Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Selling Gold, De-Mystified

I have been toying around with the idea for this blog post for a little while and I have decided it may be beneficial to many; so even though I may reveal a bit of my personal attitude about the topic, I have decided the pros will out way the cons. Be forewarned, this is more of a full on lesson in gold than a tutorial - a little bit of information could be just enough to make the problem worse. So this will be a series of posts all having to do with some other aspect of selling your unwanted jewelry. I promise it will be beneficial though.

For those of you who don't know, I have a full time day job. I work in a jewelry store. I also have grown up in the jewelry industry my whole life and have been actively involved in it for the last 12 years. I have my Graduate Diamonds Degree from the Gemological Institute of America and I am Jewelers of America Certified in both Sales and Management. I have bought diamonds in Antwerp, Belgium. Needless to say, I've been around when it comes to jewelry. Not to be completely narcissistic, but if I was a customer wanting to purchase something/sell something in a field I didn't know much about, I would hope that I could find someone like me in that industry. So, enough with tooting my horn. On to business.

Gold buying is something that has been around as long as gold itself - and buy "gold buying" I mean when you as a consumer go into a jewelry store or other place to sell gold that you already have back to them. We have had pawn shops for more than 3,000 years, but more commonly in America since the Great Depression. People found themselves without jobs, i.e. without money and all they had were there "valuables" from better times to try and feed their families. While most of us may not be quite that bad off yet, with the President cancelling the shuttle program and many of NASA's collaborative companies laying off thousands of people in our area, it's getting to be pretty close for Florida's Space Coast. One thing that has helped people both locally and nationwide with this current recession is the fact that as our economy sinks lower and lower, gold has never been higher. I feel like I've been saying that exact phrase for the last 2 years, but it is more true now than ever before. As recently as 2007, gold was around $600 per ounce, and we as the jewelry industry were fine with that. Then in a matter of weeks, the gold market price jumped from $600 to almost $1000 per ounce. Jewelry stores everywhere were deathly afraid of not being able to sell anything at the higher price and having to close up shop. Fast forward to late 2009 and gold jumped up to $1200. We all thought this was for sure the end of our industry. Now look  at it today - the market just closed at $1784.90.

As you can see, our gold market is highly volatile right now. Whenever something big happens politically, something big happens to our gold - it sounds silly, but it's true. During the last month around the time that congress was trying to decide what to do about our debt ceiling was when gold skyrocketed from $1550 to $1800 over just a few days causing what may be the fastest growth the gold market has had percentage wise (I say "may be" because I don't know where I would completely verify that - but I'm about 99% sure). This drastic increase has lead to numerous news reports telling you as consumers that now is the time to sell. While these reports are absolutely correct in saying it's the right time, they are not exactly factual about their claims to how much you will get for your precious pieces.

*Disclaimer: This is the point where I will say that this post is not meant to offend but to educate. I'm very sorry if anything I say cuts too close to home and I certainly don't mean it to be brash - I just don't know any other way to put it, so please keep that in mind as you read on.

The Way Gold Buying Works:
Here is the insider's view on the way gold buying works.
1. You go through your jewelry box and pick through out pieces you no longer want or need, i.e. presents from old boyfriends, that ring your Great Aunt Mable (who you met once when you were 3)  left you that you have never worn, a few hoop earrings you lost the mate to, a chain that just kept breaking and you got tired of having it fixed, etc. The list can go on and on. So, you gather them all up and start looking for places to sell it.
2. You take your once-loved pieces to your local gold buyer.
3. They buyer sorts through all of your pieces, testing them if necessary, to ascertain what karat of gold they are. Then the pieces are weighed and a price is calculated. Depending on the way that particular buyer operates, they may or may not add or subtract from the value for any stones.
4. The buyer tells you how much they are willing to pay for your gold. You say yes or no and then paperwork is filled out to document the transaction as according to your state or county's regulations.

This is the bulk of the process, but so often it's the gray area of these steps that causes people to be elated or offended, and I'll go into more detail on that in a later post. Overall, gold is a valuable item to own and the main reason is this:
No matter what happens to a country's individual currency, gold will always have a value. The value may not be what you paid for it or the amount you personally think it is worth, but it will never be worthless. Someone somewhere will always be willing to buy your gold - this is why it is such a valuable investment when it is purchased in the right way or at the right time.
That "right way" and "right time" can make all the difference in the world. Over the course of this series, I will debunk the myths, lay out the facts, and even throw in a few personal opinions (that part is unavoidable) all in hopes to help you better understand the hows and whys of this process and industry. So, stay tuned if you are interested and I will be sure to put all these posts together as I go so you can catch up on the previous posts no matter where you jump in.

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