3 Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Jewelry

Customers come into Empire Loan with jewelry that they have paid big money for and are shocked to find out how much their jewelry is actually worth. People go to the big national chains in the malls that have special collections, or specially creations from some actress with a fancy, frilly name to capture their imagination. Others head into fancy upscale jewelry stores that claim to have been in business since the beginning of time. However, designer brands and fancy names don’t always translate to value.

Shopping for jewelry can be a very exciting experience, and gives you the opportunity to make a great investment by getting the best deal on your jewelry.

Be sure to follow these three steps when shopping or selling in order to get the most value for your dollar.

  1. Look at the karat- The higher the content of gold, the higher the karat. 24k gold is 99.9% pure gold, and is rarely used in jewelry because it is not durable. Most pieces are 10K (41.7%), 14K (58.5%) or 18K (75.0%) gold. Knowing the karat of the gold is crucial in determining the value.
  1. Look at the weight – A term you might hear when buying or selling jewelry is DWT. This means “pennyweight.” A pennyweight is equal to 1.555 grams, and there are 20 DWT to an ounce. The weight of your gold, silver, or platinum is important because when combined with the karat, it’s a clear indicator of value. This means a 14K gold chain that weighs 10 DWT (DWT = pennyweight) will cost more than one that weighs 9 DWT but less than one the weighs 11 DWT.
  1. Be objective – Though the new celebrity collection may seem glamorous, it will actually add very little value to the item. The only thing that matters from a value standpoint is the karat and weight of the piece. Looking at tangible factors like karat and weight will help you make a more timeless and secure investment.

Following these three tips will ensure that your jewelry is a good value.

At our 8 Empire Loan locations, you will pay what the jewelry is worth. We look at the karat, we look at the weight, and we look at the value the jewelry will hold over time.

The next time you’re tempted to buy the “Specially Designed Collection” or the “Celebrity Endorsed Open Arms Creation”, ask what the karat of the gold is and how much it weighs. Now compare that to what you find at any Empire Loan location. When it comes to buying or selling, make sure you get the best deal on jewelry by following these three simple steps.

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What the Falling Price of Gold means to you!

Within the past 5 years, the price of gold has been as high as $1,900 an ounce and as low as $1,061. When the price is high, you could sell your old jewelry for more money but it becomes harder to buy new gold jewelry because the price of that was higher too.

Empire Loan has been buying and lending money based on the price of gold since opening in Boston’s South End in 1985. As we enter the holiday shopping season (2014), the price of gold has been dropping, which means now is the time to buy at a store like Empire Loan. While Jewelry stores have higher margins and have paid more for their merchandise, Empire Loan has actually lowered the price of their gold jewelry meaning you CAN afford beautiful gold and diamond jewelry.

“In the past year and a half, the price of gold has dropped by over $400 an ounce” said Bob DeNutte, Sales Manager for Empire Loan. “This means we can sell the pieces we get for less, saving consumers 30, 40 and even 50% off our regular prices. And remember, our prices were a fraction of what most retailers were charging in the first place. Typically an item that we were selling for $500, most jewelry stores were selling for $1,000, $1,500 and even $2,000. Now with the falling price of gold, that same item at Empire Loan locations would be priced as low as $350”
National jewelry store chains and department stores pay more for their inventory and pass those costs onto consumers. Empire Loan pays less for their merchandise and passes those savings onto customers.

“Most customers who walk into an Empire Loan store look around and say it’s not what they expected and that’s what we hope for” said DeNutte from behind the counter of the Boston store at the corner of Washington and East Berkeley Street in the south End. “All I ask is that people take a look before they buy something elsewhere. You will not find better prices for this quality of merchandise anywhere and we stand behind that. If you’re not happy, come back and we’ll do what we can to make you happy”.
What do lower gold prices mean to you? Stop into Empire Loan and see for yourself.




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Got Gift Cards? Get Cash!

Cards for cash


Gift cards have grown to be one of the leading forms of gift giving over the past few years. Now the question is: what do you do with gift cards you don’t want? Empire Loan has an answer: Turn it into cash.

Gift cards have become an easy way to shop for anybody on your holiday list. Just pick up a gift card for a clothing store, restaurant or home improvement center and hand it over. No worries about correct sizes, colors or styles, just drop it in an envelope and hand it over. Many companies offer them as incentives to employees or as rewards to their faithful customers, friends and families exchange them back and forth, even the mailman and trash collector get them. But what if you are the recipient of an unwanted gift card? What can you do with these?



