Can You Sell White Gold?


The simple answer to the question “Can you sell white gold?” is “yes”. How much you’ll be paid for it is another matter and depends on what you are selling and where you are selling it.

All precious metals come in four basic types. They are:

  • Scrap metal – sold by weight for the intrinsic value of the metal (or metals) contained within it. The best precious metal to sell as scrap is 22-carat gold, which is almost pure. The value of white gold  depends on what is alloyed with the yellow gold to make it go “white”. (I go into more detail about this later.)
  • Bullion – not really applicable to white gold, as bullion is almost always pure precious metal smelted into bars, ingots or coins of a specified weight. Investors will buy a kilo of gold, silver or platinum and be able to tell by checking the online spot prices, how much their investment is worth.
  • Jewelry (or jewellery) – is most applicable to white gold as one of the main reasons it is created is to look beautiful when made into a ring, bracelet or other item of jewelry.
  • Other items made out of gold, such as watches, candlesticks and pens.

We should look at each of these types in turn – excluding bullion – and pay particular attention to how each of them applies when you are selling white gold.

Selling White Gold Scrap

White gold is simply gold with something alloyed with it to lighten the color. If that something is platinum, then your white gold can be worth very nearly as much as pure gold and occasionally more. If the added ingredient is nickel, zinc, palladium, manganese or silver, then you’ll get proportionally less. There might also be a charge for “extracting” the metals.

Selling scrap gold is best done via someone you can trust. In my experience, combining Ebay and precious metals (whether as a buyer or seller) is a dangerous combination. Pawn shops are to be avoided too. I suggest you shop around, try a jeweler and a dedicated gold buyer or two and see who offers the best price. Never take the first offer you get.

Selling White Gold Jewelry & Other Items

The first thing to ascertain is whether your item is worth more than the scrap value of the metal it contains. This will usually (but not always) be the case with very intricate handmade jewelry and antiques. No one who runs a pawn shop or “gold wanted” outlet will tell you this, so I suggest it’s best to get your item valued by a professional antique dealer or jeweler before you do anything.

Remember: the insurance valuation is not what an item is worth and is usually an inflated value designed for insurance claims only. If you have one of these, I suggest you consider your item worth something like 50-50% of the valuation price.

Also take into account the possibility that any stones your item contains may turn out to be worth more than the gold. This can happen. Sadly, it all too often works out the other way and what you think are diamonds turn out to be cheap glass.

It always pays to do some research online and in your local library before you part with anything. In most cases a white gold ring or watch will only be worth the price of the gold it contains, but the cases when this does not apply justify a little extra time and trouble.

A friend of mine bought what he thought was a costume jewelry necklace at a car boot sale – the UK equivalent of a yard sale. It needed cleaning and, after an afternoon spent restoring it to its former glory, he discovered that he had in fact bought a very expensive 18th century white gold necklace studded with diamonds and pearls. He paid £5 ($8) for it and sold it at Bonham’s auction house for £2,650 (approx. $4,000) after commissions and professional restoration costs. This kind of thing happens once in a lifetime (if you’re lucky!), but it seems to happen more to people who keep an eye out for bargains!

Cleaning White Gold Jewelry

Here’s a handy video that explains how white gold is put together, why it needs special treatment and how to accomplish that. Enjoy…

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