Consumers cash in on jewellery -- but all that glitters not gold
GOLD prices soared to their highest level ever this week, but consumers hoping to cash in need to make sure the returns are literally worth their weight in gold.
A new survey has found huge variations in the price paid by a number of the firms offering cash for gold.
Prices offered for 30g of nine-carat gold ranged from €147 to €270, according to the survey.
The prices quoted -- although no sale was finalised and prices can vary day to day -- were:
- Goldrush.ie -- €147.51
- Goldtocash.ie -- €157.50
- Goldparty.ie -- €210
- Scrap-gold-buyers.ie -- €243
- Dublin Gold Exchange -- €270
However, Goldrush.ie said the reason its price was lowest in the Consumer Association of Ireland survey was that it was an offshoot of the Jack and Jill Foundation, and a significant share of the proceeds -- in this case, another €40 -- went directly to the charity which supports severely ill children.
"The prices we pay are based on commercial rates, but then taking 22pc off for Jack and Jill and 22pc for administration. The aim is to encourage people to send in their old jewellery so they're benefitting charity, but also getting something back themselves," said Ian Molloy of Folamh, the recycling partner of Jack and Jill which operates Goldrush.ie.
"We set this up two years ago as it seemed an ideal way to raise money, but since then so many companies have got into the market that it is difficult for us to compete, as we end up being seen as a commercial body when that's not what we're about," he said.
Gold was trading yesterday at a record $1,500 (€920) an ounce as investors turn away from volatile financial markets to a traditional safe bet; and with analysts predicting this will climb to $1,700 (€1,042) over the next four years, many consumers will seek to get cash for their unwanted jewellery.
'Consumer Choice' magazine, which publishes the survey in its new edition, urged people who wanted to cash in on gold to shop around.
It cautioned that world gold prices were based on 24-carat gold, whereas most gold in Ireland was nine carats, which meant its selling price was much lower, although it can be calculated by multiplying the 24-carat price by 0.375.
Another 10pc had to be allowed for the cost of melting the gold down, and the retail price paid for jewellery bore little relation to its final worth, as a €200 necklace could fetch as little as €20, it said.
The magazine also warned that consumers should take care when posting gold that it was insured and registered. Sellers should also be wary of shops that paid in cash and didn't ask for a name and address.
Fine Gael TD and former senator John Paul Phelan has called for greater regulation of the cash-for-gold trade because of concerns about links to criminal elements. The gardai are carrying out an investigation into how much stolen gold is being sold through shops.