smart spending

Old jewelry worth its weight in gold?

For a simpler, but even rougher measurement, know that the weight of one penny coin = 1.5 pennyweights. Put your jewelry in one hand and have someone drop pennies into your other hand until the two feel of about equal weight, then count the pennies and multiply by 1.5.

Finally, expect that the dealer will keep some for himself -- at least 10 percent and maybe as much as 30 percent.

That's the negotiable factor and what makes doing these calculations worthwhile before you shop the gold around.

Finding a buyer

Gardner and Gusky offer this advice on getting the most for your gold.
Tips and caveats
  • If you are dealing with a refiner, ask if the company is a member of the International Precious Metals Institute, which encourages ethical business practices within the industry.
  • If you are dealing with a jeweler, ask if they are members of Jewelers of America or the American Gem Society. Both of these organizations advocate for ethical standards and professionalism in the retail jewelry industry.
  • In almost every part of the country, pawnbrokers and other businesses buying gold or other valuables are required to file reports with the local district attorney or the state attorney general's office, providing a copy of the seller's photo identification. If you aren't asked for identification, take your gold and leave.
  • There are reputable scrap gold dealers who buy gold via the Internet, but it's hard to verify their ethics. An indication that they are trustworthy is their willingness to send you a packing envelope that is registered and requires a signature from them when you return it filled with your gold. The shipment should also be insured. The dealer should then quote you a price, which you can accept or reject. If you reject that offer, the dealer should be willing to return your gold in similar packaging.
  • Don't accept a deal that requires you to turn over your gold and wait for whatever check the buyer chooses to send. At the very least, get an estimate and a guaranteed price range.
  • Shop around. You may find great differences in the offers you get for your gold.
  • Don't get your hopes up too high. While what you're selling may look like a big pile of gold, by the time it's melted down and the impurities are removed, it may not amount to much.



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