The difference between 14K gold and 18K gold may sound small, but it is actually quite significant. Gold items marked as 14K are 58.5 percent gold content, with the rest being composed of silver, copper, nickel or other metals locked inside the gold. Items that are stamped as 18K are just over 75 percent gold, which is significantly more pure than 10K and 14K gold products. Because 18K gold is more pure, it is worth more, even when being sold as scrap gold. Even 18K gold that is dented, gouged, broken or scratched is still worth money just because it is high-quality gold. This means you can trade your damaged gold for cash, just the same as you could with gold that is in optimum condition.
Determine the melt value of your gold. You can begin by visiting the Kitco website to see what the current wholesale gold prices are (see Resources below). Then use a digital scale to weigh your scrap 18K gold to see how many grams of gold you have. This will allow you to roughly gauge the melt value of your scrap gold so that you will know if offers you receive are fair.
List your scrap 18K gold for sale at an online auction site, such as eBay. Online auctions are a favorite method of selling gold for many people, because it allows you to broaden your marketplace to a much larger geographic area. Online auctions often result in a much higher sale price than you could have received locally. When conducting an online auction, set a reserve price at the minimum amount you are willing to sell your scrap gold for. This way, if the auction does not end in a price that meets your criteria, you are free to keep your 18K gold to sell somewhere else.
Call jewelry stores in your local area to see if they purchase scrap 18K gold. Jewelry stores that buy all of their jewelry wholesale and send out resizing work may not be interested. However, old-style jewelers who make custom jewelry from scratch will often purchase scrap gold, particularly anything above 14K, for purposes of making new jewelry out of the gold. The only way to know if jewelers in your area buy scrap 18K gold is to call and ask, or better yet, visit the jewelry store in person to show them what you have.
Visit local pawnshops to see if they are interested in your scrap 18K gold. Pawnshops will often buy gold based upon the weight of the gold. They may or may not be interested in scrap gold that is excessively damaged. It really varies from one pawnshop to the next, so if one place turns you down, do not be shy about visiting others. You will also need to be prepared to haggle and negotiate for a better price, since pawnshops typically offer rates that are far below actual value.
Sell your scrap 18K gold to a refiner. Refiners do not care what condition the gold is in, because they will melt it down anyway. There may be a refiner or gold assayer in your local area. If so, you can simply walk into the office with your gold to sell it. If there is not a refiner in your local area, you can use mail-order refiners, such as Gold Kit and Cash 4 Gold (see Resources).