Don’t Get Ripped Off Selling Your Gold And Precious Metals!

If you understand what is written below you cannot be taken advantage of:

Today’s gold price of approximately $1,325 per ounce is still very high. If you are contemplating selling but unsure of how much gold you own and what is a fair price to receive, here are some of the intricacies that you should understand first. 

When something is valuable, like a great employee, we might say “He’s worth his weight in gold”. If he weighed 180 pounds, at the current high prices, he would be worth more than $3,816,000 dollars. By comparison, in 2001 when gold was less than $300 per ounce, he would have been worth only about $864,000. His value has gone up more than 4 times in 11 years. Not only has gold increased in value over the past several years but so have platinum and silver. Today may be the best time to “scrap” or melt your broken and unwanted jewelry, sterling silver flatware and tea sets.

When gold is $1,325 per ounce, that price is for a troy ounce of pure (24 karat) gold. Very few of us own pure gold. Jewelry is generally 18kt, 14kt, or 10kt. To calculate how much pure gold is in one ounce of 18kt gold, divide 18 by 24 and you will see that 18kt is only 75% or 3/4 gold. This means that an ounce of 18kt gold would only be worth $993.75 ($1,325 x 75%). Similarly, on ounce of 14kt, 14 divided by 24 is worth $768.50. Unfortunately, not all gold jewelry is stamped, and not all jewelry that is stamped, is stamped correctly. To see how much your gold weighs, you CANNOT just put it on a scale at home that weighs ounces or pounds. You may have heard the seemingly simple question “What weighs more, an ounce of feathers or an ounce of gold?”. Many of you would answer that they both weigh one ounce so they weigh the same – and many of you would be wrong. The ounce of gold weighs more. Precious metals are weighed in troy ounces or 31.1 grams and feathers are weighed on your kitchen or bathroom scales in avoirdupois ounces which is 28.3 grams. This sounds complicated but if you determine your weight in grams, a gram is always a gram and if you know that an ounce of gold equals 31.1 grams, you will know your weight of gold in troy ounces. (number of grams divided by 31.1 = troy ounces)

Most of us do not have large enough quantities of gold to go to a refiner, have it assayed, and determine the exact weight of pure gold. My advice is that if you are going to sell gold, deal with a reputable, professional jeweler. If you are contemplating getting an offer from an out of town company that setups in a local hotel room, or prior to mailing your gold to an unknown TV advertised company, contact a professional jeweler for an offer. Professional jewelers often pay the most because they are not paying for expensive transportation, full page buying ads in newspapers and TV or paying for hotel rooms with security.

“Estate”, “Antique”, and “Vintage” Jewelry

“Estate Jewelry” is simply jewelry that was pre-owned by another person. Estate is often used to describe finer high end pieces, but the term estate can be used with any quality.

“Antique Jewelry” is simply jewelry that is more than 100 years old. This does not mean that just because your 100 year old grandma owned the piece, that the jewelry is 100 years old and antique.

“Vintage Jewelry” refers to pieces from a certain jewelry era. For example, “Victorian jewelry” (1835-1890), “Art Deco jewelry” (1915-1935), or “Retro jewelry” (1940-1945). Craftsmen from each jewelry era used unique materials and skills available to depict the tastes and styles that were vogue at the time.

1. Authentic vintage jewlery was generally made by craftsmen that had extraordinary skills and invested unlimited hours to produce uniqueness and quality not readily available today.

2. Man cannot make antique and vintage jewelry today but man can make antique and vintage reproductions (repros’s). Often good repro’s are even made with gemstones that are cut to look like they were cut long ago. Repro’s do not have the quality nor value of authentic pieces. When buying, beware of words like “style” or “type”. “Art Deco style” does not mean “Art Deco”.

3. Do not polish, clean or repair valuable antique/vintage jewelry without consulting an expert.

4. When getting antique/vintage jewelry appraised, go to a jeweler that understands and proudly displays similar pieces. Vintage jewelery that is old, beautiful, and in pristine condition is very rare and valuable.

