Dale Cardwell: All that glitters isn’t always gold
by Dale Cardwell
Business Columnist
August 24, 2011 11:59 PM | 1306 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dale Cardwell<br>Business Columnist
Dale Cardwell
Business Columnist
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I’ve never seriously considered selling something made of gold — until the price reached $1,881 per ounce. Is my class ring worth a couple of grand? I suppose it’s kind of like the lottery. I don’t play, but I’m occasionally tempted when the jackpot hits record numbers. All the hubbub started me thinking — how many people take five minutes to do a little homework before they rush off to sell their jewelry? According to my research, not nearly enough.

The Better Business Bureau reports a huge increase in complaints against gold buyers this year. It’s no wonder: Gold is beautiful, but an untrained person has no real idea of what his or her gold is worth, how much gold content the jewelry has, and whether the jewelry contains gold at all.

To get some real answers, I got in touch with my trusted diamond broker, John Keegan of Keegan & Co.

John sells beautiful stones (just ask my wife) with a lot less markup than most his competitors. He’ll talk you out of a purchase — that would make him more money — if he doesn’t think it’s the right one for you. That’s why Keegan & Co. is on my website.

I asked John what my class ring is worth. He asked me when I bought it —1984 — and if I had any idea of its gold content based on karat. Of course I didn’t!

With a little investigation, (very powerful reading glasses) I discovered “10k” stamped inside the band. Since my ring is pretty big (size 11) and kind of heavy, I figured it had a lot of gold.

Not so fast.

John told me my ring weighs about 15 grams, but only 42 percent of that is gold. How much is that gold worth? At 10 karats, my ring is worth about $374. OK, that doesn’t make me want to run to my local gold buyer, but that’s not what I could sell it for anyway.

John told me a reputable gold buyer would give me about 80 cents per dollar of worth. (After all, the buyer deserves to make a profit). So now, my ring is worth $299 if I could find a reputable gold dealer to sell it to.

That’s the problem.

In today’s economy, you can find a gold buyer on TV, on the radio and in just about every strip mall in town. If you don’t know what you have before you go in you might be offered 50 cents per dollar of value. If you go to a pawn shop, (and just the fact you’re in a pawn shop suggests you’re desperate for cash) you’ll be lucky to get 40 cents per dollar of value — some cases, much less.

Selling your gold doesn’t seem so tempting now, huh? So what do you do if you still want to sell your gold?

Go to your trusted jeweler and get an appraisal so you have an idea of its value. Comparison-shop to maximize your profit and minimize the chance of being ripped off. Or do like me: Put your class ring on to see if it still fits, smile when you think of the memories it brings back, then place it back in its safe place.

The price of gold will rise and fall. Unless you’re a serious investor and know a lot about gold, I recommend you hold on to your jewelry.

Watch TrustDale TV from 11:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays on Fox 5; listen to Dale’s advice on the Rob Johnson Show on 640 AM WGST weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m.; and listen to Trust Dale from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays on WGST. You can reach Dale at Help@TrustDale.com.
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