Sunday, October 17, 2021

There’s gold in them thar drawers!



Richard Alan

Would an infusion of found cash be a great way to start your day? It would be like finding a wad of hundred dollar bills in an unused suit jacket or a rarely used purse. Believe it or not, there is treasure in your home only a few paces away.

I’m talking about gold or silver scrap, which can include broken or un-loved jewelry. Unless you have been living under a coral rock or somewhere on one of the deserted 10,000 islands for the past year or so it’s no secret that all precious metals are at an all time high.

Incredibly the price of pure silver shot up from roughly $3.75 an ounce to an unheard of $37.00. Silver first quadrupled in price, then it doubled, to finally tripling in value! I’ve had lots of folk scrapping antique silver place settings that have been bouncing around from generation to generation.

The kids and grand kids don’t want it. It’s a hassle to have to polish it or have it lay around taking up space. You will also discover there is no market for selling the place settings intact. Gold hasn’t been a slouch either. At this writing it’s over $1,545.00 per ounce for pure 24 karat.

The cash infusion I’m talking about is in your home or safe deposit box. Could even be buried in your cellar. (Who has a cellar around here?)

My average gold and silver selling customers leave the store with between $500.00 to $700.00 in their hands for scrap metal they will never miss. This can include wedding bands from previously failed marriage, (mementos one could live without,) old high school rings, (honestly, when was the last time you wore yours? And trust me your kids don’t want your school ring, either.)

My staff and I had a good laugh with one gentleman when he scrapped his 1970’s disco jewelry which included heavy gold chains loaded with trinkets of the era including a zodiac symbol, a coke spoon, an Italian horn and hand, a talking “Where’s the beef ?” charm, a heavy crucifix, a Star of David and unbelievably, a Muslim crescent and star! He said back then he wanted to have all the bases covered if he met up with “The Maker.” For now the cash will do.

Twisted and mangled heavy gold herringbone or broken rope chains that are useless can bring in big bucks on the scrap pile along with worn out bracelets and irreplaceable single earrings. Don’t forget that gold belly button ring that didn’t work out so well!

Scrap for cash just plain ugly or out of style pieces of jewelry, especially that big horrendous amethyst dome ring Aunt Edith left you.

I frown on scrapping old family heirlooms in good condition; once it’s scrapped it’s gone forever. So if it means a lot sentimentally, don’t consider selling it, especially if it’s light weight, ‘cause it won’t bring in that much cash anyway.

Remember the higher the karat gold quality the more the gold is worth. A higher price is paid for 18kt. gold and a lower price for 10kt. gold. The prices paid are ever changing, day to day, even hour to hour.

Most American made jewelry is 14kt. and should have a “quality stamp” in or on the piece someplace. If there are no markings and you aren’t sure if it is precious metal bring it in. I can test the piece with acid to see if it is valuable or not.

You will find what may seem like a little bit of gold scrap can amount to hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Also, remember a good quantity of silver will be required to see monetary results. Though a higher price than usual, it’s still not as valuable as gold.

Most silver jewelry is not 100% pure silver but “sterling silver.” It has other metals in it to give it strength and wearability and is usually marked “9.25” somewhere on the piece. Anything marked “German silver” is in fact not silver at all (a combination of copper, nickel and zinc), anything marked silver plate is basically worthless.

Buried treasure could be lurking in your junk drawers and cubby holes right there under your noses. Bring in what you find for cold hard cash… happy hunting!

Richard Alan is a designer/Goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith located at 1 Front Street and a buyer of precious metals. He welcomes your questions about “All That Glitters” 239.394.9275.


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