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Your TV would never lie to you, especially about gold
August 28, 2009 12:31 PM   Subscribe

How to value and sell your gold. Probably a waste of time though, those real people who sold their gold on TV seem happy enough.
posted by alan (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very interesting. I had assumed the "Cash for Gold!" places were a rip-off, but this breaks it down so that you can get an idea of what to look for.
posted by cimbrog at 12:46 PM on August 28, 2009


I've seen a million of those "Cash for Gold!" ads in different states, with slightly different names and websites to go to. Are they all connected? They have to be.
posted by cashman at 12:50 PM on August 28, 2009


There was a pretty interesting previous post about Cash 4 Gold.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:56 PM on August 28, 2009


I've had some pretty good experience selling gold to a local place. I went in with a few notes scratched on a piece of paper about the day's trade value and some weight conversions (for 18KT, since that's what the pieces were). They scratch-tested it, weighed it right in front of me and offered a price that I could pretty easily estimate their margin from, which was a fair one. 5 minute deal.

If I hadn't liked the offer I would've shopped around some more, but still locally - I haven't heard anything good about the mail-in places. Their compensation, in comparison to the local places, was horrible.
posted by empyrean at 12:56 PM on August 28, 2009


I found this blog entry, linked on the original link, from someone who actually tested Cash4Gold out, to be very informative -- they found that C4G was offering only about a third of the actual estimated value of the gold.

There's also a follow-up post on that same blog about how C4G offered them a couple grand to take down that blog post because it was coming up high on Google hits for Cash 4 Gold.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:02 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think I'll just keep my gold, thanks...and no, you can't have it. Stay away!

...my preciousss...
posted by sexyrobot at 1:03 PM on August 28, 2009


When I got my hair cut at a downtown barber there was always this guy that came in who had a funny accent and had a ton of jewelry on. He wore these huge gold chains that almost didn't look real and was sort of pudgy so it kind of fit this Rush Limbaugh air he had about him. Oh and he always had cash a big roll of $100 bills. This was sort of a rough part of town that used to be more working class probably a half a century ago, and now is mostly a shell of its former self (though now it is gentrified with $500,000 condos go figure). Anyway I finally asked the barber who the hell this guy was.

"King of the Gypsies."
"They have a king? And he gets his hair cut here?"
"Yeah"

Apparently you can tell a Gypsy house by the way the windows are placed, either the lack of windows or there are too many I forget, and they have quite a sizable population (this was a Slavic/Serb neighborhood too). And apparently this man was really their king, or at least a regional king. By king, I came to understand, they really meant something along the lines of a mob boss. He'd give out loans, take care of problems, move merchandise and the kickbacks would always flow up to him. My barber was also certain they didn't pay taxes, which he either envied or despised, I couldn't tell. I'm certain, though, that this Gypsy king had at least $10k of gold jewelry on at any given time and it would not have been out of place to give him a goblet and watch him dip it in swill, raise it and make a toast. Gold goes from really tacky to kind of impressive really fast. Especially when you're a king.
posted by geoff. at 1:07 PM on August 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


That is a very reasonable approach, but as someone who has actually bought and sold scrap gold for a reputable dealer there is an additional equation.

Spot Price x (percentage number based on carat value of Gold) = A
A x Weight of your gold.

There's a whole set of numbers depending on the carat value a dealer will use. He in turn will sell it to a large assayer who will use a slightly different percentage number. In other words you will get less than Spot x Weight, but it shouldn't be a staggering difference either.
posted by MasonDixon at 1:16 PM on August 28, 2009


Again, while I have no vested interest in this organization except as a consumer, I recommend Midwest Refineries as a place to get rid of slightly larger quantities of metals. They are one of the places that the person you sell to at the pawn shop will take their metals that they can't retail. You will get a much higher percentage for your metal, and baring their holding metals on volition market days for an advantage (a $3/ounce swing in the price of silver over a week can cost you a lot of money if you sell 100 or 200 ounces at a time), they are pretty honest. Actually, they haven't been holding like that the last few months.
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:19 PM on August 28, 2009


(The exception to this rule is high karat gold jewelry from countries such as India. In many cultures gold jewelry is the traditional method for carrying wealth. This jewelry is often quite intricate and sold by the gram. The value of labor and artistry of the pieces is a small portion of the price compared to the actual gold value.)

True, my Indian and Pakistani friends who know stuff about jewelry have mentioned that nothing less than 22 karat gold is good enough for our women. If you go to your local Little India and check out the jewelry store, this is what you'll find.
posted by exhilaration at 1:24 PM on August 28, 2009


The reality is, if you have any idea what you paid for your gold and silver jewelry, you will probably be disappointed with how much these companies will pay for your pieces. Jewelry in the United States is only an "investment" in as much as it is gorgeous and can last through generations. If you're buying art jewelry pieces it may retain value as such, but for the most part the value of craftsmanship goes right out the window when it comes to re-selling jewelry.

