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3 Tips for Buying Pawn Shop Jewelry

on Feb 25, 2020 9:56 AM
Buying Jewelry at Pawn Shops

Buying jewelry at a pawn shop can be a scavenger hunt. Just like shopping at any secondhand or thrift-type store, the inventory is ever-changing and you never know what you might find.

That's the double-edged sword of jewelry shopping at estate sales, pawn shops, and the like. If you have a Pinterest board full of dream rings and a style already in mind, rummaging through secondhand stores with limited inventory isn't your best bet.

But if you enjoy the thrill of a treasure hunt, really want something unique, or love the idea of recycling a piece of vintage jewelry, buying jewelry at a pawn shop could be super fun for you.

Before you start looking at pawn shop jewelry, read these three tips.

How to Buy Pawn Shop Jewelry:

1. Research

Research, research, research. Google the pawn shops you're considering and read all the reviews you can find. Ask your friends and family. Give special preference to pawn shops that specialize in jewelry. Do enough research that you feel confident walking into the shop, not wondering if they're going to pull one over on you.

Also, learn as much as you can about jewelry. Start your shopping armed with jewelry knowledge so you already know what a quality diamond looks like, what the market price for gold currently is, and how heavy true 14K gold should feel in your hand. (Or bring along a knowledgeable friend!)

2. Think Outside the Box

Maybe you're looking for a ring. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider necklaces. You could find the perfect stone set inside an old pendant, take it to your jeweler and have it re-set into your dream ring.

With jewelry, be less concerned with the aesthetic and more with the quality. Something may appear outdated and not your taste, but if it's made of high-quality materials at a steal of a price, you may be able to afford to have your jeweler re-create it.

3. Ask for Credentials

How do you know if the pawn shop jewelry piece is of good quality? Ask for certifications or appraisals. Hopefully, they have documentation to prove the make-up of the jewelry and quality of any stones. If not, plan to take it to an appraiser yourself.

While you may not be able to take it to an independent appraiser prior to purchasing, if you get a description of the jewelry in writing from the pawn shop, you should (hopefully) have no issue returning it if the appraisal doesn't match up.

If you go in prepared and confident, buying jewelry at a pawn shop can be a lot of fun, and very successful. If you find something great, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.

And, remember, secondhand jewelry needs insurance, too! If you'd like to see how much jewelry insurance could cost you per year, click the button below for a quote in minutes. No personal information required.


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Editor's Note: This post was originally published September 30, 2011 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


Very informative article! All the points discussed here are the ones that every person who goes to pawnshop for buying jewelry must keep in mind.

Ivan Hogan

found this pretty helpful, thanks for the tips.

buying jewelery

Thanks for sharing, Very informative blog.

Jewelry News

These are some great tips; after all, it is not everyday that someone buys jewelry from a pawn shop. I particularly love the tip you give about asking if they have any experience or certifications. If the pawn shop is certified to sell jewelry then you can rest easy knowing that they know what they're doing when they sell it to you.

Callum Palmer

my daughter and I went to Canada. we visited a pawn shop that had the most beautiful gold jewelry we ever saw in a pawn shop. I got an antique 24 kt gold ( get out of town gold circle.) with Chinese inscriptions on it. it weights over an ounce cost me $2000.00 dollars my daughter got 3 rings one platinum with sapphires and diamonds and a ruby and diamond ring and an all diamond ring for $3,000.00 we were so happy. we will go back again when we cruise. I went to the Bahamas and went into a grubby little pawn shop and got a cute emerald and pearl 14kt gold necklace for 90.00 bucks. very happy. we now go to all pawnshops when we travel.

ellennora madden

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Great finds, Ellennora! Thanks for reading.

Chelsea Drusch

Wow - could you say the name…

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Wow - could you say the name of that pawn shop? Is it in the Vancouver area?


Thanks for sharing such good post. It is very important for me to buy bridal Jewelry from reputable shop.

stacey jones

Thanks for sharing such an informative post like this. When one is buying a jewel which plays a great role in helping us make a fashion statement, it is imperative that we do it right, rather than try to cut corners.
Nice work.

Linda Shift

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks for reading, Linda! :)

Chelsea Drusch

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