Apr 13

Calculating the Cost of Gold Jewelry, Is There a Rule of Thumb?

By Calla Gold

cost of gold jewelry

The Price of Pure Gold and the Price of Jewelry Are Far Apart From Each Other

So Many Questions About Gold Prices

What is the cost of gold jewelry? How does the cost of gold jewelry compare to the price per ounce of gold on the metals market?
Are rings more expensive by weight than chains? What is retail markup? What makes one type of gold jewelry more expensive than another?

Here at Calla Gold Jewelry we get asked and try to answer all kinds of jewelry questions. With help from my mathematically happening husband Jeremy, we take on these questions!

Is There a Rule of Thumb to Predicting the Cost of Gold Jewelry to Buy?

Is there a rule of thumb a person can use to calculate the cost of a 14k piece of jewelry? I wish it were that easy. Let’s break it down in to what we can figure out.

24kt vs. 14kt.

24k gold is 100% gold. Why the number “24”? All you need to know is it’s an ancient story having to do with kings and seed pods, best left for another time.
Do know this: 14k gold is 14 parts real gold and 10 parts other metals, or expressed as a percentage, 58% gold and 42% other stuff. 18k gold is 75% gold and 25% other junk.

cost of gold jewelry

You Need to Figure the Difference Between Ounces and Grams

Ounces vs. Grams

Unfortunately, pure gold is typically sold by the ounce while karat jewelry (kt.) is usually sold by the gram. Thus, we have to convert ounces to grams to find out the cost of the gold in a particular piece of jewelry.
One troy ounce equals 31.1 grams. If pure gold is selling for $1300 per ounce in the metal markets, then one gram is going for $41.80 ($1300/31.1g).

“Give Me a For Instance”

So let’s say a particular 14k gold chain weighs 20 grams. Remember, only 58% of the weight is pure gold. The other 42% is a conglomeration of other metals. (Called alloy metals). So: 58% of 20g = 11.6g. In other words, out of that 20 gram chain, only 11.6 grams of it are pure gold. And with gold at $1300/oz.—or $41.80/gram—the gold in the chain would be worth $484.88 ($41.80 x 11.6 = $484.88).

This is the Melt Price

This value (the $484.88) is what is known as the “melt price” of this particular chain.  The “melt price” refers to the actual price that your jeweler would receive from a refiner if they chose to melt it down and just be paid for the value of the gold.

The melt price, like the gold price, changes on a daily basis, but as long as gold stays stable in price, it will pretty much remain the same for any given period of time.  Keep in mind that the melt price does not take into consideration any other factors, such as labor to create the piece, any stones that may be set into the piece, or any margin for profit that will be added on at the point of sale.  We’ll discuss these points below.

Three Reasons it Costs Way More in the Store

But wait! In the store that 20 gram chain is selling for $1,500.00 What’s up with that?
1. Our calculations up to this point haven’t included the cost of the other metals.

2. We haven’t figured in the cost of labor to make the chain.

3. We haven’t bumped up the price to a retail level. So far, we’ve been figuring things out on a beginning level.

Pear Shaped Blue Topaz Bezel Set Gem Pendant on Snake Chain

Snake Chain, Machine Made in Italy, 14kt

Explanation With Lots of Math!

What this means is that if the 20 gram chain is selling for $1,500.00 and $484.88 is the cost of the gold, the other $1015.12 ($1500.00 – $484.88 = $1015.12) includes the cost of the other metals, the labor, and the jeweler’s profit. What percentage is the cost of the other metals? The labor? And the markup from the jeweler? Unknown!

All I can tell you with certainty is that if pure gold is selling for $1300/oz. and the weight of the 14k chain is 20 grams, then the melt price of the  gold is worth $484.88. There is no way to know what the jeweler paid for the chain from the manufacturer. Furthermore, we don’t know what gold was going for at the time of purchase. The jeweler might have bought it when gold was at $1200.00 per ounce. Or $1800.00 per ounce!

oval link chain with diamond spaceer

Add Gemstones and it’s a Whole New Calculation

Gemstones Add a Level of Complexity

Finally, we’ve only talked about the gold. If there are gemstones in the piece… Yikes! So for that reason we’ll just speak to gold-only jewelry in seeking a rule of thumb.

“What Should I Expect the Markup to Be?”

To have a rule of thumb on what mark-up to expect, think a minimum of double. If the cost of a chain is $500.00 expect to pay $1,000.00 or more. A machine made chain will have a cost of the gold, plus alloyed metals, plus labor to make it.
Any retail mark-up of course takes into account rents, marketing, staffing and we just won’t go there. Just know that the reason you can’t get it at the price the jeweler does is because you aren’t buying a kilo at a time from a gold manufacturer.

The Cost of Making Chains vs. Earrings

A popular style of gold chain will be more reasonably priced than say a pair of earring as an earring takes more time and steps to make. Also a company might make 100 pair of earrings in one year, while they make 1,000 pieces of a frequently ordered chain style.

They can make that chain style again and again for years, but the styles of earrings change regularly, and the cost of designing and testing each earring style would increase the overall cost of the earrings as well.

Sapphire and diamond engagement ring by Calla Gold Jewelry

Custom Made Engagement Ring

“How Do Designer Jewelry and Custom Jewelry Prices  Get Figured Out?”

If you have a one-of-a-kind custom-made ring created for you, your price to be paid will be greater, than a ring of similar weight and style that was factory made. The cost of a custom made ring includes the time of t he designer to create it, as well as the wax carving or CAD/CAM creation, casting, polishing, setting and adding the special finishes or textures plus any engraving that make your ring unique.

