How to Shop for Jewelry at a Pawn Shop

Scouring the retail stores to find the perfect gift for that special someone can be a great way to empty your wallet—and fast. The good news is that there’s another way to get your hands on great jewelry, and without paying full price: Buy it at a pawn shop.

Why Buy from a Pawn Shop?

You may not think so, but buying jewelry from your local pawn shop has so many benefits it will make your head spin. Don’t believe us? Keep reading.

Lower Prices

First and foremost, shopping for jewelry at a pawn shop can save you money. How much you save depends on the piece you’re buying, but it’s definitely not unusual to get a great piece at half the cost you’d pay at a retail store.

Better Selection Than Anywhere Else

That store you just visited might have a lot of jewelry styles and settings, but they only sell certain brands. The pawn shop, on the other hand, has collected its items from well-known international companies as well as privately owned shops. On top of that, there are always people coming in to sell engagement rings and other jewelry.

A Good Chance You’ll Find (or Make) Something Unique

Because of the fact that people sell their jewelry at pawn shops, you may just wander in and find a rare, antique piece that no one else has. Why would anyone want to sell a beautiful old piece of jewelry, you ask? For many reasons. They may not like how it looks or they might want to sell those pieces so they have the cash to buy something new.

If you want to give a really unique and special gift by making it yourself, you can do this, too. Because pawn shops will often sell broken jewelry, precious and semi-precious stones, and pieces of silver and gold, there’s a lot for you to work with. No jewelry-making skills? No problem. Many shops will do it for you.

It’s Already Been Authenticated

No pawn shop will accept a piece of jewelry before making sure it’s the real deal. That’s yet another benefit of buying jewelry there; every piece goes through comprehensive testing to make sure it’s authentic before it’s ever sold. What does that mean for you? Tons of buyer confidence, that’s what.

Your Credit Doesn’t Matter

Walking into a fancy jewelry store only to be turned down because of bad credit isn’t only frustrating; it can make you feel embarrassed. Who needs that baloney? This is yet another reason to hit the pawn shop for great jewelry: they don’t care about your credit. If they don’t offer a layaway plan, you may be able to trade in your own unwanted jewelry and pay for part of it with that.

Get a Loan, Right Then and There

Most pawn shops will usually offer instant cash loans, which means you can get the jewelry you want without having to put off that proposal or show up to someone’s birthday party without a gift. How convenient is that?

It’s Already Been Cleaned Up

Speaking of convenience, another benefit of buying jewelry at a pawn shop is that all repairs and improvements have already been completed. Why? Well, the pawn shop has to make money and, to make sure they do that, the items they sell must look as appealing as possible.

Before they put that ring or pre-owned Rolex in the display cabinet, your local pawnbroker has already given it a once-over. Surface scratches are eliminated, clasps are examined and are changed if needed, and stones are re-secured by tightening their prongs.

Convinced yet that a pawn shop is the place to buy jewelry? We thought so. Now that you get the benefits, let’s look at how to make sure you get what you want.

Do Your Homework

Before you begin shopping, you’ll want to do a little recon about the shop you want to work with. You can get a lot of insight about how customers feel by reading online reviews. You’ll also want to check out its website, which will tell you a lot about the kind of people they are.

Another part of doing your homework is to know the shop’s credentials. Each staff member should have been trained and certified by both the Jewelers of America (JA) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Look for these two names on their website and on the walls of the shop when you get there.

Make sure you know the market price for gold and silver before you go. It also won’t hurt to get a handle on some basic jewelry concepts such as the weight of different gold karats in your hand.

jewelry tweezer and diamonds

Don’t Judge by Appearance

As we said earlier, pawnbrokers buy and sell gold, broken pieces, and loose gemstones, but just because they might not look their best in the shop doesn’t mean that they never will. Think outside the box. Do you have a piece of jewelry that’s missing a stone which you could get from a necklace? Or maybe a bit of gold is just enough to be transformed into a beautiful ring?

Know What to Look For

Even though your pawnbroker may have already improved the look of jewelry before putting it up for sale, that doesn’t mean you can’t examine it yourself. Using your recently acquired knowledge, compare the weight of a ring or another piece to the karat number it’s stamped with to see if they match.

Chain necklaces and bracelets can sometimes come apart due to chain links that have opened. Check each link to make sure all are secure and make sure the clasp opens and closes properly. Rings with stones should be checked to make sure no stones are loose, all prongs are intact and flat, and that there are no existing inscriptions.

Get Documentation

If you really like a piece, you’ll want to get some info before you buy. Ask the owner or staff to produce an appraisal or certification for the piece. These will tell you about its quality and also what it’s made of.

If by chance the shop you’re visiting doesn’t have these documents, it’s all good; just get them to pen you a detailed description, and then take it to an appraiser. If the info doesn’t jive, your pawn shop should be willing to buy it back.

Don’t Be Afraid to Wheel and Deal

Haggling may not be your thing, but here’s a secret: Your pawnbroker expects you to negotiate. So, before you head to the shop, get over your fear of haggling by practicing. Grab a friend and convince them to help you in return for beer. Or, save money on alcohol and ask a family member—because they’re family. And they have to.

Once you’ve become a guru of haggling, it’s time to test those skills for real. It may take a bit of time, but you just might end up with the best pawn shop engagement ring ever.

Your Search for Great Jewelry Ends Here

proposal with a man showing a diamond engage ring

If you’re in NYC, and you’re already tired just thinking about all the shops you have to compare, guess what? You don’t have to. Just come to GEM Pawnbrokers. We’ve got over 70 years in business and 24 great locations all over the city, which makes us the largest pawnbroker around. Of all the shops in NYC, GEM always pays the highest prices, and each one of our locations has expert JA- and GIA-qualified staff ready to find you the perfect piece.

Our instant cash loans can get you the jewelry you want—not tomorrow, not next week, but today and with no credit checks. Call GEM Pawnbrokers right now at (718) 596-5626, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

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