The 2011 Gold Rush is showing no signs of letting up. Consumers everywhere are rounding up old class rings and broken necklaces and selling them for big bucks, as gold hits record high after record high.
But you don't think your old jewelry is worth much? Wait till you see what some scraps can bring.
Old Earrings Without a Mate
Like many women, our producer "Suzanne" has a jewelry box filled with old necklaces, rings and earrings without a mate.
So she grabbed up a bagful and headed to a gold buyer. Manager Clay Wallen was ready to buy.
"The first thing we'll do is make sure everything's gold, then go through it," Clay said.
Clay inspected everything with a glass, to determine how much gold it contains. That can make a big difference in price: 10K has much less gold content than 14K or 18K, and is worth substantially less.
He had some good news for her: Most was good 14K gold, and very little was "costume" gold-plated jewelry, which is essentially worthless for melt value.
Bigger Payout Than Expected
Clay weighed everything, then added it all up. Total for Suzanne's handful of jewelry? Not $400. Not $600. Not $900.
Clay told her, "we'll pay you $1,002 for that transaction."
Suzanne couldn't believe it.
Clay wrote her a check for more than one thousand dollars, for jewelry she had not worn in years and was not planning to wear again.
But was it a fluke? Clay says no, Suzanne's hoard was typical.
"Many times they come in expecting a couple hundred dollars and they leave with thousands," Clay said. "The average scrap gold transaction these days is between $1,000 and $5,000 for the most part."
Stores are not required to report jewelry transactions to the IRS. You may want to report it, as gold sales are officially taxable as capital gains. But if you are just selling old jewelry, you don't have to worry about the store filing a 1099 form.
One Final Caution
Before you unload grandma's old baubles, make sure you are not selling any old jewelry that's worth more for its antique value than scrap value.
If it looks antique, get an appraisal first. Or at least get an estimate from two different stores.
Looking for more advice? Click here for my recent report on 3 Things To Know Before Selling Gold.
Have some old silver dollars or half dollars? Click here for my recent report on Your Old Coins Could be Worth a Fortune.
That way you don't waste your money.
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