In this edition of Tips on Testing Jewelry Scrap we’ll cover the last two tips, tips #3 & 4: The Smell Test & Sharing information and training employees.
There is a continuing evolution and sophistication regarding the types of jewelry alloys you will encounter in your scrap buying. With higher metal prices, even legitimate manufacturers are trying to find ways to reduce their wholesale price of newly finished jewelry. Competent testing of jewelry scrap is one of the most important skills a pawnbroker must have to avoid making expensive mistakes when purchasing or loaning on karat gold materials.
Do you know the difference between a Refiner and a Smelter or Buyer? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many companies sell their gold to smelters or other middleman companies that call themselves refiners but are not ACTUAL refiners.
As a strong supporter of the pawn industry, United is proud to be a member of various pawn organizations. We also participate in most tradeshows including Pawn Expo in Las Vegas, Dixie Pawn Convention, Midwest Pawn Convention, the CAPA Spring and Fall Conferences, TAP and the Pawnbrokers Advisory Forum Conference.
The process of diamond and gemstone recovery from karat gold jewelry scrap is far more complex and time consuming than a direct melt and assay recovery. Jewelry that contains recoverable diamond and gemstone melee will always yield a much higher value, as long as the refiner you choose is implementing sound wet chemistry processes that minimizes the potential for mechanical losses of metal and damage to the your valuable gemstones. You should expect the refiner to charge higher processing or treatment fees for this service as well as allowing a little more time for final results but in the end, the additional value you'll receive back from the sale of your stones more than justifies any inconvenience.
The pawn industry enjoys a unique relationship with United PMR. As the largest US-owned primary refiner in the country, United exclusively services the jewelry industry. A major source of jewelry for recycling and refining is the pawn industry. Dating back to ancient history, the practice of loaning money on portable security has outlasted the test of time. Pawn shops, because of their niche services and customer-friendly business model, have provided much needed funding to customers when other options such as bank loans weren't available to people.
The first time I heard this, I was shocked! Then it was endless stories of pawn owner’s explaining how refiners didn’t find their platinum. So let’s talk about this elusive metal.
To start, sneaking metal into your refining lot is never a good idea, especially platinum group metals. The first, and most important reason is if the refiner is expecting gold and silver, a fire assay is done on your material to assess value.
You: "So you would like to sell this Tiffany™ Silver necklace & bean. I can give you $25."
Customer: "....but this silver bean was $250 and I just bought it six months ago in Vegas with my now exboyfriend at Tiffany's in Caesars Forum Shops...."
Have you had a conversation like the one above? Is it the reason you don't buy silver? Or maybe it's one of the reasons below...
- You don't want to "offend" your customers knowing silver quotes are low
- Not sure what to pay for silver? How do I buy it right ?
- Is it sterling and if so will it run actual 92.5 or will it run less – more like 90% or 89%
- What about knife handles and blades and candle stick holders, how do I account for extra weight ?
- How do I ship it ? It’s going to be heavy as heck and probably be expensive ?