Owning and wearing antique and vintage jewelry is owning and wearing a piece of history and artwork. This is especially true and meaningful when you are wearing a family heirloom.

Pearls – Understanding This Beautiful Gem

Throughout most of recorded history, “Natural Pearls” were cherished and their possession was restricted to royalty. Pearls, the only gemstones that grow inside of a living organism, were very rare and expensive. Pearl divers searched the world’s pristine waters for these exquisite, naturally formed gems. In the late 1800′s, Japanese researchers discovered that they could “farm” pearls by inserting a foreign substance (not a grain of sand) into an oyster, thus creating “Cultured Pearls”. Pearl farmers could now cultivate sufficient quantities of high quality cultured pearls to allow pearl lovers availability and affordability. Today if you purchase “pearls” in a store, you are generally purchasing cultured pearls. Natural pearls, those made in a shellfish without man inserting an irritant, are now found primarily in older estate jewelry.

Note: Beware of imitation pearls made from glass, ceramic, plastic or shell. These are called “Faux Pearls”, “Mallorca Pearls”, etc… they are not pearls…

Pearls are grown in both fresh and saltwater and both have fine qualities that are unique, beautiful, and deserving of respect. The Chinese are the largest producers of pearls – fresh and saltwater. Freshwater pearls are generally far less expensive than saltwater varieties and offer new vibrant natural colors and better durability. Saltwater pearls offer different colors (e.g. blacks) and larger pearl sizes.

Pearls can be extremely valuable. In 1917 Cartier Jewelers traded a strand of pearls for their building on Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 2007 a double strand of natural pearls was auctioned off at Cristies for 7 million dollars. If you possess a strand of pearls that might be natural and extremely valuable, consult an expert to see if they warrant x-ray certification by a lab.

Proper care of your pearls will protect their beauty and value. Put on your perfume and hairspray before putting on your pearls. Pearls are a very soft gemstone and should not touch diamonds and other hard gemstones or they will become scratched.

Today is an exciting time in pearl history when new discoveries allow all consumers to own one of nature’s most beautiful creations.

My Ring Doesn’t Look As Good As When I Bought It

When I first saw my ring in the jewelry showcase I fell in love with its brilliance and fire.  Today my ring looks dull and lifeless. What happened?

1. Lighting – Jewelers pay lots of money to have lighting experts make their jewelry sparkle and glow. Ask to see it outside before you buy it, preferably in the shade or on a cloudy day. This is what your ring really looks like when it is clean and polished. This is what it will look like when you are having coffee at an outdoor cafe. Do you still love it? If you can’t walk outside prior to purchase, don’t buy it without a moneyback guarantee (not a store credit). Then look at it outside.

2. Dirt – If your jewelry looked good outside on the day you bought it and today it looks dull, the most common reason is that grease, soap scum and dirt have accumulated underneath your gemstones. Home cleaning will often restore the original beauty, provided you have been advised by a knowledgeable professional and you have the proper equipment. For example, emeralds, pearls, opals, tanzanite’s and other gemstones are sensitive to heat and/or cleaning solutions. Although you can put your diamond in pure acid, the metal holding your diamond, might deteriorate in certain cleaning solutions. Ask your jeweler if they provide free jewelry cleaning – if they do, take all of your jewelry in. Do it today and in most cases the improvement will be remarkable.

3. Scratching – Possibly your jewelry has become scratched and abraded. Diamonds are the hardest substance and they will scratch everything. Do not throw your jewelry in a pile – lay each piece individually or put each piece in it’s own baggy. Scratches can also occur during daily wear. Do not wear fine jewelry when working in the garage. Scratched gemstones and metals can be polished and usually restored to their original beauty. Often the gemstones must be removed, polished and then reset. Discuss these options with a skilled professional.

The bottom line: You pay a lot for jewelry, make wise choices and then protect the beauty and the investment.