A custom wedding or engagement ring has no economy of scale because it is one of a kind. So expect to pay more for the singular care that goes into its making.

The Bigger the Factory….

The more multiples of that piece of jewelry that are out there in the marketplace, the less you pay by weight for the design and initial set up to make it. That cost has been absorbed by the many pieces made.

You Are an Individual and There’s No Rule of Thumb About You

He Wanted a Lego Ring. He Went Custom.

Where you’re getting the “only one” or ” a style made just for you,” you are paying for a work of art, not something that was mass produced. The fame and popularity of the designer will also have an effect the price you’ll pay for their design work.

There really is no rule of thumb for figuring this stuff out, but now that you are armed with some information, I hope you feel more comfortable when shopping for jewelry and know what to expect.

Get something that is as unique as you are.

Calla Gold


121 thoughts on “Calculating the Cost of Gold Jewelry, Is There a Rule of Thumb?

  1. Great article. I wrote one on this and I had to actually take some scrap gold that came in and weigh it and price it out for customers! I passed, and I’m not a math whiz…it’s very confusing!!

    • Hi Lee,
      It is complex figuring out the old gold jewelry recycling value. I lean on my husband Jeremy, the math wiz of the business to figure this stuff out.
      We get a lot of scrap gold when clients are haiving me do jewelry repairs or want custom work done. It does bring down the price of their projects.
      If I had to do it all myself I wouldn’t be able to get my regular jewelry designing and other work done. It’s time consuming separating out the different karats of gold, removing gems and clasps (Clasps contain non-gold and need to be figured out differently), and then doing the math for my clients.
      Calla Gold

  2. Hello Calla Gold Jewelry,
    This blog post covered all the information about gold pricing in jewelry. Prices, weight, purity etc. all things are easily understandable in your article.

    • Hi Shane,
      I’m glad you liked it. I wanted to get the feedback of another jeweler, so this is just great! I hope all is well with you and yours in Australia!
      Calla Gold
      Calla Gold Jewelry

  3. This is a pretty gutsy post. I’ve asked the question before, why does jewelry cost what it does? Not because I want a wholesale price, just because I want to know so that I don’t feel stupid or ripped off.
    I like your Calla Gold Jewelry blog here and will check it out again.

  4. The article is quite informative however I somehow do not agree with rule of thumb of minimum double of gold price. I recently purchased 22K gold chain( In Canada). I paid only 25% more than the actual gold price. I believe this article is more biased towards jewelers than the buyers…..Arvind

    • Hello Arvind,
      Well done on the low mark-up you paid on your high karat chain. I personally do not sell high karat pre-made jewelry, so I am weaker in that area.
      I’ve been asked so many times how jewelry is priced that I wrote this blog post to answer from my perspective.
      Calla Gold

  5. Hello, Very interesting article!

    I would have thought that traditionally, jewellery stores marked up their fine jewellery 100%, and that manufacturers in turn obviously work with a markup over their average cost of materials, so the gold part of retail price tended to be approximately 4x the value of the gold content at the time of manufacture. And they kept the retail prices and their margins consistent by adjusting the karat and weight as needed.

    I’m sure that has been affected by the combination of the rise in gold prices and the global depression, low cost sourcing from countries like China and India, and intense jewellery store competition, including online. Maybe the price average is closer to 3x the price of gold?

    But in any case, valuing gold jewellery by estimating the premium over the gold content that might not be a very useful guide for individuals.

    It really wouldn’t apply to custom jewellery because you are valuing the creative talent of the custom jeweler and she is figuring in the cost of materials used in the proposed piece, her overhead and what her time is worth in arriving at her pricing. None of that is arbitrary but neither can it be reduced to a simple one size fits all formula.

    • Hi Sigrid,
      Thank you for your thoughtful opinion on how to figure out if there is a rule of thumb in figuring out gold value. You made some great points. Especially about custom created jewelry designs. It can’t be boiled down to a, one size fits all, formula.
      Thanks for taking the time to write.
      Personal Jeweler,

  6. THANK YOU!! This is SO helpful. The karat factor and percent of gold vs. other metals, and the rough estimate on mark-up makes so much sense. I agree with another poster, this was a gutsy post, but the transparency really helps. Most consumers don’t expect to get wholesale prices, but it is empowering to know how the prices get calculated so one can feel confident making a purchase, or selling old jewelry. Transparency is bold and I hope you are rewarded for it. Everyone deserves to make a profit and make a living, and everyone deserves to know what they are paying for so they know if they are getting gauged or if they can feel comfortable about the pricing. Best Wishes!

    • Dear Ashley,
      I so appreciate your letting me know what it was exactly that you liked about this post. You are articulate and so kind to write this. I admit I had misgivings about writing about the ways to figure out what you’d pay for gold one way or another. But it is a question that has come my way occasionally. I do try to answer the questions I get on my blog.
      I do hope you’ll come again to my blog! Your voice is appreciated!
      In case you’d like to see my most controversial post and see some flaming comments go to my post advising against buying titanium or tungsten wedding bands here: https://www.callagold.com/wedding-rings/dont-buy-titanium-or-tungsten-wedding-bands/
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  7. I’ve bought a couple of necklaces and full sets with earrings etc. so know how expensive gold is. However until I read this I had only a limited knowledge of what I was paying.
    The jewellery that I was buying was split as follows: gold price + VAT + labour + (markup) + polishing (which I am told is added as gold is removed when designing made to order custom pieces, I was ordering from trade brochures mainly from Singapore). In all a very good web page.
    Thank you.

