Cheap Scrap metal sold as Sterling silver! How?!

Update on Jewelry selling

As I mentioned while back I am slowly selling my jewelry.  There are assorted reasons why. I want to lighten the load before I graduate and will be entering a new stage of my life want to make not just finical and social goals but to also career and fashion related goals. Before I continue, I just want to say, that I am not an expert.

Which is perfect because now others will get to experiment with me and learn how to learn (if that makes any sense) to sell your jewelry or at least know the value of your pieces. With time as but this is what this selling series is for! I can make the mistakes and so you do not have to! So, let’s get started!

The other day

So, I have started this selling/jewelry research adventure by going to research cash for gold places. The first I went to is a cash for a gold place about 20 minutes away from the college campus via the bus. It was a small business called Kash Pro Inc.  I learned about them via their ad. Which I must say it was…interesting to say the least.

It was about 20 minutes away from my college campus via the bus. It was not bad. I approached the counter with my small baggie of charms and broken jewelry. And started asking questions. I pulled the first piece which was the gold cuff earring.

I lost the other one recently while doing my hair in Botswana. Yes, I know it is sad. I was able to sell my gold earring huff for 10 dollars.  I also tested the other pieces, but according to the owner, they either did not contain any silver or minimal amounts of silver that does not contain the much monetary value. In fact, for the Adinkra Symbol charm that my mother brought in Ghana about 7 years ago contained virtually no sterling silver!

No Silver!

Silver ring
A sterling silver band without the freshwater pearl. The scrap value is about 80 cents.

While I knew the charm did not contain as much silver as it was advertised I was absolutely surprised to learn that it has no silver or at the least very little silver! The big telltale sign was the difficulty of cleaning it with the lemon and baking soda solution I usually use.

No silver
Adinkra Symbol Charm- Mom brought this “silver” charm in Ghana.

Speaking of which I will be writing an informal article on what is the difference between pure and sterling silver, where you can find jewelry and the tips and tricks on how to figure out what’s a knock-off and what is the real thing. I will link it in this article I write it.

Another one I check out was a sterling silver ring that my mother bought me a while back. I wore it and the pearl just fell off. That ring has a fair amount of sterling silver, however not enough to have high cash value. The dealer claimed that the silver will only be worth 80 cents.


When it got interesting…

I, being the curious person, I am decided to keep it and use this for a reference on knowing about the different metal used on jewelry. It was a delicate charm when it was first purchased it was shiny, scratch free and no sign of tarnishing. Of course, after a few years of being worn, it needed to be cleaned. I used my typical homemade jewelry cleaner made of lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda and there was no sign of improvement. It was still scratched and dirty looking. So, my mom wanted to throw it away.

My remaining gold earring


How did this happen?

After he told me, I asked him if not what kind of metal is used. He claimed that he wasn’t sure as he only tests for gold and silver. However, that charm had no silver. I was surprised! But I started to wonder how many times did the jeweler sold a piece of jewelry with the false claim that it is pure silver or gold. Unfortunately, this is common within the jewelry industry. Buyers need to be particularly careful. Especially when buying from a hole in the wall shops. Yes, some of them are full of real hidden treasure, but some are made of cheap pieces like this one you see on the right.

I know the main topic of this article and in the previous is to learn how to explore the option of selling your jewelry and going to a jewelry dealer to sell for silver is always an option! One thing I wish I would have gone to a few sellers before making a deal. While I did get 10 dollars from selling my 10 Cart gold earring, there was a possibility I would have gotten a higher offer if I looked a bit more.

I did go to the jeweler buyer to of course sell my old jewelry but going to a jeweler buyer is a good place to start if you are just curious about your pieces. So, when in doubt talk to your jeweler and check the value of your jewelry. Make sure you are investing in quality pieces! Luckily, this charm does not belong to me. In an upcoming post, I will be discussing what I learned the difference between fake and real pieces of silver and gold.



  1. Jewelry can be fake and you don’t even realize it. If you know about metals, you better go to well-known jewelry, if not you might get garbage for a very high price. I think is better to pay $500 or more for something that is real, from a well-known jewelry, than $150 for something that looks real but in reality is worth $10, from a “shit-hole” place or person.

  2. Very good information. It is a shame that people get away with selling false products. My mother always taught me to look for the stamp. The silver band should be worth more than 80 cents though, I would check around.

  3. As the saying goes “everything that glitters is not always gold”. It is unfortunate that this happens, but as you say if you are buying from these ‘hole in the wall’ type shops it is a risk you take. We have a saying here in South Africa, which is “goed koop is deur koop”. The saying is in Afrikaans and it means that generally when you try to save a bit of money it actually ends up costing you more at the end.
    Very interesting read though.

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I really do appreciate it! I know people take these risks hoping they would get a great deal for genuine pieces. Clearly, that’s not always the case. This is not the only silver charm my family brought from this jeweler in Ghana. I am going to collect a few of her charms and start testing them. Some have the 925 label, so they might be silver. However, others do not! Stay tuned for that. 🙂

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