The price of gold jumped 20% since the beginning of 2011, more than 16 percent since the beginning of the month, and last week, hit $1,900 per ounce.
Consumers have many available outlets to sell their jewelry, including local jewelers, pawn shops, mail-away gold buyers and even gold parties at friends’ homes. The cash-in value however, varies between 20 and 60 percent of the market price. Some precious metals experts recommend negotiating a higher percentage – as much as ninety percent – rather than accepting a lower offer.
In 2010, BBBs received 574 complaints about gold and silver dealers, and more than 415 complaints so far this year. Complaints typically concern dissatisfaction with the amount offered for gold. Complaints about mail-away services allege delays in receiving a check, not getting gold items back when an offer is turned down and difficulties getting in touch with the business.
No matter where you choose to sell your gold, it’s important to know its value, as well as the reliability of the business you’re dealing with. There is a lot to learn in order to get the highest possible return for your jewelry:
Keep up with the price of gold - Know how much gold is going for on the day you sell. This will help you know whether you’re being offered a fair price. Understand that you won’t get the full price for your gold, because you’re selling to a dealer who then will re-sell the items to be melted down.
Determine the karat weight of your gold items - Jewelry and other items aren’t pure gold, but a mix of gold and other metals. The karat weight tells how much gold is in the item. Something marked 10K is about 42% gold; 14K is about 58% gold; 18K is about 75% gold and 24K is 99 percent pure. The more gold in the item, the more you will be offered for it. Do the math to determine what percentage of the market prices you are being offered. The karat value is usually stamped in an obscure place on the item.
Find a trustworthy appraiser - Consider getting a professional appraisal. You will have to pay for the service but gain important information. Some gold items might be worth more when sold as they are, rather than melted down. If that gold necklace or bracelet comes from a notable designer, it might have a value to some buyers beyond the precious metal it’s made of. Check out jewelry stores and other gold buyers with Better Business Bureau at http://www.ct.bbb.org. Comparing offers from more than one buyer will help you determine the market value for your item.
Don’t let jewelry of different karat value be weighed together - Some dealers will weigh all jewelry together and pay you for the lowest karat value. Separate your items by karat value before offering to sell.
Don’t give away your gems - Make sure the buyer returns any gems contained in the gold jewelry. Single gold stud earrings might be worth $5 or $10, yet diamonds in the earrings can be saved. Some are too small, and the labor to remove them might exceed their value, but engagement ring diamonds, for example, should be given a value separate from the gold.
Be careful when using a mail-away service - Make sure you understand all terms and conditions. Take photos of your jewelry and insure it before sending. Make a list of the items, keep a copy for yourself and put another in the envelope.
Find out how long it will take to receive an offer and your check, how many days you have to reject their offer and how long it will take to get your items back. Many companies melt down the jewelry in 10–14 days. If you return the check, send it “return receipt requested,” so you have proof when it arrived at the company.
For more helpful consumer information, visit http://ct.bbb.org/
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Founded in 1928, Connecticut BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. For more advice on finding companies and businesses, start your search with trust at www.bbb.org.