Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where to buy gold jewelry

There are a lot of sources for gold jewelry. Jewelry stores are the last place that you want to look. Even at the "80% off blowout sales" you can expect to pay a hefty premium over spot. There are plenty of other great places to buy gold, though.

Department stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart are probably the easiest places to find cheap gold at close to spot. Just look for the clearance items. You can usually find some really small baubles for $15-$100 in 10k and 14k. You can bring a scale but a lot of times the tag will have the weight on it in grams. I've found several pieces for 10% under spot on the clearance rack. Keep in mind that most of the bigger pieces are hollow so they're lightweight and fragile. This is actually a benefit in my eyes since it's a lot cheaper that way. Department stores are the cheapest source for gold that you know is real without having to test it.

Pawn shops are another option. Most of them will mark down substantially anything that's been on the shelf for a while. I just picked up a ring with a 1/10 oz gold eagle in it for less than spot because they'd had it for over 6 months. Bring a scale and if you're not sure if it's real ask them to test it. They should have an acid gold testing kit handy. I'll explain how those work in another article. If you're not into haggling then you probably won't like pawn shops much. A lot of times the sticker price will be pretty close to retail. I use that as a basis for what I can potentially get the price down to. Since most pawn shops will buy anything it pays to know how to deal with them. They can be great sources for all kinds of preparedness gear. You just have to be wary and know what you're looking for.

Coin shops can also be a good source of gold jewelry. Most shops that I frequent have a small selection of gold jewelry under the glass or in the back. You just have to ask to look at it. The one that I go to sells it at spot. Unfortunately, the selection is usually very limited and a lot of times they won't have any selection at all. Coin shops are by far my favorite place to buy gold jewelry just because they only care about the value of the gold. Unfortunately, they have to have some in stock for me to buy it. Sometimes you can get some really nice pieces that you might even be able to sell for a premium at the right jewelry store or on Ebay. It's always worthwhile to at least ask.

There are a few other sources that I haven't really dabbled in yet. I know that you can get some deals on Ebay if you know what to search for. Starting with "scrap gold" should get you on the right track. I just don't trust it enough. Stick to reputable dealers with high feedback if you're going to use Ebay. After a quick search I saw a few really good deals that were ending in minutes. I imagine that this goes on all day.

Garage and estate sales can work. You won't usually find anything of significant value here, though, without doing some talking. Estate sales may have everything laid out but you can bet that anything that's of significant value will either be long gone or in the beneficiary's jewelry chest. The key here is to talk. I like to pull up to garage sales on my motorcycle. When they ask what I can expect to carry home on it I just tell them that I'm looking for gold or silver jewelry. Most of the time they just give me a confused look but sometimes I get someone who's willing to let me take a look at some jewelry pieces that they don't care much about. You can get some good deals with this method. More importantly, you get an excuse to ride. When you come home from a nice long ride and you have a nice gold necklace for your wife in your pocket then all is quickly forgiven.

If you're really daring you could also try to put together a gold party. You'll probably need a few grand in cash on hand to do this. I don't know how the "pros" do it but I imagine that it involves not telling anyone how much their gold is actually worth. Come up with a number that you use as spot that's significantly under the actual spot price and make offers on whatever people show up with accordingly. If they bought it 20 years ago then they'll probably freak out when they find out how much you're willing to give them. If you're ethical then you'll explain to everyone about the spot price of gold. If you're a dirt bag who's just in it to make a quick buck at the expense of ignorant people then you can tell them whatever you want. There's obviously a cost built into organizing and holding an event like this but I would encourage anyone interested in doing it to be fair. Tell people how much you're willing to pay beforehand and give them time to do their due diligence ahead of time.

So there you have it. If you've got another good source for gold jewelry I'd love to hear about it. For the most part it's pretty simple. It's really easy to pay too much if you don't know what you're buying. Once you get it down, though, then you won't get screwed.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying this series. There is so much out there about "buy precious metals" or "buy jewelry" without these kinds of really valid suggestions. Thanks for publishing!

