Pawning in Providence

Pawn Shop in ProvidencePawning in Providence

Times have changed at pawn shops in Providence. At Empire Loan on Broad St. and North Main St. in Providence the majority of customers still come in and get cash loans for their gold and diamond jewelry but over the past year or so, more and more customers have gotten cash for tools, cash for electronics and in particular, cash for guitars and musical instruments.

The two Empire Loan stores in Providence are very different; Broad St. is Empire’s original Providence store having opened in 1989. It’s smaller and as a result does not have the space to store some of these larger items. Empire’s North Main St. location is much larger and has an added benefit; that store is connected to Empire Guitars, a large old school guitar store that features dozens of amps, pedals and accessories along with an amazing collection of guitars that range from entry level acoustic guitars to classic and collectible guitars that are valued at tens of thousands of dollars. This means they have experts on site that are able to assess and appraise your instrument and get you the most cash for your gear.

When it comes to electronics, Empire Loan in Providence will appraise whatever you have and based on a percentage of what the items sell for used, they can offer you cash buys and loans that will help you when you need it most. Some of the electronics people are pawning in Rhode Island include flat screen TV’s, laptops, smart phones, digital cameras and tablets. Many of today’s hottest gadgets can get people the cash they need with a pawn loan from Empire.

Getting cash for tools in Providence has been a growth category too. Through the years, homeowners have taken on more and more do-it-yourself projects and they have the tools to get the job done right. Instead of letting it just sit on the shelf in the garage collecting dust, Empire Loan is finding more and more customer coming in with those tools to get cash. Drills, sanders, circular saws and more can be converted into a fast cash loan at Empire Loan’s North Main St. location.

Empire Loan in Providence can get you cash for tools, cash for electronics, cash for guitars and cash for all the things you need cash for.

Get April’s Birthstone at Our Providence Pawn Shops

April Birthstone: Diamond

The birthstone for the month of April is diamond. Quite simply, diamonds are some of the most prized gemstones and represent many things to many people: love & commitment, prosperity & class, bling & flash. Anybody with the diamond as their birthstone would most likely appreciate any type of jewelry but it’s important to know how to select the right one. Mostly referred to as the “4 C’s”, here’s how diamonds are graded and rated

Cut: The cut of the diamond is simply the shape of the stone and the number and quality of the facets. The most widely used shape is the round brilliant cut which highlights the facets and cuts of the stone better than most. That’s because diamonds are cut to allow light in and then reflect outward, creating a sparkling appearance. There are many other shapes with their own unique qualities; emerald cut,  princess, marquis, heart shaped, pear and even triangle shaped diamonds referred to as trillion. While round brilliant cuts are the most popular, an expert diamond cutter can use their skills to highlight the best aspects of each individual stone and mask or hide the diamonds imperfections.

Diamonds Pawn Shop in Providence

Color: A better way to think of the color of a diamond may be to describe it as lack of color since diamonds should really be transparent or colorless. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the foremost authority of gemstones, uses a D-to-Z diamond color-grading system that measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a stone under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to determine the stones color. This is one of the most difficult things for a consumer to determine without some knowledge of what they may be looking at, but any diamond in the colorless to nearly colorless category is considered to be a more desirable stone.

Diamond Scale Pawn Shops in Providence

Clarity: Diamonds are created after thousands of years underground, essentially from carbon. This means they often have imperfections in the stone such as carbon spots, bubbles and other imperfections that may not be visible to the naked eye, but are referred to as inclusions. Professionals will use a 10X magnification loupe and even a microscope at times to locate and plot these flaws.  The GIA grades diamonds on a scale that starts at Flawless/Internally Flawless where even under a microscope, there are no visible signs of imperfections. From there, the scale moves to VVS 1 or 2 (which stands for Very Very Slight Inclusion) where under a microscope there may be slightly visible imperfections, to VS 1 or 2 (Very Slight Inclusion) where under 10X magnification, there may be some slightly visible inclusions, to SI 1, 2 or 3 (Slight Included) where under 10X there will be visible imperfections that may also be visible to the naked eye. Finally the chart goes to I 1, 2 or 3 (Included) where the imperfections are multiple and visible to the naked eye. As the chart indicates, with each step down the scale, the imperfections in the stone become more visible and the value of the diamond goes down as well.

