We’ve had a busy couple of months! With both kids sifting through acceptance letters and financial aid packages, we’ve been on the road visiting a few more colleges before they make their final decisions. We’ll be emptying out a lot more drawers as they both head off to school in just a few months!
We started decluttering by going through our bedroom. My husband sold his baseball umpiring equipment on Craigslist. It was perfect timing because high school baseball practices start here next week. We also have a few bags of clothes and shoes ready to donate.
One thing we hadn’t thought much about was going through our jewelry drawers. We both found jewelry that we haven’t worn in years (or ever!) It was time to figure out what we wanted to keep and get rid of. And to be honest, I hadn’t really thought much about any other option.
I worked at a fancy pants jewelry store in college and it scared me to even take some of the expensive items out of the cases! I was a terrible salesperson because I hated the idea of people spending thousands of dollars on things I didn’t value at all.
We don’t wear a lot of jewelry. Wedding bands, and my earrings, and a bracelet or necklace – and that’s about it. I laughed as I threw away some jewelry that was no longer the “color” it was when I purchased it. And we didn’t even buy some of the jewelry that had been sitting in our drawers…
We had items that were gifts and jewelry that had been passed down. If it was “costume” jewelry, we talked about where it came from and added things we didn’t want to our donation bags. A few things were so ugly (or broken) – that we threw them out. But there were a number of items that looked expensive and we knew some of them were made of gold.
We talked about the sentimental value of a few pieces and we set those aside. A few of the pieces we didn’t really care about were either 14K or 18K, so we talked about another option – reselling the gold.
My husband took the items to a local jeweler we know and he said they could definitely be resold, but not through him. And he couldn’t really estimate what we might get for them either.
So we started looking online at “how to” guides on reselling gold. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) had some tips in this article on ABC News back in 2011 that seemed smart to follow. (Gold was at record prices near $1900/ounce back then and prices are just over $1200 now.)
Here are some of the BBB’s suggestions:
- Understand the scales. Pennyweights, grams and Troy ounces are terms you should know.
- Know your karats. The scrap value of jewelry is based on the fineness of the alloy (10K, 14K or 18K).
- Keep your karats separate. Have jewelry of different karats weighed separately. We have a small digital scale we use to weigh envelopes/packages – it was very helpful in understanding the approximate weight of gold we had of each alloy.
- Know the value. Check a site like www.goldprice.org to have an idea what your gold is worth.
- Check out buyers. We found a number of gold buyers in an urban area near us. My husband went to three different buyers (that we reviewed on the BBB site and through other online reviews).
- Consider having your jewelry appraised. We skipped this because we just didn’t think we had that much jewelry and we didn’t feel it would be worth it (but maybe we were wrong here too!)
We also knew that we had to be realistic (the BBB even suggested that!) The buyers have to make money too – and we didn’t really know what to expect in terms of their profit margin. We didn’t want to take weeks trying to figure this out and we had no intention of trying to sell anything ourselves. And we definitely didn’t want this back in our almost empty jewelry drawers.
We didn’t consider mail-away services because we had so many local options. If you look at mail-away, the BBB suggests sending items insured and carefully reading the terms and conditions. They also remind people to take photos of the items sent. Finding out how you can turn down the offer you are given or how long it will take to receive payment is also important. Be really careful with all the paperwork too!
When we talked about reselling the jewelry, I said I would be thrilled if we made even a hundred dollars (and I honestly wasn’t sure we would even get that!) My husband was pretty sure we would get at least that much and maybe a few hundred more. Some of the jewelry we had wasn’t stamped and some pieces were really lightweight. We really didn’t know what to expect at all.
My husband went to the first buyer (store) and brought two forms of ID because he knew it was required (and another way to tell if you should avoid a buyer!) After getting the first estimate, he went to two other buyers to see what they would offer.
I was at work and my husband didn’t text me the first estimate. They were going to pay him $1,050 for the jewelry sitting in our drawers! The next buyer offered him $1,175 and the last one offered him $1,350. The last buyer had the highest ratings and reviews too.
He handed over the gold jewelry that sat in our drawers for the last decade and walked out with a check. And he still didn’t text or call me. He just left the check sitting on the kitchen table for me to see when I got home.
Maybe we should have been able to estimate the value better, but this was one terrific surprise. I was happy to have been conservative on my guesses and totally wrong about what they might pay for a few pieces of old jewelry in a baggie.
We could have sold that gold sitting in the drawer for over $2,000 back in 2011 but we didn’t. And based on the chart below from www.goldprice.org, we are happy we didn’t sell a decade ago either.
When I was researching the “how to’s” of reselling gold, I came across this CNBC Money article from January of this year. It suggests gold might sell for over $1400 by 2018. That’s might. Maybe it’ll be selling for more, maybe less. Who knows.
We’re not interested in timing the gold market.
We just deposited the check and we’ll use it to make an extra principal payment on one of our mortgages. It’s not exciting or glamorous (OK – Penny, we all know you think it’s exciting!) But it is increasing our net worth and soon it will be increasing our cash flow (when another house is paid off.) And we find that pretty damn exciting.
How do you think we did selling our gold? Have you ever sold gold or jewelry before? Do you have old jewelry sitting in a drawer somewhere? Are you hanging onto it because you think you’ll wear it someday? Or maybe for sentimental reasons? If you have any suggestions about what we could have done different, share away!