The Urban Survivalist said...

That's what got me to thinking about it. Everyone wants you to buy gold. No one wants you to know how to buy gold. The options are endless and if you're careful and you know what you're doing then you're paying too much if you pay spot.

Kyle said...

I'm anon from above -

This is hugely helpful from the point of view that gold, as a compact store of wealth, was and is very commonly worn for this simple reason. In SE Asia, the whole "gold or silver bracelets of known weight" were and are common tricks. The best way to get this type of setup, in my mind, is a fairly substantial piece of jewelry of defined purity and weight per segment that you can snip off as needed. Gold is obviously the best bet. Using your suggestions, one is going to

My wife and I bought quite a bit of Hmong silver when we were in Laos a few years ago, and I bought a decent amount of coins. It's almost funny how alien the concept of carrying currency of universal value on your person is in the "modern" world.

Kyle said...

Sigh...

"Using your suggestions, one is able to acquire enough material at reasonable prices for this to be achieved while paying a minimum over spot, i.e. an otherwise difficult-to-attain achievement."

Anonymous said...

I still have an issue as to gold vs. silver. Assuming you were to pay the markup for a 1/10 oz of gold,and wait for the spot price to cover your premium,what will the "known" value be in an EMP situation? You won't know the daily spot pricing,only the last known price.
Would you pay 1 oz for a new tire for your bugout vehicle? A 1/10 oz for a steak? Would you accept gold or silver if your already running low on food or fuel?
I wish I could give credit for a post I read the other day,regarding what people NEED,rather than want. Such as ammo, bicycle tire's, food, so on.What would you pay for a nice pair of boots when SHTF? Gold and silver will PRESERVE your wealth in that situation,but I won't carry much that I can't eat!
Dean in az

Kyle said...

This is going to be long, but let me provide an example of using the inherent worth of a precious metal in an emergency, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI situation vs. "economic wealth preservation." The "specific, accurate international spot value" of the precious metal is relevant to a certain point, but past that, it can do stuff that firearms can't.

My wife was born in Laos just after the communist takeover. Her father fought against the Vietnamese invaders and continued to operate after the cease-fire. Her mother was given the opportunity to become a toadie of the communist party by publicly denouncing her husband and disavowing him, but she wouldn't do it.

Attempts to re-educate her failed. So they started by cutting off food rations to her and her two children. There was a public pronouncement that anyone that helped them will have the same done to them.

Side note - the Lao communists ran things on the ground after the Vietnamese did the fighting and installed the national puppet government. The Vietnamese fielded the troops and looted the natural resources, but weren't interested in administering the government at low levels. This turned out to be a blessing. The totalitarianism and autocracy of Stalinism was left in-tact, although the Lao are culturally pretty mellow, so we're obviously not talking China or Cambodia here. They attempted to suppress Buddhism but failed utterly, as nobody would go along with it.

This took place concurrent to several cycles that are important to understand here:

1. Change of the currency. When Laos was administered by the French as part of French Indochina, the currency was backed by silver and gold. The coins were mostly silver. After independence, there was a mix of currency types, although there was a heavy emphasis on paper, backed by precious metals as well as US dollars and Thai baht (this is really shorthand and not completely accurate but suffices for this conversation). Basically, anybody could get precious metals, and people traded in a variety of currencies.

After the communist takeover, a 1:1 trade for a new paper currency was made for people with existing cash, UP TO A POINT, i.e. the point was to impoverish the upper and middle classes and do away with savings.

Later, another currency reissue was made, trading the already debased currency in for an even weaker currency in even smaller amounts. Again - the whole idea here was to make everybody poor and dependent on the centralized system. This took a lot of doing as Laos was a country with very little infrastructure and almost zero centralization.

