Many people have old gold jewelry lying around the house, like a high school class ring or a broken necklace chain. With the tough economy, it may be beneficial to sell some of these old pieces in order to make some extra money. It may seem simple enough to head over to your local pawn shop and walk out with cash, but it is important to know how to handle the situation if you want to make sure you are getting a fair deal.

If you are not a gold expert, but you also don't want to run all over town getting different opinions, you can protect yourself against someone taking advantage of you by asking the right questions when selling your gold. The Roanoke Times notes that the first step you should take is calling the dealers in your area and asking if they are licensed and if their scales have been tested and approved.

Next, discuss the current per-gram price that each dealer is offering. Because the price of gold varies on a day-to-day basis, different dealers may be paying different amounts for gold. Be sure to tell the dealer what the purity--or karat--of your gold is, as that will also have a large impact on the worth of your piece.

Consider asking the buyer if he or she can give you a quote over the phone. If dealers are willing to provide quotes over the phone, you may be able to shop around more before you are face to to face with a dealer and possibly feel more pressured to sell.

Both your gold and your time are precious, so make sure to do your research and ask the right questions when selling your gold items. This way, you can walk away with the money and the satisfaction of knowing you got a good deal.