With gas and grocery prices up and your paycheck's buying power down, many are rushing to the jewelry store to unload old gold jewelry.
But before you empty out the jewelry box, we have some cautions to make sure you don't come home empty handed.
Sellers Lining Up
The gold rush is on at Cleves Lonnemann Jewelers. Owner Charlie Cleves spends much of every day weighing necklaces, inspecting old watches and pendants and delivering surprising good news to customers who've been scrounging their closets for unwanted gold.
While we were in his store, he was weighing jewelry worth $14,000.
Cindy and Denise Schlomer visited the jeweler expecting around $100 for their old gold, but Cleves estimated their items at double what they thought they would get. It's all because of gold recently hitting $1,600 an ounce for the first time.
Cleves showed a basic 14-carat gold bracelet from the 1980s that is now worth $550."On Monday of this week, we wrote $116,000 worth of checks in one day," Cleves said.
Three things to remember
But before you cash in, Cleves has three tips:
1. Beware what you scrap. Cleves showed us a pocketwatch which he said is worth much more as an antique than melted down. Don't take $300 for melt value when Grandma's old jewelry is really worth $1,000.
2. Get two offers before you sell. Cleves said some new fly by night shops are low-balling sellers.
3. Get on ebay and get an idea what similar jewelry sells for, if you suspect you may be holding onto something old or valuable.
Finally, when doing your homework, make sure you know what type of gold you have. An 18-karat item is worth much more than a 14-karat item or 10-karat item because it's purer.
If you are unsure what it is, never accept the first offer you get — so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
UPDATE: In response to some of the questions posted in the Comments section below:
We no longer are offering our 2009 investigation of gold buyers, since the comparison is now well out of date, and it would be unfair to continue to list the "winners" or "losers" from that time period. Also, some of the buyers inspected in our report are no longer in business.