    • Hello Ikram,
      Thank you for your nice comment with your figurings. I appreciate your compliment on my blog as well.
      Thank you,
      Calla Gold

  8. Ring is $750- with 20% discount it’s $600 plus $48 tax (total $648)

    It’s 14k

    Isn’t it a good deal?
    Thank you.

    • Hello William,
      I’m afraid that not seeing the ring I have no idea of whether it is a good value.
      Good luck in finding a local second opinion you can rely on.
      Calla Gold

  9. Hello,
    I have recently been looking for a new 18K – 22K 2mm 20″ – 22″ (50cm – 55cm) cuban link gold chain. I have looked at some online places such as amazon, ebay, and etsy and am very confused about the pricing. There is such a wide variety in terms of pricing some range from a few dollars to other upwards of $200. They claim to be 18K, but the very low selling price has me skeptical for (seemingly) obvious reasons. I am not sure what to think at this point. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.

    • Dear Elliot,
      Buying a gold chain from online is fraught with danger. A private party may think that it’s OK to call an 18kt gold electroplate chain as 18kt. There are processes out there that give heavy gold plating making you think it is 18kt. There are people who falsely stamp 18kt on a chain that is 14kt or 10kt or plated. If you buy from a reputable source that specializes in fine gold chains and not costume plated versions, or furniture or other dis-related items you’ll be in better hands.
      A low selling price is a pretty dead sure guarantee that the chain in question is not legitimate gold.
      Gold Link Company sells online and is reputable. I don’t know if they can get you a Cuban link, but if so they are very trustworthy:
      If you start with a reputable company then any referral they would give would be legitimate.
      Good luck is finding a nice high quality 18kt gold chain.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  10. How one can be sure that 22k jewellery they are buying is really 22k. The jewellery was stamped 22k too and bought from Gold House jewellers in Toronto, Canada.

    • Hi Vyas,
      If you buy from a reputable company it should be ligitimate. A company stakes its reputation on the legality of the gold stamps of its chains and other jewelry. They can get in a lot of trouble for falsely stamping their goods.
      There is a test called a fire assay which tells the true karat of gold. There are also simpler acid test methods. Gold karat can be checked.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  11. i bought a 18k yellow gold ring that weighs 16.3 grams with a 8 carat oval ruby i know the ruby is natural but i think its filled ruby not synthetic im not sure… i paid 1300$ do you think i got a good deal?

    • Hi Jax,
      I bet that the ruby is not real. The price you paid is a good one from the perspective of the gold weight.
      Calla Gold

  12. well the lady that sold it to me told me that it is natural but the person who sold her the ruby said that its filled with ruby dust lol and it wont go bad when used with harsh liquids ….i only use soap to clean it im scared to use anything else …i looked inside it and i honestly cant tell it does have inclusions inside

  13. Hi ma’am i just want to ask you how much is the necklace gold 50gr. 24kt there?

    • Hi Sam,
      I re-looked at my post and didn’t see a necklace that I said was 50grams or 24kt. Could you explain your question more fully?
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  14. Hi, I want to buy a 14kt gold chain with 22 grams weight. What’s a good price I should pay to my friend?

    • Hi David,
      Figuring out the retail price of a chain depends on if it’s new or used, the workmanship that adds to the value of the piece, and what kind of store you are in.
      I’ll stay out of this very subjective area.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  15. i want to buy a 97.2 g necklace 22 karat dubai made. how much should i pay for it if 24k gold price is $38 per gram?

    • Hi Angar,
      I don’t have a gold price figuring calculator. This blog is to help you but we’re not a site that drills down to each person’s gold price inquiry.
      Your Personal Jewelry,

    • Hello Angar, if 24ct is $38, the 22ct will be approx $35 x 97g = $3385

      $3500 can be achieved

        • Yes. The rule of thumble on haggling is to calculate the gold value then add 5 AED per gram. Even at 97g x 5 AED = 485 which is roughly $132

          So yes my $3500 estimate was generous as I only allowed $115 make change fee.

          Maybe $3520 – $3550 is more realistic

  16. I priced the cost of a fake gold necklace at $40 for a 20″ chain (rope). I doubt it would cost anymore to make a real gold necklace but let’s say the cost was double. Today gold sells for $1074/once or $34.60 per gram. A necklace weighing 4 grams should cost to make $218 in materials and labor based on doubling the cost of the fake gold necklace. Say the manufacturer makes 8% on the cost of the gold that comes to $136 plus the $80 dollars for the other metal and labor or $230. I wouldn’t pay more than $400 for the gold chain. Most retailers will not disclose the weight. I wonder way?

    • Dear Ohiodale,
      One of the things that will mess up your figures is the fact that the metal weight for fake metals and gold differ to a pretty great extent. Therefore relying on a fake necklace weight for your figures will just frustrate you.
      Most chains are sold by weight plus labor making it different from chain to chain.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  17. I’m an individual not a store. I have a 14k yellow gold 27″ 16g chain that I am trying to sell. I have looked everywhere and can not find anything remotely close to this chain online. Do you know of any place online I might be able to type in a description and possibly find something comparable? I wish I could upload a picture of it.

    Your blog is amazing! You definitely hit the nail on the head. Individuals are offering me like 250 for the chain, but the pawnshop is offering me 350. It’s really difficult to price a gold piece. Especially when it could be a one of a kind. I wondered why the pawnshop was offering me more per gram then what I saw online for gold prices, I didn’t even think about the other metals that are used to make it.

    Awesome, keep up the great work!

