If you’re having difficulties making ends meet in the current economic climate you may have a useful asset lying around your house. Selling your old unwanted jewelry may be a solution. Gold is hovering at record high prices so selling now maybe the answer to your financial troubles.

To start with you need to know that the price you may receive from your gold will be based on market value and may not be as much as you paid for the piece originally. Gold sold for scrap is bought by weight and not based on the aesthetic or retail value. The price you will receive for your gold is based on its karat value. Gold market prices are based on pure gold which is 24 karats, but jewelry comes in a wide variety of karats. It may be 10, 14, 18 or 22 karats. So if you have something that weighs an ounce and is made from 14 karat you will not receive the market value of an ounce of gold which is 24 karats. You will receive about 58% of that value minus the handling fee the buyer charges which may include their fee to the smelters. You can find out more information on figuring out how much your gold is worth in this guide.

Another point to keep in mind is that you may want to check to see if your jewelry has any historic or collector value. It may be wise, if you suspect that the piece is old or may be an antique or has some unique quality, to have the piece assessed before you decide how you wish to sell it. Gold buyers normally scrap their gold so you may receive a higher price from a collector or jewelry reseller.

The higher the price of gold goes, the greater the possibility that you may encounter a disreputable gold buyer. They may be rare but they’re out there. The nonprofit organization, the Better Business Bureau reports that complaints from consumers concerning being ripped off by gold buyers are on the rise. There are a lot of legitimate buyers but many are paying below fair market prices. So check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau, be sure they’re licensed and their scale is certified.

Depending on where you decide to sell your gold, whether you are sending it by mail to an online buyer, attending a gold party, taking it to a jewelry store or a pawnbroker, your options are quite extensive. Any dealer should be able to tell you both the per gram and per pennyweight price for your gold depending on its karat value. Also be certain that if your jewelry is a different karat that it is weighed separately and the karats are not mixed together.

It is always important that you check yourself to see what the daily price for gold is on the market. This information can be easily obtained from online sites offering gold charts as well as leading news sources such as Kitco, Bloomberg, Forbes, and Market Watch.

Be smart in this market; it is your responsibility to be informed and cautious. It can be a rewarding and financially fulfilling experience if you do your homework.