With the price of gold soaring amid another wave of global financial turmoil, experts warn that people seeking to cash in jewelry and coins need to be cautious about who they deal with.
The recent wild swings in the stock market and fears about government debts have driven the price of gold to record highs, as people seek a safe place to park their money.
It’s also driven up the value of old gold jewelry — by as much as seven times for trinkets like a 25-year-old gold chain.
But the Edmonton branch of the Better Business Bureau cautions people looking to sell their jewelry should shop around before settling on a buyer.
The widely advertised company Cash4Gold, for instance, only has a C rating from the bureau and has had 337 complaints against it in the last three years, as well as being under investigation in Florida.
"Before you're even going to them, get some appraisals done on your own," advised Ron Mycholuk of the Edmonton BBB.
Expert buyer and seller Clinton Beck of Beck Gold and Diamond Brokers on 144th Avenue advised to stay away from places where you have send gold off in the mail.
"You shouldn't have to send anything that valuable away in the mail. The most it can be insured for is a hundred dollars," he said.
A better idea is to try local pawn shops that buy gold, where a seller can get an appraisal right away and move on to the next store if they don't like the price.
"Look online, that's probably the easiest place to find local ones in your local marketplace," Beck said. "Look for the most important thing, [which] is how long have they been in business, do they have a business licence."
Dealers also recommend removing any gems from gold jewelry before bringing it in to be sold, otherwise they may get lost.
Gold futures hit a new nominal high of just over $1,800 US an ounce Wednesday morning — more than double what it traded at two years ago. The all-time inflation-adjusted high was in the early 1980s, when bullion traded at about $850 an ounce, or nearly $2,400 in today’s dollars.