    • Hi Jessica,
      You could send me a picture at callagold@gmail.com and if I recognize it and know the name I’ll email you back. Many chain maufacturors are in Italy and typically if they make a certain proprietary design they do a run of it and move on. Your unique design could be one of these. They are not collectors items, just pretty and discontinued. This may be the case with yours.
      The pawn shop may be offering you more than the melt credit for the gold which the $250.00 looks like, because they may feel they can sell it. The $350.00 is a generous offer in my book. Having not seen it I am assuming it is a chain that is typical of Italian made and in good to excellent condition.
      It is unfortunate that you can’t put a picture on my blog comments.
      If it’s possible it is above my pay grade.
      I adore you kind words about my blog. When I started it I wanted to answer the frequently asked questions and talk about designing jewelry and just be a voice to answer questions wherever I had information or opinion in my jewelry world. I’m shocked to be in the 400’s on how many blogs I’ve written. I’ve been told I’m chatty, so I guess that makes sense.
      I will keep it up. Please come again Jessica.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  18. Very interesting post and very thorough too; great Blog. I often wonder why the kt. weight poses such a heavy pondering, whilst at the same time I often wonder that it cannot be that simple for some. For instance. Today’s prices for scrap gold in the UK are: 9kt: £8.65, 14kt: £13.49p, 18kt: £17.29p, 22kt: £21.23p and 24kt: £23.30p (per gram) These prices must surely reflect both gold content and ‘other’ metal content in order to come to these prices; hence the differences as we go up the kt. weight scale which takes into account ‘other’ metals than gold.

    Assuming that scrap price would only ever be the true worth of whatever it is that we buy and, one day, sell-on then this can only be the greater interest in regard to actual value which you have shown very well in this truly informative article. This being the case, then some might consider that pure gold value is the wider aspect rather than any design or manufacturing of it which, of course, will only ever add to the final costs.

    I think the value of any jewelry lies in the eye of the beholder and, for some, the price is the lesser of the issue in regard to gold-weight over actual weight. Anyone looking for a bargain buy would, of course, view the subject with a lot more scrutiny, but even at the point the kt. price of scrap gold is set which in turn (and for me) makes the whole subject much simpler.

    (I have no idea if you see where I am coming from here … LOL)


    • Franklyn,
      Thank you first of all for your kind words. It is nice to get your perspective on this information written in America from over there in the UK. I’m thinking you’re more of an engineer than me so I followed you up to a point.
      I basically wrote it to answer the question, “how much can I get for this old gold?” This being asked by a client who weighed it all together and said, “I have 123 grams all together.” Some was 10kt, some 14kt and some 18kt. One piece was un-stamped dental gold. So I thought I’ll write this up so people know why it takes time to sort, test and figure out a credit for someone’s gold.
      It doesn’t help when someone is buying new gold because as you said the cost of manufacturing, designing, and all the extras that go into the creation of beautiful jewelry.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  19. This was a good explanation of pure vs karat pricing and content. I think you could say the total cost of all the other alloy metals in a typical ring is easily less than 1% of the cost of the gold content, and basically disregard it from any attempt to understand pricing.

    Thanks for the explanation!

    • Hello Jack,
      When I turn in gold for recycling I do not receive any credit for the alloy metals. So you are right that they are worth less than 1%. They are worth nothing to me. The gold in recycling is the valuable metal.
      I’m pleased that you liked the explanation.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  20. I was looking at a 14k plain white gold band.
    The seller (pawn shop) said it had 8 grams of gold. I’m not sure if that’s good or not. The ring looked very nice. I just don’t know if its $300.00 nice. Can you give me your opinion?

    • Hi Janet,
      At a pawn shop, selling used items $300.00 is a bit much. I think you could do better.
      If however there is intricate and artistic uniqueness that they are adding to the cost that is another story.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  21. I bought a 14k gold cross and chain. Paid 800. It days ky gold is worth 327 is 800 a fair price? I feel like i was over charged.

    • Hello Fawn,
      I am not familiar with a 327 as a representative of karat. The stamp 333 means 8kt gold and 375 means 9kt, 416 is ten karat and 585 is 14kt. That number doesn’t seem to correspond to a karat value.
      When you are buying a manufactured piece of jewelry you are not paying the gold value for it anymore than when you buy a car you are paying the raw metal price for each metal that goes into manufactury.
      I realize upon re-reading your comment that I have misunderstood your question. Your chain is 14kt gold. I could not comment on the fairness of the price of your chain.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  22. I think the piece over elaborates on how simplistic a calculation this can be.

    Gold is priced on the world market and will virtualy cost the same regardless of whether you are in Miami or Manchester. Currently 18ct is about $31 per gram. This includes 75% pure gold and 25% alloy. The current 24ct price is approx $41 so we can already see the gram of alloy component is roughly $10 per gram. We didn’t need that info as we’ve established one gram of 18ct is $31. So if the price you’re intending to buy is 10 gram ring of 18ct, we can quickly see the material value is $310. If the retailer buys in for $400 and sells for $600 (purely estimates) it’s simple to see a $90 workmanship cost and then a 50% retail markup.

    At the end of the day, people usually pay more than double the value of the actual metal. In Dubai that $310 lump of metal would be made into jewelry and sold (after a round of battering games) for under $350.

