Gold Parties are fun, give cash and profit everyone

Money, Shopping | | May 19, 2009 at 14:50

One of the hottest new ways to cash in on surplus goods that you have around the house is to hawk your gold jewelry, coins and even teeth at home gold parties happening all over the country. 

Patterned after every other home party except for the huge twist of selling instead of buying, you go not to purchase more stuff you don’t need just to please a friend or colleague, but actually come home with extra cash.  This is one of the few times that your hostess invites you with the expectation that you will sell, rather than buy – and she is going to get a percentage of that deal.

At the party I attended in Henderson, invited guests came with their velvet boxes, silk bags, plastic cases and ziplock bags of rings, broken chains, single earrings, mother-in-law’s watches and any other bit of jewelry or coin they hoped was real gold.  Some brought extra bits and pieces to convert to mad money, others to supplement a fixed income.  One lady was taking her cash to buy groceries.

A small clear plastic box with gold-backed teeth yielded $300 after the teeth had been smashed with a hammer.  The seller was far happier with the hard cash than a cache of her 90-year old mother’s teeth.  A tiny bit grotesque, perhaps, but she needed money more than sentimentality.  It’s a position a lot of people are finding themselves in today.

Although not the purpose of the party, guests did buy from each other, or trade, as they liked.  The value was determined by gold weight, with the merchant pricing at his purchase rate – one that gave him a good profit margin – giving us the chance to buy some beautiful pieces at great discounts.  Certainly the buyer would prefer to buy the gold from you, rather than you sell to your friends, but they seemed to have more than enough to buy and were willing to assist any side sales.  They wanted us to be happy.  They want to book more parties.

The individual cash sales at this gold party ranged from $30 to $3000.  The buyers paid the hostess a percentage for holding the party and inviting her friends.  My hostess netted a cool $750 for a party of 25 that started at 1pm and ended by 3:30.  The snacks, cookies, strawberries and iced tea purchased at Costco cost about $70.  The hostess herself sold some of her seldom used jewelry and then purchased a handful of beautiful 14 karat cocktail rings, one with fire opals, from one of her invitees, paying the very discounted price of the gold only. 

Our gold buyers were an attractive blonde and her very attractive son, both relaxed, professional and not at all pushy.  They set up the dining room table with a laptop, scales, small bowls for sorting each karat class (10, 14, 18) and a flat whetting stone to test the karat of each piece. They used magnets to test first if the piece was gold; gold is not magnetic.  Then they scraped an edge of the piece on the stone and used chemical reagents on the minute particles left on the stone to ascertain if the piece was 10, 14 or 18 karat.  They weren’t interested in anything less than 10 karat. 

The piece was then weighed and the price calculated based on the weight of the object.  If there were several pieces, they were grouped in small bowls according to karat weight and weighed en masse.  There was no consideration given for craftsmanship, as all pieces were destined to be smelted.  There was no value given either to stones.  Stones could be removed before weighing, or the weight of the whole piece guesstimated. Single pieces like watches and charm bracelets were dismantled if one part was 10 karat and another 14 karat, or not even gold.  It was always your decision at any time to proceed or not.

They had fixed rates for each karat class (10, 14, 18), didn’t really disclose exactly how much they are paying per ounce, and no one seemed to mind.  Sellers were happy to have the money for something they didn’t value that much in the first place – or they decided not to sell.  Some had done some comparative shopping and believed they were getting a better deal than at the local jewelry store or pawn shop.  It might have been possible to bargain for a higher price per gram, but I didn’t see any of that going on and it didn’t seem to be the way it worked.  You wouldn’t dicker over wine prices at a wine party.

As it was always a choice to sell or not, no one left feeling “taken.”  The whole exchange was fun, exhilarating, fascinating, and profitable – and the ideal win-win.  The buyer was getting gold for a price that would give him profit when he resold to the factory and the seller was getting hard cash for something they had decided to let go.  The hostess was getting a cut.  There were lots of smiles all around.