Empire Loan recently rolled out a program where people can sell their unwanted gift cards for instant cash. People simply walk into any Empire Loan location with the gift card and their ID and walk out with cash in hand. It’s that easy! Empire Loan is buying gift cards from over 650 merchants. From clothing and toy stores to restaurants and health spas, Empire Loan has literally helped hundreds of customers convert gift cards into cash.

In Massachusetts, gift cards don’t expire. This means if you have an old gift card you forgot about just sitting in your wallet or in the back of their sock drawer, you could potentially walk into any Empire Loan location and turn it into cash.

Since 1985, Empire Loan has been New England’s one stop money shop, and now Empire is your one stop gift card stop too!



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A Pawn Loan for a Debt Free Holiday Season

Every year during the holiday season, people struggle with how to create a happy holiday season without going into debt. The kids put together a wish list that keeps growing longer and more expensive every year. Trips home to visit family, or family vacations are a regular part of the season and there’s always the holiday parties you attend. The prices keep going up as consumers rang up $32.5 billion dollars in credit card debt last year according to NBC News.

Many consumers have turned to pawn loans as a way of avoiding this problem. Consumers take items such as gold jewelry and turn that into a cash loan that will let them cover their expenses for the holidays without incurring any debt. Here’s how it works:

A customer brings a gold chain into a pawn shop where the representative tests and weighs the chain to determine the assay or karat of the gold and its weight to determine how much they can borrow on the item. The pawn shop holds onto the item for up to 4 months until the customer returns with the money they were lent along with any interest or fees incurred. The length of time and interest is set by local authorities who license pawn shops.

The advantage to consumers with a pawn loan is there are no credit checks required, no background searches or waiting period for approvals. In most cases the only thing required of the consumer is a valid government issued ID. Even if the consumer defaults on the loan and the pawn shop forecloses on the item it does not affect the consumer’s credit report since the loan was secured by the item and pawn shops do not report to credit agencies.

Pawn shops like Empire Loan, with 8 locations in Boston, Providence, New Bedford, Worcester, Stoughton, Lowell and Lynn have been helping their customers make ends meet around the holidays with these fast cash, no hassle loans since 1985. “Customers call and tell us what they need the money for but it really doesn’t matter to us” said Empire President and CEO Michael Goldstein. “Since we opened we have had more people come in and tell us how we helped them get everything on their kids wish list, or afford a trip home to see family. In the end, we’re happy to help by lending them the money they need when they need it.”

Empire Loan offers pawn loans against the value of gold and diamond jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, tools or just about anything with a resale value.


Make this holiday season happy and debt free with a pawn loan from Empire Loan, and now with the Cashcam its never been easier!


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What’s Hot and What’s Not in the world of Game Consoles


Pawn shops are often known for taking in various electronics as collateral for loans, but electronics can also be the most challenging items to evaluate. The minute you buy a new TV, computer or sound system, there seems to be a newer model coming out that lowers the value of what you just purchased. Game consoles are the same way but surprisingly, the value of some game systems have actually remained strong.

Play Station 3: When Sony introduced the Play Station 4 (PS4), everybody predicted that prices were going to fall. Now, almost a year later, PS3’s are still selling strong on sites like EBay meaning pawn shops like Empire Loan would be offering loans for as much as $30 to $60 depending on the number of gigabytes, conditions and accessories or games.

Play Station 4: As of this writing, the new PS4’s from Sony are selling for anywhere from $350 to $600 depending on what is included. The average price seems to be right around $400 which means Empire Loan would be offering around $100 on a loan. At this time, that seems to be the game console that gets the largest loan.

Xbox 360: Microsoft’s game system, the Xbox 360 has not held its value as well as Sony’s Play Station has, selling for anywhere from $70 to $150 depending on condition, GB and accessories. This means we’d buy or loan as little as $20 but probably not much more than $30 or $40. , but could offer a loan for as much as $60 for the right system.

Personal Gaming Systems: Items such as the Nintendo DX-XL and Sony PS Vita are also popular items that customer have been able to get loans on for up to as much as $50 or $60. As with any electronic device, they must be in great working condition and come with all necessary accessories.
Finally: Why go to a pawn shop when game stores “buy’ items? Simple, Pawn shops like Empire Loan pay cash on the spot. Many gaming stores offer credits for in-store use only. Which would you prefer?

If you want to play, make a pawn shop like Empire Loan your first stop!


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Christmas Gold!


Christmas and Gold have gone together since the beginning of time. One of the three wise men brought Gold as a gift. Gold rings and necklaces have been given to men, women and children as “forever” keepsakes. Gold is the gift that lasts forever and ends up being passed down through the generations. It’s also become more expensive to give gold than ever before as gold prices have skyrocketed over the past 5 years. But all is not lost.