    It’s the fixed/variable overheads that will make gold cheaper in some parts of the world and not the actual metal price

    • Hello Dave,
      I live in America and this was written with that veiwpoint. It’s amazing that the piece of jewelry made in your example would cost around $350.00. That might happen at a pawn shop in America, but never at a store. Also that $90.00 workmanship cost seems low as well. This is however very interesting to get your input from Dubai.
      You are right that fixed and variable overheads greatly impact what a person will pay for karat gold jewelry not actual metal price.
      Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  23. Hi Calla, Not, too long ago.. I was digging out a area to set up a trailer on my prop. and dug up a 1 foot square gold looking block of very heavy metal and it was foged up by a thin layer of tarnish (but, when the sun hit it look out!) I did some checking around and it weighed 1,240 pounds it took 2 of us with bent backs to carry it to the PU Truck and had to swing it on the tail gate. The estimate I found for that item judging on the weight and all 8 sides was all gold looking fools gold does not weigh like real gold, so and it was in the groung for many years???? I know now it was 24Kt. gold as I sold it to a salvage yard and he said the outside looks like gold but, the inside was all kinds of different metals, and believing him as he is registered with this State to give a Fair price for metal brought to him he gave us $45.00 for it, and his Tenants he rents to next to the salvage yard said they saw what I brought in to him, and told me after we left that morning he locked up shop and went to FLA and bought a Mansion down there, and up-graded his Biz. it is now on a Major Highway RT# 17 the Rockland Road, and now owns an Antiques Shop in the same Town.. what would you do if this happened to you? Oh, the Estamate came Very Close to.. “$19,721,516.26” a website that deals in everyday pricing of gold and said avg. price is $1,700.00 an OZ. being the waight of 1,240 LBS I don’t remember how many ounces it came to but I can tell you a LOT! And I found an EX-Employee of his that plain out told me he rips off many of his customers.. if his tenants are still there.. I have them as well, I never had this kind “BUNCO” done to me, but there must be a recorse I would think? I’m thinking you might know the best way to handle these “Bunco Crooks” as you deal in gold & etc. I should had brought it to a Coin Shop that deals in Gold & Silver as well.. instead of… Thanks

    • Dear Keith,
      Your story is a sad one. My main business is the designing and selling of fine jewelry. I wrote this blog post due to the many questions I receive about the value of gold and why finished gold pieces cost more. I do not know where you would go to sort this out since he is gone as is your hunk of gold.
      If you discover another hunk of gold on your property the safest place to take it would be to a refinery which can do what’s called a fire assay where they take a random piece drilled out of your gold and test it for karat.
      The public rarely have access to refinery services, but some do advertise online and could perhaps help you find someone reputable in your area that they get metal from that you could go to.
      I feel that coin and estate dealers are safer than junk dealers for this kind of thing. You can also get more than one offer and if the offers are very different, that is a red flag that you need to tread carefully and be cautious before choosing who will buy your gold. I realize that what I’m saying is akin to closing the barn door after the horse has escaped, but there it is.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  24. VERY interesting page. I have traveled the Emirates and Dubai has a Gold Market to take your breath away. My experience with them was that I had a Krugerrand that I carried for many years as “emergency cash” but nice to look at. Then the USA outlawed the possession of Krugerrands so while in Dubai, I traded the Krugerrand for an 18K stud-link necklace. They did the assay of the coin and the chain at the same time as I wanted the ounce in the Krugerrand to be equal to an ounce in the chain. They only charged me US$15 for the exchange! I later had the chain assayed and sure enough it was 18k. There are literally hundreds of gold shops from 2 square meters to 20 square meters, all jammed together and the competition is such that they are satisfied with volume transactions rather than waiting for the casual sucker. Dubai and the Emirates in general are breathtaking. I have visited there for at least 50 years since when it was shack town and the tallest building, just one, was 12 stories… today they have the tallest building in the world, 2,722 feet with 163 floors. The residences cost US$3,500 per square foot. Question: How many ounces of gold would it take to buy a two bedroom apartment there?

    • Dear O,
      That is an interesting travelogue comment on Dubai. It sounds like you traded a one ounce of 24kt for a one ounce of 18kt gold chain plus $15.00. That is a better deal than in the US, especially considering the work to create your chain.
      Dubai sure has seen a lot of changes over the years. Thank you for sharing this.
      As to your question I think it’d take a lot of ounces to buy that apartment!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

    • Hi Emma,
      I do not have a shop in the Dubai Airport. I just used that picture. I am an American jewelry designer and educator.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  25. Calla, yur article was very helpful, but I’m curious whether I paid too much ($1,250) for an 18.5″ herringbone nacklace of 14K gold weighing 30.3g and with a width of 6mm? The necklace s used but is in excelelnt condition and highly polished.

    Please advise, OK?



    • Dear Peter,
      You got a nice close to wholesale price for your chain. Very well done. It sounds like a great buy to me.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  26. This article was EXTREMELY beneficial to me! I work for a non-profit organization and we get tons of jewelry donated! And I have just been calculating the jewelry price by the type of gold, or silver, platinum etc; and then weighing it and multiplying the cost per gram whatever the cost may be on that given day. The calculator I use is online and it gives me the fair market value, the price per penny weight (DWT) and the NY Spot Market Price for Gold/Silver/Platinum. What is this NY Spot Market Price? Can you give me any intel on this? I am so thankful that I found this website!!! It has been such a great resource!!!
    Thank You SO VERY MUCH!!!

    • Hi Jenny,
      Thank you for letting me know that this is helpful to you in your non-profit work.
      The New York Spot price means the price today of one ounce of fine gold. Pure gold. Not a future price. It changes throughout the day.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  27. Hell i was just wondering if i got ripped off?
    So i bought a 14k gold chain that weighs 13 grams and i paid $700 i basically paid around $54 per gram for it and i called several other shops and it seems that they are selling the gram of 14k gold in between $55-$65 why so much?

