Today gold is at $850 an ounce, but what does that mean when it comes down to your old class ring? Well, the ounce price of gold is for PURE gold. Almost all gold jewelry has alloy metals in it. The alloys make the gold harder to scratch and more durable. They can also help to "color" the gold. Additional copper gives us rose gold, nickel helps make gold "white", etc.
18kt gold (750 in Europe) is 75% gold with 25% alloys.
14kt gold (585 in Europe) is 58.5% gold with 41.5% alloys.
10kt gold (417 in Europe) is 41.7% gold with 58.3% alloys.
So if an ounce of pure gold is trading for $850, then an ounce of 10kt gold (typical class ring) would be trading at roughly $354.45 per ounce. Not many people have class rings that weigh an ounce, most jewelry is measured in grams and there are 31.1 grams in an ounce. Most refiners charge jewelry stores a fee to refine the gold - anywhere from 2% to 5%. The store owner wants to stay in business, plus he or she is taking a risk because the price of gold flucuates daily (sometimes hourly) so you can figure the store will want to make somewhere between 20% to 50%. (And even more in some cases - see below) So if your class ring weighs 7.8 grams you can expect to get around $60.92 for it - figuring 2% for the refiner and 30% for the store owner.
BE CAREFUL with your gold. I recently had a gentleman come in with 4 rings, 3 were 10kt and one was 14kt. He asked what I would pay him for them. I checked them, weighed them and got the current gold price and did my calculations. I told him I could pay $100.30 for the rings. He got a big smile and told me he had sent the same rings to someplace advertising on television and they sent him a check for $15.68!! He knew better and now so do you!