American Jewelry and Loan is owned by Les Gold, a 62-year-old man who is the son of a pawnbroker who once owned Sam's Loans, a now-defunct pawnshop on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Les first opened American Jewelry at the Green Eight Shopping Center on 8 Mile Road in Oak Park in 1978, moving to its present location in 1993.
In 2011, American Jewelry expanded to its second location when it acquired Premier Jewelry and Loan in Pontiac; the new location was featured in the first few episodes of Hardcore Pawn's fifth season and in two episodes of the sixth season, where Seth deliberates selling the Pontiac location behind Les's back.
Les's only son, Seth, a graduate of the University of Michigan who initially pursued a career in medicine before joining the family business, is the general manager, Les's business partner, and handles the shop's marketing. Seth claims that if it wasn't for him, the shop's only marketing would be "an ad in the Yellow Pages". The co-manager is Les's daughter, Ashley (a college graduate from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in business administration and a graduate diamond certification from the Gemological Institute of America), who, as the series debuted, returned to the shop after taking some time off for maternity leave. The sibling rivalry between her and Seth is a common element of many episodes.
- Berserk Button: While they may have their disagreements, don't threaten the store, talk down about the city of Detroit, or either Ashley or Les. That is the one thing that is guaranteed to have you thrown out the store, by both Ashley and Seth at the same time if needed. Les reacts more to the threats than Ashley or Seth do though.
- Bad Ass: Les, Seth, and Rich
- Badass Beard: Rich
- Cluster F-Bomb: Hardly an episode goes by that a dissatisfied customer doesn't drop one of those (and ends up getting escorted out of the store for his or her pains).
- Cool Old Guy: Les.
- Easily Forgiven: Ashley spends an entire episode with a serious attitude insulting both customers and her family, sometimes going out of her way to do so, and cost pretty much every sale in the episode. What she does would have gotten anyone fired, family or not. Why did she do it? Because it was her birthday and no one wished her a Happy Birthday. It was then revealed that they did not forget and there was a surprise party set up for her. The end of the episode treats it as if all was forgiven despite how out of control she acted. It isn't surprising that some might accuse the show of being a Kayfabe after seeing this.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Quite a few customers qualify. Sometimes, Ashley counts.
- Jerk Ass: A lot of the customers.
- Seth also counts on certain occasions.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After the shop's chief of security is caught repeatedly stealing from the shop, Seth insists on searching all the employees when they leave that evening. The following day, much of the staff calls out sick in protest, leaving the shop extremely short-handed.
- Papa Wolf: After one customer made lewd comments about Ashley, Les wasn't too pleased with him.
- Sibling Rivalry: Seth and Ashley.
- Voice Of Reason: It usually fluctuates between Les, Seth and Ashley over who's fighting who with the odd one out having to play the peacekeeper.