    • Hello Luis,
      The workmanship and craftwork that goes into making a gold chain needs to be taken into account when you are buying one. That price doesn’t sound rip-offy to me. But I am a jeweler and I have to make a living, so I understand the need to have mark-up as a part of the equation.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  28. What is the average cost of a 20 inch curb link platinum necklace that weights 33 grams?

  29. Found a great buy at a Pawn Shop 14kt 72.4 gr. Chino link necklace. For $2000.00.

  30. Hey, do you guys know a place where you can buy gold jewelries by weight in USA?


  31. G’day Calla.
    Many years ago I went to 3 jewelers in Perth Australia with a handfull of jewelry. No scrap and included was a new solid 22k necklace and bracelet weighing around 28gms. “How much for this lot?” I ask.
    Iwas told it would only be melted down and was offered between A$175 and $75 for the lot.
    Next jeweller I tell him that I need to get valuations for anything over $500 for the insurance and give him 1 20inch 9k neckchain with a 1 inch disc St Christopher medallion.
    He weighed it and said, “$1200 sir, a valuation will cost $75.”
    Many jewelers have a 1000% mark up on jewelry which is why Goldmxxx in the UK used to sell for 10% deposit and no interest over 3 years. They made their profit on the 10% and the rest was a big bonus.

    • Dear Joe,
      I don’t even know how to respond other than to say that that mark-up is huge and ridiculous. I’ve been selling jewelry now for 33 years and that is not a mark-up I or any of my jeweler friends uses. Your story is dramatic but not representative of what I am familiar with from inside the business.
      Thank you for sharing that.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

    • Hello Paul,
      As a designer of jewelry I have no answer for you. To buy wholesale you need a resale permit and at minimum a business licence. You need to jump thorugh hoops to establish your good credit. You’d probably also need to reach a minimum purchase level to get truly great pricing. Perhaps by buying a kilo at a time. Part of the buying of jewelry wholesale is buying in bulk.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  32. It’s not my very first time to visit this blog; I’m visiting this daily and acquire superb info from here day by day.

  33. Hello,I come and I read alit of questions and comments.I too have a question coz i just bought a wheat chain 10k and 22″ for $1275,i am not so sure if it is over priced or what coz it was so light

  34. Hi Lee

    Good original article. I read lots of the earlier posts but finally stopped because there are so many.

    One thing I wanted to mention is that some of the larger manufacturers will buy their gold directly from the miner at much lower than market spot prices.

    Another hint to your readers is that if you want a good deal on gold jewelry (without gems), go to an auction and only bid for it based on the current spot price (based on Kt content) x the weight (in grams).

    • Hello Robert,
      Thank you for your advice and addition to this thread. It is much appreciated.
      I know nothing about the buying from gold miners. A friend of mine who placer mines on the Kern River takes his buckets of gold dust and nuggets mixed in with dirt to the same gold refiner I buy gold, and re-cycled gold from. I understand that he is paid the normal spot price less the small refining fee.
      I’m pleased too that you’ve read a few of them. Yay!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

    • Hello Guna,
      Many pieces of jewelry do not list the weight as much of the value of the work is in the design and details. The point of this blog is to help if you have the weight data, but hopefully not to denigrate the value of the work done on the gold.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  35. Back in 1971 was taking a summer jewelry making course at a university. I had recently gotten engaged and decided to make my husbands wedding band. I purchased the gold from my instructor. I had a choice of 14kt or a higher grade. I thought that it was 16kt gold. Now I am getting ready to sell the ring and wonder if it was 18 Kt. Have you ever heard of 16kt gold? Or are the increments always standard?
    I would appreciate any information you can give me.
    A second question, please. Back in the early sixties I would purchase charms for my bracelet at a cost of $8-12.00. I thought they were 12 kt gold. Does that sound about right? I purchased them in a local jewelry store. Did we have fake gold charms etc back then?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Dear Carol,
      The commonly used karat types in the US are 10kt (often for class rings), 14kt, 18kt, 20kt and occasionally 22kt. I have never used 16kt and never known it to be a thing in jewelry. Nor have I ever used or seen 12kt.
      There were gold plated and gold filled charms being sold in the sixties. They may however be real as gold was considerably more inexpensive then.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  36. Hi!
    I just want to ask how to Know the actual percentage of gold in any kind of gold ornament, without melting or testing it in lab or without placing the gold ornament inside the karatmeter x-ray machine.

  37. Greetings Calla!
    Great article and even better questions and answers. Very helpful of you to provide this information. I read many of the comments (but not all of them) and apologize if this is a repeat question, but what does it mean if a ring is stamped inside “14K 200” ? My little gold testing kit shows that the ring is 14K gold (at least on the outside) but does the 200 mean something, like maybe it’s gold over silver? This ring also has a very large “diamond” that doesn’t look real in my uneducated opinion. I would appreciate any information you might provide. As to where this ring came from, I discovered it in a bag of junk jewelry that I bought a thrift store.

    • Hi Debbie,
      I have reached out to my jeweler friends. No one has seen this as an industry standard thing. If there is a gemstone in the ring the 200 could mean 2 carats. Some rings have gemstone weight stamped in them.
      The 200 could possibly be some sort of trademark. Weird but possible.
      Short answer I do not know what it is.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

      • Thank you so much for your response and best wishes! also, Happy Mothers Day! 🙂

  38. 22ct bracelet
    7″ thick
    About 150 gm from
    $ 13 500.0
    What is it work
    Is it good price

    • Hi Krishan,
      I really don’t want to become information central on whether you are being offered a deal on gold. Good luck.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  39. Very informative. Nice to know about the pricing and quality of the gold we are buying. This info is very helpful. More blogs like this.

