Before you get started determine what you want to sell. If you found a nugget while prospecting for gold in Alaska, that you really love or want to make into a piece of jewelry for a loved one, than keep it, you will never find it cheaper. Some people like keep all of the gold that they have recovered mining, sort of like a savings account. Make up your mind first. Once you have determined what and how much of the gold you would like to sell, divide it into nuggets (both small and large) and the fine gold. There is a strong market for nuggets and this is where you will make your most money. The fine gold will have to be sold to either a bulk gold buyer or a refiner. No matter what you have to sell, only work with people you trust. Talk to jewelers in your area to find out where they sell their scrap gold, prospecting stores will have also contact information, as well your fellow gold miners.
Selling Gold Nuggets
Every Alaska gold miner should know that a gold nugget sells for much more than the spot price of gold. Typically nuggets are sold for 2 to 3 times the spot price of gold times the weight of the nugget. This is always the total weight of the nugget with no deduction for impurities. The price of the nugget can vary by the quality of the shape — is it symmetrically paired with another (ear rings), does it have delicate features, or is it a somewhat typical smooth flat nugget. However this is only true when the nugget is sold to someone that values the nugget and not the gold in the nuggets. Refiners and bulk buyers of gold will only pay on the value of gold.
Markets for Alaska gold nuggets include jewelers, hobbyist, collectors, and ebay. After using a jeweler’s scale to determine the weight of each nugget calculate the price “you want” for each gold nugget. Then you can shop your gold around finding the best price. If you sell directly to the public (i.e. collector) you will be able to charge more than if you sell to someone that will resell the gold nugget.
Selling Fine Gold
Selling fine gold is more complicated than selling nuggets. The gold is treated as a commodity and much be process before it can be used in jewelry or electronics. Since placer gold is never pure — varying in gold content from 60 to 90% — it must be assayed before it is sold. The buyer will paid on the value of gold and other metal (***Note, the buyer does not pay the spot price, it is typically a small percent less.) If the fine gold dust mined in Alaska has an assay value of 70% gold, 20% silver, and 10%. The seller will be paid (weight of gold dust X 0.7 X selling price of gold) + ( weight of gold dust X 0.2 X selling price of silver). In addition the seller will be charged for the cost of the assay and the cost of refining the gold into a marketable product. Most gold is relatively simple to refine — however some gold, especially that with platinum/palladium and rare earth metals , is more difficult and thus more expensive to refine. Once the gold has been refined it can be either sent back to the gold miner if they don’t want to sell the gold at that time. The refinery will also buy the gold. The refiner will be able to give you the price to refine the Alaska gold dust prior to refining so you can change your mind if you don’t like the cost. You will be paid by wire transfer, paypal, check, or other means.
Finding a good gold refiner to work with is not difficult. But finding a bad one is also possible. I always recommend that you work off of recommendations from other gold prospectors, prospecting stores, and local jewelers. The jewelers always sell the scrap gold from the rings and pendants they make to a refiner. They will have a good local source. The national gold refiners are also a good choice. Kitco.com the folks that keep the current gold price on this page, also buy and refine gold.