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Thursday, March 4, 2010


I've decided to share with you one of my recent, almost unsettling experiences with gold jewelry. What I've copied and pasted below is from a blog post I wrote for RUBY LANE. If you don't follow that blog, you may never read this piece that I think is of interest to anyone thinking of attending those currently popular "gold parties" or who've recently discovered lots of gold jewelry sitting in their drawers that they're no longer wearing and are thinking "why not turn it into cash"? Well, why not indeed if you're no longer wearing it or in love with it. But is selling it off at gold parties or taking it to a refiner the way to get the most for your gold jewelry? Read on!

As a seller of fine jewelry on Ruby Lane, I'm rather appalled at how people are now flocking to those gold jewelry "parties" carrying their rings, bracelets, necklaces, even gorgeous 18k gold pieces left to them by a mother or grandma, only to sell them for well, peanut money. Whatever happened to the value, in our eyes, of precious metal jewelry? After all, gold, silver and platinum values have never been higher but it seems only stock investors appreciate that.
I recently acquired the magnificent 18k gold bracelet shown below:
This bracelet was passed on to the lady who sold it to me by her mother. Mom had received it from dad when they were on a trip to Spain over 50 years ago. The workmanship and beauty of this bracelet is second to none. My friend had originally asked to sell it on consignment in our shop. If I didn't want to try to sell it for her, she'd take it to a gold refiner as this just wasn't her kind of jewelry and she'd never wear it. She didn't really need the money but it was just sitting around in her drawer, as is the case, I guess with a lot of the ladies attending these parties.
Well, though it cost me a small fortune to take it off her hands, I couldn't stand the thought of her taking it to a refiner to just melt down. I purchased it outright from her and then decided to get it appraised, just for the heck of it. After all, it weighs nearly 87 grams of 18k gold ( a gold refiner's dream!) and its vintage design had to be worth something, didn't it? Well it was. To my delight, the bracelet was appraised over $9000. Whatever I decided to do with it in the future i.e. offer it in our shop or keep it in my safe, or pass it on to my children, this was a good investment ... at least in my humble opinion.
Then an ad in the paper this past weekend caught my eye: the jewelry refinery was coming to town and would be at the local Courtyard Marriott for a few hours on Sunday. "Bring in your unwanted gold and turn it into cash" shouted the ad. I got curious. These were the same people behind all the gold jewelry parties. What would they offer me for this heirloom bracelet with so much gold in it? I decided to find out. 
My husband and I were the only ones there by the time we arrived. No-one, including the buyer, was in the designated room. We were just about to leave when he dashed toward us blowing cigarette breath in our faces and asked what we had for him. I pulled out the bracelet. His face registered nothing in particular. He grabbed a magnet. Though I knew what he was doing, I played dumb and asked why he was touching the magnet to the bracelet in various spots. This was, of course, to test if there was other metal underneath, as would be the case in gold plate. The magnet didn't grab. He gave me the good news: it was indeed gold. Good. He then said he'd have to acid-test it to check the karat. "Would that damage it"? I asked. He said 'most likely". Well of course, I wasn't wanting that, not on a piece in nearly unused condition! So I asked him what karat he thought it was. He said, by color, it looked like 18k. Well I'll grant him that much: he knew enough about gold to gauge it simply by looking at it. He then weighed it and verified it was indeed 86 - 87 grams and said if it's 18k, it's worth a lot. I held my breath. How much? He told me he'd give me $1000 if it tested at 18k.
$1000!! Wow. If I didn't know better, I'd have been thrilled. But I also knew what I'd paid (a heck of a lot more) and what the spot price of gold was right that minute: 87 grams of 18k was worth $2118 CAD just as gold. He was offering me $1000 CAD to take it off my hands so he could sell it to a refiner to melt down.
He didn't have to ask whether I wanted him to proceed with the test. In fact, what he did next actually surprised us and turned this into a positive experience: he told us not to sell it to him! He confirmed what I'd felt all along: this was too beautiful and valuable an heirloom to condemn to the smelting pot. He suggested we put it back in the safe or at least find a private buyer who wanted it not just for its precious metal content but for its vintage and unique beauty. In effect, he confirmed that the lady who sold it to me did the smart thing: she'd found a buyer (me) who appreciated it and would pay what it was worth instead of selling it to a gold refiner.
He then pulled out several plastic baggies marked 10k, 14k, 18k and 22k. They were full of discarded gold chains, diamond and gemstone rings, some still with the stones in them. "This" he said "is the kind of thing we don't mind melting down". What about the diamonds and gemstones in them? What happens to those? Well they have folks they can sell those to as well he said.
We walked out of there with a good feeling, mixed with some bad. The good came from his being honest enough to tell us not to sell the bracelet to him for $1000. The bad was the fact that he'd offered us 50% of the spot value of 87 grams of gold! Furthermore, his offer was about 1/10 of the appraised value. How "unprecious" had precious metals become!
I wanted to share this experience with you in case you're considering attending one of those gold parties or looking for a refiner to unload that precious gold jewelry kicking around your drawer. Yes, it's appealing to get fast money, especially if you need it. But you might just consider selling it yourself or asking someone who sells on Ruby Lane, like us, or eBay or any of those other sites if they'd like to have a crack at selling it for you. Or maybe, as I did, they might even want to buy it from you. One thing is certain: they'll give you a better dollar than any jewelry refiner or gold party buyer will offer you because there are still some of us around who value jewelry made from gold.

Since this blog piece was published at Ruby Lane, I have indeed listed this lovely bracelet in our shop just in time for our MARCH MADNESS SALE.    I'm offering it, during this sale, at $600 below the original asking price, and at about 1/3 its appraised value, given that the appraisal and insured shipping by UPS is included. This is a wonderful chance to get a rare piece of valuable gold jewelry at an amazing price. You can never lose on this one, with gold going up steadily. What will it be worth in say, 10 years time? It could help finance your child's college education or buy you a cruise if you sell it then. Think about it. Gold has always been a good investment. But our sale ends March 15, 2010. You know what to do ...