As the price of gold jewelry has gone up, there is one place you CAN afford beautiful one-of-a-kind gold jewelry: Empire Loan. Since 1985, Empire Loan has been buying and lending people money for their gold jewelry. This means that unlike traditional jewelers, Empire Loan has been paying less for gold jewelry than most retailers do. While department stores, national chain jewelry stores and individual retailers are paying big markups to manufacturers and wholesalers, Empire Loan gets the jewelry they sell directly from consumers based on the scrap value of the gold. This means Empire Loan buys jewelry for a fraction of the price these other jewelers pay. More importantly, that means you pay a fraction of the price other jewelry stores might charge too!

“I was shopping at the mall with my family one day and stopped into one of the better known national chain jewelry store chains just to see what they were charging and was amazed at how much they wanted for the same merchandise we sell” said Empire Loan Marketing Director Neal Perlstein. “They had silver rings for $200, $300 and $400, while our stores sell the same ring for as little as $30 or $40. When it came to gold it was ridiculous. Bracelets and chains that Empire Loan sells for $400-$500, they had on sale for over $2,500! It was literally shocking.”

“The inventory at each Empire Loan is unique and offers a wide range of choices at prices everyone can afford. We have customers who have been able to buy gold pendants and earrings for under $100, and others who have purchased big heavy chains and rings for a few thousand dollars. The one thing they all have in common is that those other retailers are charging people as much as 10X as much as Empire Loan does. I defy anybody to look at what we have to offer and not get a better price at Empire than they would anywhere else” said Empire Loan’s Perlstein.
You CAN afford gold jewelry at Empire Loan!


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What can I bring to Empire for a Fast Cash Pawn Loan in Massachusetts?


Empire Loan gets asked all the time: What can I pawn to get a fast cash pawn loan in Massachusetts? While most customers are bringing in gold and diamond jewelry as a way to get a fast cash loan, Empire also takes in a wide variety of other items. With 8 locations in New England, from Boston south to Providence, up north to the New Hampshire border in Lowell and out west to Worcester, plus other locations in between, Empire get a ton of calls.

When gold prices skyrocketed, people sold their old jewelry for cash. Now when they need a cash loan a pawn shop can get them the cash they need without having sell the item. Because they may have already sold their gold, they now need to find something else to provide as collateral for a loan. Pawn shops like Empire Loan will lend cash on just about anything with a resale value. Electronics like laptops and flat screen TV’s are just a few examples of items pawn shops take in. digital cameras, musical instruments and even smartphones can be pawned for quick cash, but what else can be provided for collateral? Here are some of the more unique items Empire Loan has taken in over just the past few months:

One customer brought in a Lego Star Wars set that was still in the box and featured a huge Star Wars Destroyer they were able to get a loan on. Another customer brought in a set of 4 high end steak knives they were able to get a loan on. These were valued at $300. One Empire Loan location even did a loan on a set of off-road tires and wheels for a truck that they were able to get a cash loan for. These items along with artwork, antiques and even a computer network server are all items Empire Loan has taken in for a loan recently. Empire Loan staffers speak to customers about their items and try to find a way to offer them a loan based on the used retail value of the item.

What can you pawn for a fast cash loan? At Empire Loan, just about anything!

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Most Pawn Shops in Boston Charge Seniors. At Empire Loan, Seniors Pay No Fees!

pawn shops in ma

Empire Loan just may be the only pawn shop in New England, if not the country, that does not

charge senior citizens any fees whatsoever! That’s right, the one chain of pawn shops in Boston

and throughout New England that believes in polite and professional service, the one that

believes in complete transparency and will explain every step of the process from appraisal to

terms and policies does not charge those over 65 any additional fees. No appraisal fees. No lost

ticket fees. No photo fees, closing fees, storage fees, nothing. Just pay the interest and you’re

all set.


Founded in 1985, Empire Loan provides collateral-based loans at 8 locations in Boston,

Providence (No. Main St. and Broad St.), New Bedford, Worcester, Stoughton, Lowell and Lynn.

Early on, we decided that senior citizens deserve special treatment. We decided that it would

be Empire Loan’s policy to not charge seniors any of the fees that regular customers pay, and

certainly not the fees often charged by other pawn shops.


To ensure that this policy would be implemented consistently at all of our locations, Empire

Loan set up a system where the computer system automatically identifies those customers who

qualify and provides the fee waiver benefit based on the customers date of birth. We’ve made

it easy for seniors. It’s automatic. There’s nothing to sign up for, and no need to even ask for

the discount. As Empire Loan owner Michael Goldstein likes to say; “It’s That Easy!”


