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Gold and Silver Jewelry Bargains, If You Know Value
Where and When to Shop for Gold Jewelry
Gold was about $300 a ounce in the 1990s and early 2000s. 23011 found it above $1300 with people saying it will go to $2000. If you consider inflation in general, gold should be about $750 an ounce, just like gasoline should be $2.50-3 a gallon in the U.S.A. Too bad our pay checks have not kept up! Though retailers' jewelry prices have increased exponentially, you can still find bargains.
TV vendors are responding to the economic downturn with reductions in Quality and Prices. Watch out for the poor quality: 10 K, light weight, mystery metals, heavily included stones or those that are not the ideal color. Some specific problems for which to watch: "white" diamonds that are nearly opaque (no sparkle), emeralds (green berryl) that are light mint green (not an emerald to me). drilled and filled rubies, and gold plating over mystery metals.
I don't know why, but rings predominate with the TV vendors, as if we all had 20 fingers. Watch late night for the best values. Post Christmas and July are the best times of the year to buy. Check www.KITCO.com for current gold prices (Jewelry Section). You must know the current price of gold, called the "spot price" before you go shopping. Retail jewelry prices are 3-5 time the cost of the components. Gold value is easy to calculate, colored gem stones require more knowledge and experience. Diamonds prices have escalated along with gold. Check quality stores to see the best, then go shopping at independent jewelers and estate sales.
TV vendors: JTV has too much 10K and silver for me. Perry's Estate Jewelry on Ch. 224 offers a range of prices with trays of silver items at $50 to high-end pieces in the thousands. DSN -- I have a love/hate relationship with this vendor. If you buy stones from DSN, check them carefully. Get a magnifier (10 X) and check for poor cutting (not symmetrical) and inclusions, especially ones that go across a stone and can cause a stone to crack. The company introduced a restocking fee in 2010, but show hosts don't mention it often. Rubies are frequently a featured item. The embargo (Bush 2 legislation) means the end to importing Mogok rubies directly from Burma, but who knows what the world supply is. Jan. 2010 Direct Shopping Network said it was selling off all tanzanites, saying that the management made a decision to stop buying them, yet hosts continue to sell tanzanite. Volatility of prices was one reason given. Caroline is back with estate and closeout jewelry on Sat. afternoon on Ch 225. The show is crazy, but offers bargains.
BIDZ.com and Buyz.com have cheep to expensive jewelry. If you bid on a "reserve price" item and are the highest bidder (but still below the reserve), you may get an offer to buy the item. I have had some fantastic offers, a 22K gold necklace weighing 71 grams for $2000. I finally decided not to buy because I don't go to places where I could wear something like that. Buyz items cost more than Bidz.
E-BAY Look at the history of sellers and the other items a seller offers. Repeat buyers are a good sign. If a seller has mostly cheap gems, with one special one, don't buy from that seller. If gems or gold jewelry are real, you will probably pay a fair price for them. That is why you need to know about stones and gold before you buy. I've returned at least 5 items that were fake or not as pictured and been reimbursed for them. Once I was reimbursed without returning the item; it depends on the seller. It's a lot of trouble and cost to return foreign items. If the item is fake (counterfeit), the policy was that the buyer does not have to return it. The only problem is that PayPal and E-bay are saying that fake gems do not fit it's definition of "counterfeit". A lot of gold and gems are from foreign sources, especially Thailand. Thailand is known for it's inventiveness with gem "enhancements". The Thai gem certificates are not worth anything. You must have a valuable gem checked for authenticity by a reputable lab or a jeweler that you trust with the proper equipment. You can buy a gem refractometer and the toxic oil needed to use it. I've found it not as easy to read as advertised. Some gems have overlapping readings and the line to read is often faint. If you plan to buy a lot of gems, it's worth the $120. (An appraiser and jeweler with more than 30 years experience in the Monterey Bay California area is Craig H. at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.) E-bay should tell buyers to insure returns for full cost, even if the item is a piece of junk. Otherwise PayPal may not reimburse you. Of course this may create customs duty problems for the seller. Items get held up in customs and not delivered promptly, but you get reimbursed only if you have a tracking number. This is a glitch. Get a tracking number on returns. I've recently had a big problem using PayPal Plus Credit Card with TradeTang.com. You don't have the same protection that you do with a regular credit card or with E-Bay, as far as I can tell. The customer service people neglect to tell you important information at PayPal Plus Credit.
Chain stores My opinion is that jewelry prices in chain stores are ridiculously high. At KMART a 3-4 gram 10K bracelet was "on sale for 70% off" for $300. Since is contains about $40-80 worth of real gold, depending on day's gold prices, that's a huge mark-up. These 70% off sales are just a marketing ploy. The jewelry was never sold at the high price.
Stones, colored gems, are difficult to evaluate. Color, cut, clarity, weight, scarcity and wear-ability (hardness) all effect price. An example is today's ( Oct. 30 2008) price of 14 K gold at KITCO (price for company buying 1-15 oz ) is $12.65 per gram. If a ring has 5 grams of gold, it's a great price at $99. www.kitco.com It's more complicated to find this information for gems because of all the factors. That's why we have gemologists. There are books with gem prices, and you can search the internet stores and E-bay to get loose stone prices. For diamonds the Rapport report is the "blue book".
Psychology Remember just because it's cheap, doesn't mean that you should buy it. Be wise with you money, but buy the best you can afford and what you will enjoy wearing or giving to someone. Don't buy jewelry as an investment unless you have experience selling jewelry. Jewelers will usually give you only the wholesale or melt price for gold, if that. (Refer back to KITCO for prices.) When buying for loved ones, remember, the price you spend does not equal the love you feel.
Buying locally Your local, non-chain jeweler, not located in big malls, probably has the best deals and may have some unusual and high-end items. Make friends with these jewelers.
I have a more complete discussion of the above topics in my book called
Enhanced, Plated, Irradiated and Lab Created: What Jewelry Vendors Don't Want You to Know. Available on www.PayLoadz.com, ( it's a downloadable document) search the title in the PayLoadz "store".