    Edna Colcol from Saudi Arabia.

  40. Two things sadden me here.
    When you buy a piece of jewellery, you also buy a piece of art.
    How can you forget the creative aspect?
    When you buy a painting, you do not say “there is $20 worth of canvas, $12 for the paint, and $30 for the frame, so I should pay more than $100, that leaves plenty to the gallery owner”
    The real value of a piece of jewellery is the pleasure you have wearing it!
    The other point is the tax.
    Here, in UK where I live, 20% is added to the retail price at point of purchase…
    So the second you leave the shop, you have already lost 20%….!
    Do not buy jewellery as an investment!
    Buy it to please you or your friend, celebrate an event, and do not get into the trap that makes assets become liabilties…

    • Hello Serge,
      You are so right that jewelry is like a piece of art on our hands and bodies. I didn’t post this with the intention of devaluing what is most important in jewelry. I wrote it to answer a frequently asked question for people that may have dated pieces, or old gifts that they aren’t wearing. This is meant to help people understand why their ring that they paid one price for only has a lower intrinsic value when re-sold for gold only value.
      I’m with you, I don’t invest in gold I buy it to please myself.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  41. Great article.

    What about gold bars? I have 1 oz gold ingots. If I want to sell them what price relative to the spot price can I expect. Thank you!

    • Hi Jack,
      I’m choosing to not do the math on all the questions I get. I’m a jewelry designer.
      Sorry about that.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  42. I have an 18 K gold chain that I wanted to sell, but I was told that it weights only 2 grams .it is possible

    • Dear Amanda,
      A two gram chain is not worth the time to take down to sell for scrap. Perhaps save it and other broken bits and unused settings until you have more to sell then you’ll have some money to buy a piece you’d love.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  43. There’s a 4th reason thta buying in the store is so much higher is simply this. price gouging is you’re answer. Sure they have up keep, employee’s,insurance, the cost of the building whether owning or renting. Why do you think there are soooooo many
    jewelry stores all over. You can go on a cruise and there is 4 jewelry stores on each corner and down the streets too. You will also see on one street several stores right next to each other with an occasional pharmacy or souvenir place.
    The Beers are hoarding tons of piles of diamonds in several countries in warehouse
    and these piles are nearly as high as the ceilings. If they were to release all those diamonds onto the market you could buy them a “dime a dozen”. It’s a big scheme
    to bilk as much money out the peoples pocket as possible. If you do research on the internet you will find much info that will shock you. There are movies out about this. For one example: Blood Diamonds.

    • Hello Henry,
      It sounds like even though the businesses have business expenses that you begrudge them having mark-up to pay those expenses. Do you feel the same way about clothing stores or shoe stores? De Beers is no longer a monopoly.
      The jewelers I know are a hard working bunch, often working 6 days a week. There is a perception that because we sell diamonds and jewelry we are millionaires. Nope.
      I see your opinions here and welcome all viewpoints. Whether I am in agreement or not with the validity of them.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  44. How do I test gold without the acid kit.Thinking about buying chain from a private seller.Do not want to get ripped off.Hoping u can assist me.Thanks.

    • Hi Michael,
      Look at the stamping on either the clasp or the connecting rings by the clasp. Of course if someone wants to defraud you they could fraudulently stamp your chain, which would be a lot of work, or they could put a karat gold clasp on a costume metal chain.
      In order to do due diligence on a piece of ‘gold’ jewelry you may need to borrow the chain and pay someone else to test it. Or buy it and hope for the best.
      If you cannot test it then someone else must if you feel you want to know for sure what you are buying.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  45. Dear (and you must really be!) Calla,
    I am so impressed with your responses to those who sent statements as well as questions to you!! You must have a degree in psychology along with that vast knowledge regarding your trade. You were so pleasant and kind when so many others would have turned a deaf ear. Kudos, Calla. You are really cool!
    Great job -great info. Thank you.

    • Dear Nancy,
      What lovely words you have shared with me today. They bring a smile to my face. When I started blogging I didn’t realize that I put a bullseye on myself as a writer and a jeweler with an opinion. I soon learned that some of my commenters wanted to engage in ad hominem attacks (for my foreign readers, this is where you attack the writer personally and insult them as opposed to their opinion) rather than discuss the issues. Then others disagreed with fine manners. And then there are lovely people like you who support me so kindly.
      I appreciate your words very much Nancy.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  46. Hi I have 98 grams of gold rings chains medelons and different pieces of jewelry with diamonds how much could I get for my gold

    • Dear Rene,
      You’ll have to have the person buying your gold separate it into 10kt, 14kt, 18kt, etc. Once they’ve done that or tested it to determine the karat they will use the weight of each to determine the trade in value based on the spot price of gold and what they are paying that day.
      This is something to be done in person and not guessing online.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  47. Hi Calla,
    When you design a piece, do you source out fabrication? Does someone pour the gold, and if an 18kt piece, do they start with 18kt or do they start with 24kt and add the alloys themselves? I’m just beginning to dabble in jewelry pieces as investments because so many old and new pieces are becoming available (estates, etc). Based upon prior comments, it seems that buying a piece at 30-40% of the appraisal might be a good buy. Thanks for your insights and your time.