2. There was also significant confiscation of wealth, food, i.e. anything of value. If you had, say, 200 lbs of rice, they would take all of it and then provide enough to cover your "needs" based on your family size. This would of course vary by area.... If you had gold or silver, they'd take it. If there were rumors that you had cached some, guess who gets a midnight knock on the door and a stay in a prison until you revealed the location? This was ratcheted down even tighter over the years.

Kyle said...

Thus - my mother in law knew that she had to get out, that to stay would mean death for her and her children. Her husband had gotten in touch with smugglers in their family who were ready to leave for good. They approached her and said "We leave tonight, are you coming?" She dug up a cache of silver coins that she had prepared for this purpose and they started traveling towards Thailand and the refugee camps.

After a dangerous journey of several days, which I won't go into, and dealing with Thai soldiers who stripped them of almost everything of value, she was still in possession of much of her cache of silver.

Upon entering the refugee camps, they were introduced to a glorious bureaucracy that, in a round-about way, made it clear that getting on the rolls (and thus qualifying for food and water, a place to sleep, and, most importantly, being reached by other people, like family members, aid groups, etc.) was a case of paying the right bribe to the right people. The bribe could take many forms, wink wink. It was also apparent that many of the people taking bribes would not do what they were supposed to. Eventually, after several days, she bribed the right person the equivalent of about $200 in silver, and she was set.

Reporting to a refugee camp is never on my list of #1 choices, but she had to do it to get ahold of her husband, have a safe place to stay, feed her children, and emigrate to the US. No guns in the camps. Can't bribe with food. Even if you're not headed to a camp, if you're on the move, and things are a mess, you will have to be able to pay people, guaranteed.

The Urban Survivalist said...

Kyle I'd love to see you do a guest post on this very topic. artyboy at gmail dot com is my email if you're interested. This is the type of information that people really need to have to truly round out their preps. I have a friend who went through the same type of ordeal when she was a very young girl. Her family was wealthy before the communist takeover. By the time they made it to the US they were pretty much penniless but at least they were free. Now she's a really tough lady with a heart of gold (and lots of gold jewelry) and a few grand in her pocket pretty much all the time.

Anonymous said...

when you buy gold jewelry from Ebay, even from highly rated sellers, make sure you get it appraised right away. That high rating doesn't necessarily mean they don't cheat you. They will, but if you tell them
you just had it appraised and it's not what you paid for, they will work it out for you and thus keep their high rating. DON"T TRUST THAT HIGH SELLERS RATING. Get it appraised to be certain. This goes for the bullion gold coins as well. Krugerrands, Eagles, etc.

The Urban Survivalist said...

See my post on how to use a gold acid test kit. Between that and a scale its hard to get screwed if you're just paying the price of the gold content.

dancilhoney said...

Thanks to the internet, to buy gold bars online is as easy as buying books or electronic gadgets as these are available on a lot of auction sites as well. gold bars for sale

www.jewelsite.com said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

is silver jewelry worth keeping for a SHTF event?

The Urban Survivalist said...

I have some silver jewelry. I used to work for a big silver jewelry wholesaler years ago so I managed to build up a pretty decent stash when it was really cheap. One thing I've noticed is that it's hard to get anywhere near spot price when you try to sell silver jewelry unless it's a nice piece that you're selling as a piece of jewelry. The same goes for real silverware.

Jeremy Banachita said...

I got a 14k gold for my special someone, and I took time looking on it then let it check my a gold specialist and I found it wasn't compost as 14k, I really to know where to buy trusted source of this jewels! where to buy gold in our town? the best market place

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Joey Constanza said...

For most of us, the idea of buying and selling gold jewelry seems pretty simple. Little do we know that there are specialty stores that just do this. Yeah you could go to a big retailer and sell them your watch, but are you getting the best value for it? Do a bit of research and go to a proper jewelry buyer. http://www.westcovinapawn.com/gold---jewelry.html

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I love the jewelry on Erwood and Stone shop - https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErwoodAndStone

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