Tips: Cash in Your Gold for Green

As gold nears a record-high, Americans are trading in their bling for cash.

March 13, 2008— -- Near record-high gold prices have Americans panning their closets and jewelry boxes in search of gold they can exchange for cash.

Watch "GMA" Friday as we investigate whether the Cash for Gold advertisements that saturate the broadcast airwaves are too good to be true. Elisabeth Leamy uncovers the truth about the tempting promises.

This year alone, the price of gold is up 17 percent, nearing $1,000 an ounce. Whether it's to pay for higher bills at the gas station or the supermarket, people are discovering they can trade in their gilded trinkets at jewelers or wholesalers for more than they ever expected.

"People who bought gold for investment are saying now's the time to cash it in and melt it down. So it's truly a new gold rush," explained Ann Zimmerman of The Wall Street Journal.

GMA contributor Wendy Bounds, also from The Journal, decided to test out how easy it really is to turn your family gold into green, by taking her old jewelry to the store to try and hawk it for herself. Here's what she learned:

Experts say it's the karat that counts: the higher the karat the more you get for it — 24 karat is the purest form of the metal, with jewelry typically 18k.

To make sure you get top dollar, check the paper for the market price that day.

Try to sell your gold to a wholesaler, not a jewelry store. The wholesaler deals directly with the gold refinery, so you're bound to get a better deal. Many wholesalers allow you to mail your gold in, so check their Web sites. Also make sure they are registered with the Better Business Bureau.