    • Hello John,
      I’ll take your inquiries one at a time.
      1) All jewelers are different. I have a team for created designed pieces. My CAD guy, my various diamond setters – each with a setting specialty, my caster, and my all around bench jeweler who does many of the tasks that do not require specialization. Sourcing out sounds like it flies to Miami to have something done. I my case, my team is in one location, but they are not employees as they take work from other designers too. Some jewelers make one piece at a time and do all the steps themselves. You’d see their work perhaps at a gallery.
      2) When I wish to have 18kt gold used in my design I buy it from the refiner who has carefully alloyed the gold to the 18kt state. I do not alloy gold myself.
      3) If you are buying estate jewelry, you are probably getting a nice discount. There are people who travel around to auctions, buying jewelry that is discounted because it is not fixed up, polished up or otherwise made retail ready and they seem happy with their investments.
      Good luck in your purchases.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  48. Considering how many people sell their gold jewelry nowadays it really does help to know the rule of thumb when it comes to selling it. I particularly like that the article also goes over how stuff like gemstones can make things complex. After all, at that point you’re also selling a rare stone not just gold.

  49. I wander what’s the best way of selling my gold chains half of them are new never been used. I bought and sold jewelry as I a way of making money when I was in school. It was a way of paying my tuition. Once I received my degree I stopped selling jewelry as I was making a good income in my profession
    In 1980 I had accumulated about $20000.00 of gold chains and bracelets. Much of it new. Tricolored gold, rope chains etc.
    what’s the best way of selling it all as bulk but not for scrap weight. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Lou,
      Well done on your entrepreneurial venture in college. I bought my first chain from a friend who only had a few chains that she sold to make extra money. I loved that chain. I finally broke it, but boy did I get my money’s worth out of that first chain.
      I think you are looking to get more than scrap value. And in a perfect world more than the wholesale price you paid for them.
      One thing to be aware of it the fact that some chain styles are more popular now than others. For example in my geographic area, rope chains are a hard sell, but Cuban, box and curb sell well. For styles that are less popular in your area, these will be tougher to sell.
      When jewelry stores seek to liquidate unmoving merchandise or older items that haven’t sold they reach out to estate dealers or liquidation experts.
      Have you shown your chains to any jewelry stores?
      The only reliable way to get over your cost is to sell on a retail basis at a discount that still gets you more than your cost. This would involve your time and effort with perhaps Craig’s list or Ebay. If you haven’t the time to mess with it, the dealers will buy it all, but at a price you may not like.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  50. Thank you, Calla, for your great information on gold valuing. I really enjoyed reading it!

    Nancy Geng Vassilakis
    Edessa Studio Jewelry Design

  51. Stumbled upon this thread and liked what I read. I decided to call the number. Calla answered on the first ring and we had a very nice conversation. Thank you so much for the talk! Very informative on many levels.

    • Hi Kyle,
      I appreciate your sharing your experience. It was very nice speaking with you too.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  52. I bought today a 11.73 gram 21k bracelet in saudi priced at 700 us dollar. The price for 21k gold in gram at purchased time was 36.48 dollar. Is it a reasonable price or what? Thank you

    • Hello Nel,
      With my busy schedule of custom design etc I cannot take the time to do math.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  53. First time commenting,
    Interested a gold chain necklace.
    Jeweler said it he will bring the chain that I’m interested in and its 14k gold.
    He told me he will charge me $35 USD per gram of gold.
    Is this a good deal ?

  54. What should the price be for a 14K 19 gram ring that will be set with my own 1.52 carat diamond. The ring 14K yellow gold and a white 14K drop in for the diamond. What should the cost be with labor include. What is fair to avoid being abused?

    • Hello Jason,
      We spoke on the phone. I wrote this blog in response to a lot of questions I get about, gold value, whether one jeweler was charging too much, or giving a nice discount, or why custom is more expensive than, made by the dozen, jewelry pieces.
      I wrote it so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time talking about the difference between the old broke down chains and rings and why they are worth one much lower amount than a beautifully designed ring in the window.
      Your question to me about whether it is fair to pay the price you were asked for a ring being ordered out of a catalog. I do not want to be in the position that I’m answering the phone and email daily letting someone know if they are paying a fair price for a used chain, or a custom made ring.
      If I were to take the time to do this I’d have to charge for my time and I’d really rather keep designing beautiful jewelry and seeing my wonderful clients.
      I’m saying that I’d rather not get called or emailed for free advice about whether or not the price you’ve been quoted for something is fair or not. I just don’t have that much time and to answer a question like that takes time and a handy calculator. I do not wish to do this. It doesn’t feel comfortable.
      I have a blog post about how to choose your jeweler:
      I think if you carefully choose your jeweler then you won’t need to reach out to me because you’ll have done your research on this jeweler to see if they would be a good fit.
      I wrote another post about the different kinds of jewelers:
      This one goes over whether this person is a salesperson, a person selling other designers goods or actually designs and fixes jewelry. If you understand the different flavors offered you can be more confident in the pricing your are given and the services offered.
      Once you’ve figured out the best type of jeweler for your project, then find them, then you don’t need to wonder if you need to double check their price with someone like me far away from your project.
      My wish is that you find the right jeweler, you click and they have the skills needed to give you exactly the service you need. And that you end up with a beautiful piece of jewelry and a happy memory of the story of its creation.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  55. Hello you have some wonderful info on your blog. I am currently looking at a 22in 14 kt cuban link chain. It is 11.5 grams and going for $700. Does that sound like a good deal?

    • Hello Lou,
      I do not do calculations for people on the blog. There are too many inquiries. Use the formula in the blog that my husband wrote up.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

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