Diamonds Pawn Shop in Providence

Carat: The Carat weight of a diamond is different than the Karat or fineness of gold and represents the “size” or weight of a diamond or gemstone. While a diamond needs to be removed from its setting in order to determine its exact weight, many professionals are able to fairly accurately gauge the size of a diamond or gemstone based on the size of the stone as measured in millimeters (mm). Diamonds carat is expressed in points and carats with 100 points equaling 1 carat. So a ¼ carat diamond is actually 25 points or .25CT while a ½ carat diamond is 50 points or .50CT and so on. You may also hear the term “total carat weight” or CTTW. This involves combining the carat weight of several diamonds in one setting and totaling their individual weight. For example, a diamond wedding band with 4 stones that are each a quarter of a carat or .25CT each will add up to one carat or 1.0CTTW. Remember though, the value of one 1.0CT diamond is much more valuable than 4smaller diamonds that total 1.0CTTW.

Always remember the 4 C’s and you’ll be shining in the glow of April’s birthstone.



What Can I Pawn?

What can I pawn?

Need cash from a pawn shop and don’t know if what you have will get you what you need? Here’s a quick list of what a pawn shop like Empire Loan takes:

Gold & Diamond jewelry (and platinum too): Empire Loan offers cash loans based on the scrap value of gold and platinum jewelry and a small percentage of the wholesale value of any diamonds. The expert staff at Empire will be able to test and weigh your items and determine what they can offer you in the form of a loan or a buy. You may be surprised at how much your plain gold wedding band might be worth.

Flat Screen TV’s: The world of TV’s keeps changing so Empire Loan uses websites like eBay and Amazon to determine what a particular model of TV is selling for used and will offer a percentage of that for a buy or a loan. If you bought your TV within the past year for around $1,000 new, it might be selling for half that amount used now. Empire Loan would offer you between 20% and 30% of that used resale value for a buy or a loan based on things like condition, if you have the original remote and which particular brand it is.

Smart Phone: Empire Loan offers buys and loans on the used resale value of smartphones too. Based on the brand, model number, features and condition, Empire Loan looks at which wireless company the phone is tied to as well as making sure no money is owed. Once everything checks out, Empire will offer you a cash loan based on a percentage of the used resale value of the phone.

Miscellaneous Electronics: Empire Loan can help you turn your electronics into a cash loan. Electronics like laptops, tablets digital cameras game systems, just about any current device that is in good working condition and has a strong resale value can get you a cash loan based on a percentage of the used resale selling price on websites like eBay and Amazon.

Tools: Empire Loan does offer buys and loans on tools of all kinds.  From hand tools like wrenches, ratchets and sets of screw drivers from high end manufacturers like Snap On, Klein, Craftsman and others are items Empire may make offers on, again,  based on a percentage of what they are selling for used online. The same thing applies to power tools like drills, impact drivers, saws and others.  As long as the tools are in good working condition, Empire Loan will make offers based on a percentage of what they sell for used on respected websites.

Musical Instruments: The most popular instrument to get a loan from a pawn shop on is an acoustic or electric guitar. As always, the amount you can borrow is based on the particular make and model instrument you have, with American made guitars usually being the most valuable ones. Condition is extremely important and we do require that you have a case in order for us to be able to store your guitar safely. One unique requirement that Empire Loan owner Michael Goldstein has asked is that you know how to play it. The purpose of this is to show that it works properly but it also indicates ownership. Empire Loan also offers loans on saxophones, trumpets, amplifiers, keyboards and a wide range of musical instruments.

What do you have? During over 30 years of business, Empire Loan has offered loans from as little as $26 to over $26,000. Customers have brought in: Specialized tools, high car rims, DJ equipment, collectables, golf clubs and even a horse saddle. Our staff is trained to appraise a wide variety of items that our customers look to get fast cash for. Have a question? Give Empire Loan a call and we’d be happy to answer it for you.

At Empire Loan, it’s that easy!

Pawn Your TV at Empire Loan

Chances are you went out and bought a large flat screen TV to grace your home, and you spent big bucks for it at one of those big box retailers. If you want to turn it into a fast cash loan, or sell it to get yourself a newer model, Empire Loan may be just the place to do that. Here’s how:

Empire Loan offers customers cash loans and purchases of their old flat screen TV’s based on a percentage of their second hand selling price on websites like eBay and Amazon. Simply call your local Empire Loan store with the brand and model number of the TV you have and our staff can usually let you know right over the phone what they might be able to offer you. They’ll look it up on line and if they find that it recently sold used for $500, Empire could buy it or offer you a loan of $100 to $150 or more based on what you have with it and what condition it is in. This could be a great start on paying for your new TV!

Recently we had a customer bring in his TV to get a loan so he would have the cash to buy one that was selling at a deep discount during one big box retailer’s Black Friday sale. After he bought the new TV he returned just after the holidays and picked up his original TV.

If you’re in the market for a new TV and just need to make space, Empire may buy your old TV for cash based on condition and what it’s selling for second hand. Either way, you win.

