $315 on that date. 

Don't forget to consider the buyer's commission of 5% to 50%.

White vs yellow gold — what's the difference in value?

How much does scrap gold sell for?

How much money you get for your scrap gold will ultimately depend on how you sell it. In any case, you are unlikely to get the full value of your gold, since the buyer needs to make a profit when they go to resell it.

That being said, you might expect to get between 25% and 75% of the spot gold value of your item.

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Where can I find scrap gold?

These are some examples of scrap gold you may have on hand to sell:

  • Gold dental fillings, bridges and gold crowns
  • Broken jewelry
  • Antique china — you can chip off gold trim on these dishes
  • Gold plated silverware
  • Gold is found in electronic scrap like the processors and connectors in computers, circuit boards, tablets, and smartphones — though extracting this gold is complicated
  • Gold heat shields, gold reflectors, gold mirrors, gold optics
  • Gold solder
  • Raw gold found metal detecting

Not sure if what you have is real gold? Learn more about how to tell if gold is real.

Bottom line: Where is the best place to sell scrap gold?

If you need quick cash, a quality local pawnbroker or jewelry store is a good option for selling your gold. However, if you have a few days to spare, CashforGoldUSA promises fair prices based on a very strong online reputation, fast payment, secure shipping and price-match guarantee.

What is scrap gold?

Scrap gold is any piece of gold that is not used as anything else — not jewelry or a coin, for example.

Who pays the most for scrap gold?

Typically, you’ll get the most money for your gold by selling it to a trusted online gold buyer. These buyers tend to pay out more for gold than other buyers (like pawn shops and local jewelry shops) because they don’t have the overhead of a physical store. Online gold buyers must also compete on a national level, not just a local level, which tends to drive up the amount they pay out to gold sellers.

What is scrap gold worth?

Scrap gold is exactly that: gold. That means that scrap gold is worth just as much as any other type of gold. The fact that it’s scrap makes absolutely no difference at all.

How much does scrap gold sell for?

How much money you get for your scrap gold will ultimately depend on how you sell it. In any case, you are unlikely to get the full value of your gold. (After all, the buyer needs to make a profit when they go to resell it in the future). Current prices are about $2,400 per ounce.

How do I sell scrap gold?

To sell scrap gold, you can use an online gold buyer, search for “scrap gold buyers near me,” or search for “sell scrap gold near me.”

Where can I find scrap gold?

Scrap gold that you may have on hand to sell includes: dental work, broken jewelry, flatware, and more.

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