This, right here, bears repeating for emphasis and truth. The chances of you actually purchasing a ring or necklace or anything which has any "investment value" at all is basically zero. I worked for years in a jewelry production house, and was shocked at a lot of the lessons that I learned about jewelry production and retail during the time I worked there. One of the biggest was, jewelry is often triple- or quadruple-keyed for retail. So that ring that you're looking at for $600, probably "cost" about $150 in metal, stones, and labor. Subtract the labor, and you're looking at more like $75 in actual materials cost. And that is generally what you will get for it. (This actually only is true if you have very good stones and high carat metals. Most of the cost of jewelry, outside of retail markup, is labor.)

The only time you can really "make money" buying jewelry is if you can find a genuine piece mixed in with costume jewelry at an estate or garage sale, buy it for $5, and then turn it in for materials to a refinery. Everything else, unless it's really high-end art jewelry which has only ever been kept in a safe deposit box, doesn't even really gain value as an antique until you get into the 150 to 200-year-old range.

It may look like bling, but it's mostly false value with no actual worth beyond the metal. Caveat emptor, or something.
posted by hippybear at 1:39 PM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


So that ring that you're looking at for $600, probably "cost" about $150 in metal, stones, and labor.

Anyone who buys jewelry at Wal-Mart or a jewelry store are going to pay 200-300% markup minimum, but a lot of people are smarter than that. I've literally grown up in a household where investment jewelry was a significant source of taxed income and weekends weren't spent playing with friends but buying and selling at antique and flea markets. I've dealt with thousands of casual buyers who are smart and know value. They pay 20%-50% markup from spot on pieces with reasonably high craftsmanship because they have cash-in-hand (which store buyers almost always do not) and know how to estimate the value of gold and ask for a deal. This isn't to say that they are going to make money on what they buy, but they pay a fair price and when they get tired of it, they can recoup a significant portion of their investment.
posted by mrmojoflying at 1:55 PM on August 28, 2009


Metafilter: Probably a waste of time though, those real people who sold their gold on TV seem happy enough.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:58 PM on August 28, 2009


mrmojoflying: to be fair, I was working with VERY high-end art jewelry, the Erté designs adapted for Circle Fine Arts about 20 years ago. I have no idea what the WalMart jewelry market is like, or how well it is made.
posted by hippybear at 2:03 PM on August 28, 2009


I have no idea what the WalMart jewelry market is like, or how well it is made.

Completely unsellable in secondary markets, it goes directly to the smelter as scrap.
posted by mrmojoflying at 2:16 PM on August 28, 2009


I bought my fiancée's engagement and wedding rings from greenKarat, who melted down some old jewelry we had and used the gold and stones in the new rings. They don't promise riches or anything silly like that, but they do appear committed to reducing the environmental impact of mining new metal.

Lots of scammers out there, each with their own TV and Google ads...I only mention gK because they're real.
posted by jdfalk at 2:25 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here in western New York, we also have the option to trade our gold directly for tacos. An important choice for the hungry investor with a sandwich-light portfolio.

I buy it! Yeeeah baby!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:52 PM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I second midwest refinery, I have never dealt with them personally but all the doomers and stackers I know on the web like them.
posted by Iron Rat at 8:14 PM on August 28, 2009


One of the biggest was, jewelry is often triple- or quadruple-keyed for retail. So that ring that you're looking at for $600, probably "cost" about $150 in metal, stones, and labor.

So is there any way to buy 'wholesale', before the markup? It seems like, assuming different people do the actual jewelry assembly from raw materials as do the retail part, that you should be able to get in there and capture the markup yourself in savings, if you know where to look and ask.

Where does one go for that, or is it impossible because it's all done in-house on the retail side?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:47 AM on August 29, 2009


(The exception to this rule is high karat gold jewelry from countries such as India. In many cultures gold jewelry is the traditional method for carrying wealth. This jewelry is often quite intricate and sold by the gram. The value of labor and artistry of the pieces is a small portion of the price compared to the actual gold value.)

True, my Indian and Pakistani friends who know stuff about jewelry have mentioned that nothing less than 22 karat gold is good enough for our women. If you go to your local Little India and check out the jewelry store, this is what you'll find.
posted by exhilaration at 1:24 PM on August 28 [+] [!]


Ya, I've sat through numerous purchases with mom and others while growing up and the labour is the negotiable part. Jewellery stores - this includes Chinese ones in Malaysia/singapore all list the current international price of pure gold and one starts jewellery purchase haggling from there. Nice looking little old ladies usually keep 5 currencies juggling in their head and the price of gold and silver. Its a learning experience.

When I first went to the US I was shocked at the 'cheap' stuff like 18K and 14K being passed off as 'gold' ;p

If you really want to invest and ensure the price of your gold buy biscuits - Credit Suisse makes the best ones and start at 1 gram. Most asian jewellery stores will sell you a pretty holder for it to make the biscuit a pendant.
posted by infini at 1:20 AM on August 29, 2009


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