When you bring your TV into one of Empire’s stores the staff will check it out and see how much they can offer you. You walk out with cash and Empire safely and securely stores your TV until you come back. It’s that easy.

One more thing: If you are looking to buy a  new TV, Empire Loan is the place to go. All of the TV’s that are brought in are held for a short period of time, cleaned up and tested and then put out for sale at a fraction of the prices charged by those big box retailers. From a 15” table top TV on us to 60” or more, Empire Loan has a constant flow of flat screen TV’s to choose from. But one piece of advice for you is; if you like what you see, buy it because it won’t be around for long.

March Birthstone: Aquamarine

empire2The birthstone for March is the Aquamarine, a pale blue stone that takes its name from the Latin for “Aqua” meaning water and “Marina” for the sea, literally translating to seawater. The color of the Aquamarine is reminiscent of the coral seas of the Caribbean or Mediterranean and was thought to protect sailors and guarantee a safe voyage. Mined mostly in Brazil, Aquamarine’s greenish blue color and hardness mean that it is an ideal for jewelry making as it can stand up to the heat it takes to create jewelry. The largest Aquamarine ever mined was discovered in 1910 in Brazil and weighed in at 110kg and was 19 inches long and 17 inches in diameter. These beautiful and sophisticated birthstones make formal evening wear extravagant as it reflects the light with its sparkle.


What’s Hot For Valentines Day?

What’s Hot for Valentine’s Day

Jewlery ValeninesValentine’s Day is the one day each year when people express their love for others. Having grown well beyond just couples to include love for family and friends, young and old, Valentine’s Day has grown in spending too.

It’s estimated that in the US, around $19 Billion (that’s billion with a capital “B”) will be spent on Valentine’s Day gifts. Over $50 million will be spent on flowers, with nearly the same amount being spent on jewelry. Consumers run around trying to find the perfect gift to say “I Love You” (or at least “I Like You”) with Jewelry being the most lasting of gifts.

What’s most popular? It’s clear that diamonds are a girl’s best friend from the top internet searches. Start with Diamond Earrings, the most searched jewelry item on the internet for Valentine’s Day. This may be the perfect gift for your sweetheart when you’re not asking them to marry you. The next 3 top searches are engagement rings followed by “chocolate” diamonds (advertising clearly works) and Princess Cut Engagement rings. These next 3 are for those who didn’t go for the diamond earrings.

Some of the other top searches and choices for Valentine’s day gift giving include charm bracelets which can be customized to the individual receiving them, but also provide fresh ideas for future giving as you can add one or two charms on any special occasion. “Designer” bracelets like “Alex and Ani” are also popular choices, even without the lasting impression gold and silver jewelry provides.

Want to know what to give your loved one this Valentine’s day? Search history shows, jewelry is the way to your loved one’s heart.

Amethyst: February’s Birthstone

February Birthstone: AmethystAmethyst February gift

Each month of the calendar is represented by a different birthstone that has cultural, historical, religious and sometimes even mythical significance. The month of February is represented by Amethyst, a purple colored quartz gem that radiates from a violet to a deeper purple reddish hue. In ancient Greece it was thought to ward off Bacchus, the Greco/Roman God of the grape harvest (note the purple color connection to wine). Even the name Amethyst actually comes from the Greek word for intoxicated.  It was said that the Amethyst would keep the wearer clear headed and quick witted. During the middle ages, English royalty often used the Amethyst as part of their clothing and jewelry to represent their position in society. Amethyst is found all over the world but the finer specimens were often found in Russia but today much of it is found in Brazil and Zambia.

For those February birthday’s on your list, Amethyst jewelry could be the perfect gift.

Get a Clue as to what Gold Jewelry to Buy

Customers walk into Empire Loan stores every day to buy a special gift for someone; friend, family, future or present spouse and always shrug their shoulders about what to buy. If you’re not planning to ask them to marry you or know what size they take, avoid a ring. Do they like large hoop earrings or tiny studs? Do they wear bracelets or not? Do they have allergies to certain metals (truth be told, I was married for 23 years before I found out my wife couldn’t wear white gold earrings. By pure coincidence I had always bought her yellow gold). These are just a few of the things you should get a clue about before shopping.

After establishing some of these points, here are 3 things that may provide a clue as to what you can get somebody.