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Empire Loan’s Two Pawn Shops in Providence Can Help You Accessorize your Accessories!

Pawn Shops in ProvidenceWe all know that clothing accessories are a great way to enhance a wardrobe and get more fashion mileage out of a single piece. The perfect belt or scarf, for instance can completely change an outfit – taking it from great to Wow! But did you know you can extend your wardrobe even further with your jewelry!? That’s right. A great piece of jewelry can be used to accessorize your accessories! Empire Loan’s two pawn shops in Providence have great ideas.

Take, for example, the beautiful 14 karat yellow gold omega link necklace that Empire Loan’s Broad Street Providence store recently posted a picture of, showing 3 different ways to wear it. Simply switching the slide pendants creates multiple options with this beautiful single piece. The different pendants allow you to tailor the necklace to compliment a  particular outfit or mood, and extend your jewelry collection. With a diamond accented heart, the piece can be fun and romantic. Pair it with the sapphire accented infinity design and it can be more of a fashion statement that coordinates with the color of your outfit.

Swapping pendants from one chain to another is the simplest way of changing a look, but using a ring, bracelet or pin as a pendant can further stretch your jewelry wardrobe and offer you a variety of looks. And don’t forget pins paired with colorful scarves. They’re a versatile jewelry accessory that can add a touch of class to any outfit. Or how about a ring with a scarf?  People don’t tend to think of using a ring as an accent for a scarf, but try it! It’s another way to extend and dress up your wardrobe.

Everyone knows that accessories make the outfit. Now you know how jewelry can be used to take it one step further – to accessorize your accessories. Check out all your jewelry fashion options at Empire Loan’s two pawn shops in Providence, and our other 6  locations.

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Choosing the Right Engagement Ring at the Right Price

newringEngagement rings are the ultimate sign of commitment between a couple indicating their intention to marry. It can also be a huge financial commitment with some couples spending thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars on a ring. Couples often worry about the 3 C’s of the diamond, (Cut, Color, Clarity) or what store it was bought at. Here are 5 things to consider before buying an engagement ring:

1)      Compare Apples to Apples: To the naked eye, two diamond rings may look identical but they could easily be significantly different sizes to the untrained eye. The difference between a one carat diamond and a ¾ carat or .75ct stone can be imperceptible. That small difference however can make a big difference in the price you will pay. Will the jeweler provide you with a receipt that shows a detailed description of  what you are buying? This should be applied to major national chains as well as the corner jewelry store. It’s one way to prove value to an insurance company too.

2)      On a Clear Day: The clarity of diamonds are graded according to the extent of imperfections in the stone. Virtually all diamonds have some inclusions or imperfections but  the grading determines if it is Very Very Slight (VVS), Very Slight (VS), Slightly Included (SI), or Included (I). We often hear customer says they have “paperwork” but this is often nothing more than the opinion of the same jeweler who sold you the ring, not exactly the most objective analysis. The one organization that grades diamonds and is considered to be the industry standard is GIA or the Gemological Institute of America. Anything else is more of a guide.

3)      Color Me Beautiful: The color of a diamond is judged on a letter scale that goes roughly from  D to M. There are other colors below that but clever marketing promotes those as Chocolate or Champagne Diamonds. Sounds good, but it is essentially a “dirty” diamond. Diamonds should actually be colorless. To determine the color, gemologists will use a series of Cubic Zirconia to compare the diamond to. If the stone is clear and bright, it will be graded as a higher letter.

4)      Cut like a knife: The cut of a diamond is often more of a style choice than anything. The most common, and often most complementary cut  for a diamond is RBC or Round Brilliant Cut. Many believe this best reflects the light which gives a diamond its brilliance. Other cuts include Pear, Marquis, Emerald, Princess Cut and even Heart shaped stones are just some of the cuts of diamonds that are available. Beware though that these specialty cuts usually do not carry the same value as a round cut diamond of the same size and grade.

5)      My Mama told me, you better shop around: Before you buy, go look at all of the stores and what they have to offer. High end jewelers may have the better graded stones and settings but you will pay an astronomical premium to purchase it from them. This is still a great place to get ideas of what you want. Take notes or even pictures to refer back to later.  When it comes to national chains, you may believe their buying power can save you money and that they have a great reputation, but that also comes at a price. We have found their prices to be more than double or even triple what we charge. After you make the rounds and make note of what you want, visit Empire Loan at one of our 8 convenient locations where you will pay anywhere from half to one quarter of what these other stores are offering you.

Planning to get married and want an engagement ring? Try following these steps and you may save enough money for a down payment on a house. It’s that easy!

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