In Your Corner: The Business of Selling Gold

By Ryan Elijah

August 13, 2010 Updated Aug 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM EDT

With gold selling at over $1200 an ounce, it's no surprise that many are looking to cash in.

Along with national ads, several gold stores have appeared in local shopping centers. We wanted to see if area consumers were getting fair offers, so we sent an INC employee to 3 random gold stores.

Our first stop was We Buy Gold off Coldwater Road. We took in a wedding band and two 14 carat gold items that should bring us between $40 and $50 each. We were offered $90 for the two.

Not bad for the 2 pieces, we'll get back to the ring, our next stop was Mr. Wimps, a longtime area store, that's recently moved to West State. They offered us $84 for the two pieces.

The stores use carat weight and the current price of gold in their price formula,
Our final stop priced our 3 pieces together, they were the most thorough in checking that our gold was real and offered us $140 cash.

In summary: our two pieces together were appraised at between $80-$95 total, so our average of $78 wasn't bad.

The 2 pieces of jewelry came in very close to market value, but our wedding band was another story, we had it appraised at around $270 but the average of our 3 offers was just $75, with one business wanting to include the stones for that price.

Industry experts tell us if you're selling a higher priced item, a local, reputable jeweler is likely your best bet. James Ball operates three Peter Franklin Jeweler stores in the area and says while buying gold is a small percentage of business, it's certainly increased. He says it's important for the consumer to think about more than one estimate and most importantly, have knowledge of their jewelry.

"knowing what you have is the key, many times people don't realize that they have something of value", said James Ball.

The Better Business Bureau told us they receive a steady stream of complaints, but most of those involve "mail-in" companies. We Buy Gold has an A Rating with the local Better Business Bureau, but many that advertise nationally do not. It's always a good idea to research the company and any complaint history before doing business with them. If you do choose a company that requires you to mail jewelry to them, make sure to insure the package and find out first exactly what the return policy is. Most gold companies will pay between 80-85% of the estimated value of the jewelry.

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