Hobson advised sellers to avoid services that require sellers to mail their jewelry and wait for a check. She said there are numerous commercials in circulation about these kinds of services. While there are some reputable mail-away gold services, Consumer Reports magazine found that the such services paid about to 11 percent to 29 percent of the gold's true value, Hobson said.
The best way that sellers can ensure they're dealing with a reputable appraiser is to check the appraiser's record with the Better Business Bureau. In addition, there are industry-affiliated agencies that can provide sellers with direction, she said.
If you plan to sell your gold at a gold party, here are some more of Mellody's tips:
The measure a dealer uses at a gold party may reduce the amount you receive for your gold. Some dealers measure gold by pennyweight but they pay you by the gram. A pennyweight is about 1.55 grams. So let's say you have something that weighs 2 pennyweights, the dealer gets 3.1 grams of gold, but you get paid for 3 grams.
Another good way to make a money on your jewelry, particularly vintage jewelry, is to sell your pieces through a consignment shop. In a consignment arrangement, the seller pays the person who owns the item a portion of the proceeds from the sale. Consignment stores are different from regular thrift shops in that the items sold are higher end. Many people who are on the lookout for original pieces shop at consignment shops.
Before your turn over a family heirloom or designer piece to your gold party host or similar business, consider working with a reputable business that specializes in assessing and purchasing vintage and fine jewelry pieces. This will ensure that your jewelry is evaluated in its entirety based on the craftsmanship of the piece and the designer, not simply the weight and karat purity of the gold.
If you decide to go with a mail-in service, make sure their prices paid per gram are clearly listed on their Web site. If it isn't, do not use the service.
If you decide to use a mail-in service, make sure you contact them first to understand their policies. They should have a five-year track record and they should pay you within three or four days.