What is my scrap sterling silver jewelry worth?

What determines that jewelry is scrap? It depends on whether something is worthwhile to fix, has sentimental value, whether it is collectible, hallmarked, and other factors. 

Sterling Silver Scrap Native American Jewelry

When you are selling broken or otherwise unsalable sterling silver jewelry, you might be offered scrap price or melt value for the items.

And even if you have undamaged Native American jewelry and you take it to a pawn shop where the pawn broker isn’t interested in or knowledgeable about the value of Native American jewelry, you will likely be offered melt value.

Here’s how you can figure the melt value of your jewelry.

First be sure the items are sterling silver.  If you don’t have an acid test kit yourself, you can take the items to a jeweler to test for you.

Next you’d weigh the items. If there are a lot of stones or materials other than the sterling silver, you could either remove those so you’d get a more accurate sterling silver weight OR you could estimate how much of the weight is stone.  This will vary depending on the piece so you can make your guesstimate and likely the pawn shop owner will make his.

For an example, if a heavy silver bracelet that weighs 125 grams  has stones estimated to be 30% of the weight of the bracelet, then you would have 70% of the weight as sterling silver or 87.5 grams.

125 gram bracelet x .7 = 87.5 grams

Old bracelet used as an example

Sterling Silver Bar – 92.5% Silver
This bar happens to weigh 24.8 Troy Ounces

But sterling silver is only 92.5% silver, so of the 87.5 grams, only 80.9 grams are silver.

87.5 grams of sterling silver x .925 = 80.9 grams of silver

Pure silver bar
Ag is the chemical element symbol for Silver
This bar of silver happens to weigh 100 Troy Ounces

Silver is measured by troy ounces and there are 31.1 grams in a troy ounce. So in 80.9 grams of silver, you would have 2.6 troy ounces of silver.

80.9 grams divided by 31.1 grams per ounce = 2.6 troy ounces of silver

It costs to have sterling silver melted and purified, so if silver is running, say $30 an ounce, you might be offered $30 or less per ounce.

2.6 troy ounces of silver x $30 per troy ounce = $78.

5 thoughts on “What is my scrap sterling silver jewelry worth?

  1. Pingback: Tips for Selling Your Native American Jewelry « Native American Jewelry Tips

  2. Is there someone that can look at a picture of a bracle and ring that are silver and turquoise? They are not marked but i do know they are very old. My Grandfather gave them to my grandma in 1937. The bottom of the box was marked …What a wonderful surprise, March 1937? I just want to know if it is zuni or navajho. And iff I should have it appraised?

  3. What a great article about selling silver jewelry to hawks…
    I recently witnessed a transaction where a young man sold some silver and he received so little money, it made me cringe.

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