Millions of Brits are selling unwanted jewellery after the price of gold rocketed by 400 per cent in 10 years. Sophie Hazan learns how to fix the best deal.
THE price of gold has climbed to a new record high.
Investors are ploughing spare cash into buying bullion, which is pushing up its value.
At the other end of the scale people are continuing to sell, sell, sell as a quick way to release key funds.
Simon Brown, owner of Browns Family Jewellers and Pawnbrokers, which has a shop in Cross Gates, Leeds, confirmed just as many customers are buying gold as an investment, as selling it to release funds.
Latching onto the trend, the independent Yorkshire firm last year launched an online postal gold buying service.
And the business has taken off, claims Mr Brown.
But there is no need to lose that family heirloom, added the jeweller, who said pawnbroking remained a great way for people to get money – and fast.
The 47-year-old, who has been in the jewellery business for the last 30 years, said: “There’s a lot to be said about holding onto jewellery.
“There’s nothing to say that gold’s going to fall in price.
“People are not fools.
“But there will be some circumstances where people have short-term cash flow problems and they need to sell.
“We are actually selling a lot of gold.
“We are very busy.
“People need to shop around.
“The best thing for customers to do is to make sure they go to three jewellers for three separate prices.
“Don’t just use cash-for-gold businesses.
“Find a family business. Speak to someone who knows about jewellery.
“We only employ people who have worked with the trade for 20 years.
“If you send us your gold and you don’t like our price we will return it by recorded delivery.
“It isn’t like you are being locked into a deal.”
Cash for gold businesses are cropping up offering to buy gold on market stalls, via websites and through postal services in unparalleled numbers, said Alaric Churchill, commercial director at Albermarle Bond.
He said Brits are flocking to gold-buying establishments to capitalise on cash tied up in scrap gold and unused jewellery.
But Mr Churchill urged consumers to do their homework before parting with their precious items.
* Use a magnifying glass, look for numbers stamped on your gold item, which will help you identify the carat, or purity of the gold.
* Use accurate digital scales (not bathroom ones) to find out the weight – the rule of thumb is the higher the carat and weight, the higher the likely value.
* Make sure you know what carat your gold is before you take it to be valued.
.999 = 24 carat (pure gold)
.916 = 22 carat (91.6 per cent)
.750 = 18 carat (75 per cent)
.375 = 9 carat ( 37.5 per cent)
* If an item is not hallmarked, it may be gold plated, rolled gold or not gold at all. Its value will be negligible and you will find it difficult to sell.
* Reputable sellers will want to check your ID and proof of address in the attempt to stop the sale of stolen goods.
* Check that the buyer is trained in metallurgy or in assessing the quality of gold so they can test the purity.
* See if the buyer is a member of a trade organisation and if they hold professional accreditations. Members of organisations such as the National Pawnbrokers’ Association (NPA) and The National Association of Goldsmiths have strict codes of practice that will help protect consumer rights.
* Shop around. Take your item into several places before you sell it. You are under no obligation to sell and most reputable gold-buyers will give you a price guarantee until the end of the day (gold prices are adjusted twice a day internationally).
* If you would like to sell your gold to a particular buyer, but they haven’t offered you the best price, don’t be afraid to haggle a little.