Selling your gold for cash

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Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - It's a way to make quick cash in a down economy, but does selling your gold really pay? Eyewitness news found out if you can really get a good deal when you turn over your gold jewelry for cash.

It's one of the most precious of precious metals. But if you watch television, read a paper or go online, there has apparently never been a better time to unload your gold.

It is a reaction, of course, to the economy. Job losses, stock losses and downsizing are forcing people, some desperate, to sell their jewelry.

But how do you know if the buyer, who is enticing you with promises of cash and perhaps lots of it, is playing fair and giving you what that necklace or bracelet is worth.

Eyewitness News took a hidden camera to pawn shops and a jewelry store to find out what our gold was worth. We presented the jewelers and store owners with a 14-karat necklace, a 14-karat bracelet, a pair of 14-karat gold earrings and a 10-karat class ring. First, they all examined the jewelry, one store tested it, and it was weighed and priced.

At the pawn shop, we were offered $65 for the necklace, $50 for the bracelet, $10 for the earrings and $15 for the ring.

Clearly, there was a big difference in what some were willing to pay. We then took the gold to the state's only independent appraiser, Katherine Folger. She examined and priced each piece based on its weight and the current price of a troy ounce of gold.

Our bracelet came in at $107. She appraised the necklace at $129 - double the price of what the pawn shop offered. She valued the earrings at $18 and the ring at $19. The grand total for all the items was $273, nearly in line with the jewelry store which priced the pieces at $267 and more than the lowest offer of $210 from a pawn shop.

"One was really close. The other ones - it's a buyers market now and it's unfortunate that people get taken advantage of, but I'm not surprised," said Folger.

So while all of those offers of cash for gold may sound good, unless you do some homework before you sell, you may walk away less like Midas and more like a mark.

Remember that the price of gold can fluctuate from day to day. The quote you receive when you call a store might not be the same when you take your jewelry to the store. An appraiser can help you determine the value of the jewelry and the karat and weight of the gold to get the best price.

Katherine Folger is the only independent appraiser in state. Her office is 6100 North Keystone. Contact number: 257-4367. It's recommended that you take your jewelry to three different jewelers to get the best price, and avoid pawn shops.