How Do Pawn Shops Determine Value? [+ Insider Tips for Pawners] 

 November 24, 2021

By  Clark Pawners & Jewelers

Looking for a pawn loan? Whether you have a diamond or precious stones, gold or other precious metals, musical instruments, learn how local pawnshops determine an item’s worth and final appraisal.

Pawn shops are a great resource when you need cash, fast. And contrary to popular belief, pawn shops are not in the business of taking advantage of people or buying things for far less than their value.

Pawn shops are simply looking to make the best deal for both parties.

They offer their customers quick cash for items they think they can sell at good prices.

By doing this, they can offer you money that might offer some relief to whatever situation caused you to pawn your items.

So, how do pawn shops come up with a price for jewelry, and what makes them able to offer quick money?

Knowing this can help you set realistic expectations as you enter into negotiations to pawn your jewelry.

How Do Pawn Shops Determine Value?

how pawnshops determine value

They check items against their existing inventory

When a customer brings in an item, the first thing the pawn shop does is look at their existing inventory and see if they already have something like it.

They may not have an exact match, but they will at least be able to identify what type of jewelry it is.

Then they can make a good estimate of market value and how much their customers would likely pay for the item.

This does two things: It allows them to use their existing inventory as a reference point to determine value, and it gives them a good idea of the range of prices they can offer their customers.

Of course, this is not always possible, especially with less common items such as custom engagement rings and family heirlooms that have never been recorded in their system.

When this happens, pawn shops determine market value by looking at similar items that are currently listed in their store and using them as a reference point.

They take into consideration the materials, workmanship and condition

Of course, original pieces of jewelry are made from different materials and therefore have different market values. Gold is far more expensive than silver or platinum. Diamonds are rarer than cubic zirconia, which makes diamonds worth more.

Because of this, pawn shops determine value by also looking at the workmanship and condition of the piece, which can affect its value a great deal.

For example, a piece might have greater market value if it is made from 18-karat gold rather than 14-karat gold. A worn finish on an engagement ring may make it less valuable, while a clean, shiny finish may allow it to be sold at a higher price.

They check value databases

Value databases are exactly what they sound like: databases containing information about different items and their estimated value.

Using these databases, pawn shops determine the estimated value of jewelry in the event that they don’t have an exact match, or when there isn’t enough information to adequately determine value from existing inventory.

They take into account the demand

how do pawnshops determine value

Next, they take into account the demand for different items.

Demand is used to determine how much money can be made when an item is sold.

For example, if someone comes in offering a Rolex watch for $500, the pawn shop might only make $50 when they sell it because there are plenty of other places where people can buy Rolex watches.

However, if someone comes in offering a Rolex watch for $500, but there are no other places nearby to buy a Rolex watch, the pawn shop might be able to sell the watch for much more.

Of course, this is entirely dependent on demand – just because no other Rolex watches are available nearby doesn’t mean the watch is worth more than it would be elsewhere.

They may consult a specialist

Finally, they may consult a specialist in some cases. This is used to determine the authenticity and value of certain types of jewelry.

For example, if someone brings in a family heirloom ring that they believe is made from real gold and diamonds, but the pawn shop thinks it might be fake, they may consult an expert so they can get an accurate estimate.

How to Get the Most Money At a Pawnshop

best diamond Buyer in Chicago

1. Be honest about the condition of your jewelry

If you are selling a piece of jewelry to a pawn shop, it’s important that you have an accurate understanding of its current condition. This will help the pawn shop determine its true value.

2. Check to see if they buy your type of jewelry ahead of time

Some pawn shops specialize in certain types of jewelry. If you only have one type of jewelry to sell, make sure they are likely to buy it before bringing it in.

However, it won’t hurt to bring it in and ask. If they don’t do retail jewelry, they might have a wholesale connection who can buy it from you.

3. Bring in relevant documents

Got a GIA certificate for your diamond? Bring it in! Documentation such as this can make a huge difference when your jewelry is being evaluated. This helps prove authenticity, price and workmanship.

4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Pawn shops already expect pawners to negotiate, so don’t be shy about it. No one ever gets the full value of what they are selling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get as much as possible.

5. Bring in original packaging and boxes

Here’s another thing that can help prove authenticity and value: Original packaging and boxes. Any original documentation and packaging will help substantiate your claim that the item is valuable.

6. Don’t ask for too high a price

Pawn shops are in the business of buying, not selling. If you want to get as much money for your jewelry as possible, don’t set the price too high right away. Be reasonable and let them make you an offer. This is also where haggling can serve you well.


How do pawn shops determine how much to give you?

In the case where a pawn shop does not have an exact match, they will consult value databases. If there is enough information to determine value from their existing inventory, they might also take into account the demand for different items.

Do you get more if you sell or pawn?

Generally, you get more if you sell your jewelry instead of pawning it. You can sell your jewelry for significantly more than the amount you would receive from a pawn shop, especially since they will give wholesale prices rather than retail price.

On the flip side, pawning can get you cash much more quickly, while selling typically requires a lot more time.

How much do pawn shops mark up items?

Pawn shops typically mark up items anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the value listed in a price guide. This is meant to cover the risk of taking the item in and also make them a profit.

How do pawn shops determine the value of gold?

To determine the value of gold, they use a variety of resources. They will look up different pricing guides and wholesale prices for gold items to get a general idea of its value.

In addition, they may consult price databases and check the current market prices for similar items around their area.

However, since they typically buy more gold items than they sell there is a lot of room for negotiation.

How much do you usually get from a pawn shop?

The amount a pawnshop gives in cash will depend on several different factors, but in general it will be far less than the value listed when buying an item. Pawners should expect to receive 50 percent or less of the item’s value.

Are pawn shop prices negotiable?

It is typical to negotiate when selling or pawning jewelry. Pawn shops expect this, and it can be a great way to get more money for your item. In addition, they often have a wide range where they will begin the negotiations.

Clark Pawners: Get the Best Prices for Your Gold, Diamond, and More

As one of the best independent pawn brokers in the area, we have built a solid reputation for providing quality customer service and fair prices.

Whether you’re trying to sell jewelry or need an instant cash loan in Chicago, don’t waste your time with shops that will give you less than you deserve. We have a large inventory of items, so we’ll be able to give you a great price.

Clark Pawners is located at N Clark Chicago, IL and services surrounding. Contact us today or stop by our location for more information.

Clark Pawners & Jewelers is your trusted pawn shop in Chicago. We buy and sell jewelry, diamonds, gold and more, aside from offering cash loans.

Clark Pawners & Jewelers

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