It's a new kind of gold rush -- consumers trading in old jewelry for quick cash.
Ads on TV promise big bucks giving you "cash for gold." People in the ads say they've received hundreds of dollars -- extra cash for tough times -- by mining their jewelry for gold.
The 10News I-Team put these ads to the test, buying four of the same 10-karat gold men's wedding rings for $58 apiece.
The price of gold has been solid, especially in a down economy. In the past month, gold's value has ranged from $800 to $900 an ounce.
"It is precious metal; it'll always be worth something," explains Dano McCarthy of Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, who weighed the 10News I-Team's rings and estimated a buyback price. "Everybody's entitled to buy stuff; everybody's entitled to make a profit."
McCarthy has 20 years in the jewelry business and says the 10News I-Team rings should get a buyback price of about $17 each, given the price of gold $8.39 per gram on the day McCarthy weighed the gold.
The 10News I-Team sent the rings to three Internet companies that promise cash for gold -- www.GoldKit.com
. The fourth ring was resold to a San Diego-area pawn shop.
The retail price for the rings was $58. GoldKit.com sent the 10News I-Team a check for $2.80. Cash4Gold.com sent two checks -- one for $2.92 and another for $4.99, explaining they mistakenly charged the 10News I-Team $4.99 for a "Fast Cash" option not received. GetGoldCash.com paid $7.63 for the ring.
The local buyback had the best payout. The pawn shop paid out $18.50 for the ring on a day when gold was valued at over $9 a gram.
Gold Buyback Tips:
You will not get a retail price. Think of re-selling gold as re-selling your new car -- once you drive it off the lot, the price goes lower
Buyback prices are based on weight and karat count, not the jewelry's artistry or beauty
Make sure the buyback company has a good reputation. Check with the Better Business Bureau and look online for complaints. The 10News I-Team found many complaints on the Web about gold buyback programs.
Pawn Shop Tips
Where and how to get money fast is always good to know.
Todd Stemmerman with Music Rental and Pawn Shop on El Cajon Boulevard has been in the business for more than 30 years.
The 10News I-Team went to him to get a better idea on what items are worth selling to a pawn shop for quick cash.
"Naturally, gold is on the rise right now, pricewise," Stemmerman says.
Silver usually won't get you much money because it doesn't have enough value.
"Audio visual (items) are very popular. Cameras, camcorders, iPods," says Stemmerman.
Stemmerman says musical instruments and sporting goods like fishing poles and golf clubs often are good things to pawn if you need money fast.
Tools are too, because they are items people need and use often.
So, if the time comes where the pawn shop needs to resell them, they won't have a hard time unloading them and making money.
"Good thing not to pawn is a large TV older than 3 or 4 years. It's too hard to carry and not good value," he warns.
Stemmerman says just like any good shopper, it's always important to shop around because every pawn shop will pay differently.
Music Rental and Pawn Shop holds items for a little more than four months at a fixed interest. If a person doesn't come back for the item, it's re-sold to another customer.
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