A slew of ads out there offer to pay big bucks for your unwanted gold pieces – your high school ring, broken chains and yes, those solitary earrings. So what do you do? How do you know that you’re getting a fair price for your treasures?
According to the Better Business Bureau, there are several factors to consider before sending your gold or silver to a late-night advertiser or to a mail-in cash-for-gold company. Just read the list of complaints filed against such companies on www.bbb.org.
If you decide to sell gold, silver or jewelry with stones, consider the following guidelines:
Don’t be misled by that fact that gold currently hovers at around $1,600 per ounce. Gold prices fluctuate daily. The price is determined by karats, 24 being the highest. Most personal jewelry contains either 14 or 18 karats. Your 1-ounce, 14-karat gold item currently garners around 58 percent of $1,600 – about $928.
The dealer also factors in his own profit, which is where your homework begins. Buyers offer somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of that $928, so when the dust settles, you can expect $550 to $750 for your ounce of gold bling.
Selling unusable jewelry or that silver set that never gets used because it’s a pain to polish isn’t a bad idea. But shop around. In addition to checking the Better Business Bureau site, get a quote from a few dealers in person or online. Always compare apples with apples. Be wary of dealers who tell you to ship your valuables to them and they’ll send you the cash. Since most mail-in companies won’t give you a firm price before weighing your item, make sure they’ll return it if you’re not satisfied.
When you visit a store that buys gold, get your evaluation, say thanks and leave. Visit at least two others for comparison; you might be surprised at the difference. Start or finish your inquiry at your favorite local jeweler, someone with an established reputation – not the late-night cable guy who screams that he’s got “the best deal in town!” What town is that, anyway?
Gold-buying parties – featuring an evening with friends, a glass of wine and snacks – are also an option. The host will tell you the price per ounce, weigh the item in front of you and give you the money. But research prices before. Make sure each item is weighed separately. You don’t want the return on your high-karat items reduced by your low-karat items.
Selling items of no sentimental value, that you’ll never wear again or leave to a loved one is a smart move. Check the price of gold each day, make an intelligent choice and use that cash to enjoy something that won’t sit lonely in your dusty jewelry box.
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail email@example.com.