This article was written in collaboration with ValueMax. Views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg.
As an Asian society, Singaporeans have a tradition of giving gold on occasions such as weddings and a baby’s first month celebration. However, many of us don’t actually wear these gold jewellery items on a regular basis and often leave these precious gold jewellery in our closets for years, forgotten and left alone.
Many of us may unknowingly have valuable items sitting in our closet that could actually be worth a significant amount of money.
Finding Hidden Gems Gold At Home
Like many Singaporeans, I remember having a few pieces of gold jewellery being passed down to me from my parents and also receiving some jewellery from my relatives as gifts when I was young. Determined to find out how much they were worth, I rummaged through my closet to see if I could find some old jewellery that could be worth a few hundred or maybe even a few thousand dollars.
After digging out a few pieces of old jewellery at home, I decided to head down to a pawnshop to find out how much these pieces of jewellery, bought decades ago, were going to be worth. While I had no intention of selling them (yet), I thought it would be interesting to still find out the value of these old jewellery.
I found quite a few pieces of gold jewellery in my possession, but narrowed it down to 3 items to be appraised.
Guess For Yourself How Much They’re Worth!
Before getting the items appraised, my colleagues (Timothy & Dinesh) and I decided to make a guess on the value of each of the three items that I will be appraising.
#1 Gold bracelet with diamonds – the nicest, most expensive looking of the lot
I chose to appraise this piece as it looked like it had diamonds, which naturally, make it nicer and more valuable (I think!). My colleagues agreed with me.
#2 Gold Bangles – simple & uninspiring
Gold bangles are a common item that can come in various designs and sizes. I brought 3 gold bangles along, 2 of which were the same design and 1 which was slightly thicker and heavier. The only description I can think of is that they all looked really “normal”.
#3 Gold necklace – thick, chunky, almost unwearable
This item was the one I felt was worth the least – at least in terms of its aesthetic value, although it had significant weight due to its thickness.
There is a very high chance that this necklace will continue to sit in my cupboard for the next few years.
Feel free to guess the value of each of the items first before reading on. Spoilers below!
Getting My Jewellery Appraised
I headed down to one of ValueMax’s pawnshop, specifically the main branch at Waterloo Street, to find out just how much these old jewellery were actually worth. ValueMax is a pawnbroking business that has been in Singapore for over three decades, with stores located island-wide.
Before entering the store, I was expecting to see a store with steel bars on the countertop. However, instead I was greeted by what looks similar to what you expect most jewellery stores to look like – an open, bright and inviting interior with jewellery (mostly gold) on display.
I went to the counter with my pieces of jewellery and passed it to the appraiser.
With one quick look at the jewellery, the appraiser shared that my gold jewellery were all 22K gold (91.6% pure gold, 8.4% composite), a relatively high percentage compared to the popular 18K gold (75% pure gold, 25% composite). Based on this 22K gold, the value of the item was then determined by the item’s weight.
The appraiser shared that they often take less than 5 minutes to appraise each item, though more complicated items could require a longer time to accurately appraise. Gold is also more straightforward when it comes to appraisal, since it has a known market value and rate. Hence, for gold jewellery, the value largely depends on the weight of the item.
As I found out through the appraisal of my diamond bracelet, it would be difficult for the pawnshop to put a value to gemstones or diamonds without the certificate from a verified source such as the GIAs, especially with the popularity of lab-made diamonds these days. Nevertheless, the appraiser used various tools to determine if the diamond was indeed a diamond, before using another tool to measure the size of the diamond.
Based on the rate on the day of the appraisal, which was $59.50 per gm, here’s how much my jewellery was worth.
|Appraised Value||Our Average Guess|
|Item 1: Gold bracelet with diamonds||$750||$800|
|Item 2: Gold bangles||$1796||$430|
|Item 3: Gold necklace||$1220||$241|
Initially, we thought that the gold bracelet with diamonds were going to be worth the most but quickly learnt that isn’t going to be the case. We were surprised to find out that the bangles and gold necklace were worth more, because they were heavier when weighed on the scale.
We also learnt that while the pawnshop can take into account the diamonds in the jewellery and price a small percentage of that into the valuation, it is difficult for them to value it without a certificate such as the one from GIA.
All in all, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that that my old gold jewellery were worth more than just a few hundred dollars. The entire process was completed quickly and the appraiser was professional, friendly and willing to share with us how he appraised the items.
In total, my three items were appraised at a value of $3,776, far higher than what I expected it to be.
Understanding How Pawn Shops Work
Prior to my visit to the ValueMax pawnshop, I had little idea about what goes on behind the scenes in a pawnbroking shop or what to expect.
ValueMax is a pioneer in the pawnbroking industry and has been around for more than three decades, with store fronts all over Singapore. The appraisers at ValueMax have a wealth of experience, which could easily be observed from the speed and accuracy when it came to appraising my jewellery.
Similar to banks, pawnbroking companies like ValueMax earn from the interest they charge you based on the loan they give you. This is at a rate of 1.5% per month (first month 1%). Unlike a bank which may give you a loan based on your monthly salary, a pawnshop gives you a loan based on the appraised value of your jewellery.
Also, since the pawnbroking company is earning interest based on the loan that they are giving you, there is little reason for them to appraise it at a lower value than what it’s actually worth. An easy way to understand how this works is to think of it as a loan, with your jewellery as the collateral.
When you pawn a piece of jewellery, you will get a pawn ticket. ValueMax holds on to your item for 6 months. This means that when you come back with your pawn ticket you have two options, either to 1) renew the pawn ticket by paying the interest for the pawn shop to continue holding onto your item or 2) redeem the item you pawned by paying the full amount plus interest.
You also have the option of renewing your pawn ticket at any ValueMax pawn shop island-wide. Before the expiry, you can come back anytime with the cash to redeem your item. After which, ValueMax will forfeit your item (making the assumption that you no longer want your item back) and put it on sale on the market.
Items that ValueMax accept for pawning include gold, jewellery, diamonds, luxury timepieces and luxury pens. Besides pawning your valuables, you can also purchase preloved gold, jewellery, luxury timepieces and writing instruments for purchase at an attractive price. You can also purchase brand-new gold and jewellery from their stores.
ValueMax currently has a promotion that charges just 1% interest for the first month, and 1.5% for subsequent months. You can find out more about ValueMax’s pawnbroking service or visit any of their pawnshops located around the island!