  • Hey Baby, what’s your sign?
    • More than just a pick up line from the 70’s, buying something that references a person’s astrological sign may give you some ideas about what to look for. You can certainly buy something that boldly says “AQUARIUS” in big letters or has a picture of a man carrying a bucket or pitcher of water, but maybe instead get a pendant of a pitcher of water to represent it. This is a much more subtle way of indicating you gave some thought to the gift and remembered when their birthday was. It also allows them to explain the significance to those that take the time to ask where they received that lovely gift.
  • Birthstones
    • January babies are garnets. February is amethyst while March is aquamarine. Customers may not be sure what sign their gift recipient is or what their exact birthday is, but they can usually narrow it down to what month they were born in. Each month has its own unique birthstone that can help narrow the choice of gifts. Looking for something with an emerald in it for somebody whose birthday falls in the month of May can make it simpler to select the perfect gift. Again, showing that you thought enough to get them a gift that represents their birth month makes your present even more special.
  • Earrings
    • Rings, chains and bracelets are 3 jewelry items that have a “size”. This means when you buy somebody a ring it may not fit properly. A chain or necklace could be too long or short and a bracelet could be too large or too tight. Earrings on the other hand are a one size fits all gift that work for just about anybody. Hoops for somebody who usually wears studs can be looked at as the gift for when they dress up, dangling earrings could be for special occasions while studs can be worn every day. When I have a customer stuck on what to get, I show them earrings.


What works best for the special person you’re shopping for? Follow these three rules and you’ll be able to make the right choice.

Get Cash For Your Unwanted Gift Cards!

Cash for Gift cardsThe holidays are done and the presents and decorations are packed away. Now what do you do with the gift cards you’ll never use? Bring them to Empire Loan and turn them into cash!

Empire Loan buys gift cards from over 650 merchants and pays cash on the spot. No machines to fuss with, no sharing credit card or bank account information, just bring in your gift cards along with your ID and you walk out with cash in your pocket.

One customer came in with over $200 worth of Dunkin Donuts gift cards he had received over the holidays from his customers (he was a trash collector) and while he appreciated the thought, he doesn’t drink coffee!  Another customer received a gift certificate to a high end department store where the $50 gift card he received might get him a pair of socks. One customer even came in with a gift card for a restaurant chain that doesn’t even have locations in New England. In each case, Empire Loan paid them cash for their unwanted gift cards.

Gift cards became a popular holiday gift for family, friends and service providers when you couldn’t figure out what to give them for the holidays. A gift card would let them shop for themselves and get the right size or color item. Unfortunately, you can’t please everybody. Instead of letting it sit in your wallet or purse and take up space, bring your unwanted gift cards into any of Empire Loan’s 8 locations in Boston, Providence, New Bedford, Worcester, Stoughton, Lowell or Lynn along with your ID and you could be walking out with cash.

Some retailers are offering to buy your gift cards from their competitors in exchange for gift cards to their stores. Others are offering store credits to their stores for gift cards to their competitors. If you didn’t want a gift card for their store, why would you necessarily want one from a store that basically sells the same things?

The advantage to getting cash for your gift cards is that you get CASH that you can spend anywhere you want to get just what you want.

Once again, Empire Loan makes it easy!

Empire Loan Will Sell, Loan and Buy Tools!

Sell ToolsAs New England’s leading pawn shop, Empire Loan can show you how to get cash and great deals on top of the line tools! If you have new tools and want to turn your veteran tools into cash, Empire Loan will buy tools for cash. If you just want to get a loan on your tools to help you get to your next payday, Empire can give you a cash loan for them. Last but not least, if you’re looking to get a good deal on tools, any of Empire Loan’s 8 stores is where you should start your search.

Empire Loan offers buys and loans on gently used hand and power tools and offers great deals when we get to offer them up for sale.

Power Tools: Drills, nail guns, circular saws, compressors and more, are all tools that Empire Loan pays cash for. If you just got a new power drill as a gift, this may be the time to convert your old drill into the cash you want. If you just need to borrow a little cash against the value of your tools but want to keep them for future use, Empire Loan could be the place for you. Tools from manufacturers like Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Porter Cable and others are all top quality and respected companies that make tools that could put cash in your pocket.

Hand Tools: Ask any handyman what they value and you’ll hear about a particular set of wrenches or ratchets that they can’t live without. But when it comes to different specialties, different tool manufacturers come to the top. Automotive tool manufacturers like Snap-On and Matco are at the top of the auto mechanics wish list while electrical brands like Klein and Greenlee or plumbing brands like Channellock and Proto are at the top of their fields. The important thing is that when they are kept in good working, order they may be able to get you the cash that you need.

Sell tools in BostonBuy: If you’re looking to buy tools to get the job done, Empire Loan is the first place to check for great deals on the best in the world.

Sell: If you’re looking to sell your tools for fast cash, Empire Loan will pay you on the spot so you don’t have to worry about trying to sell them online or to a friend or associate.

Loan: When you don’t want to sell your tools but need some cash to help make ends meet, Empire Loan will lend you cash and hold your tools until you get caught up.

Empire Loan can help you with your tool needs!