Sunday, March 16, 2008


Well this topic of Gold Selling just gets hotter and hotter so we decided to do some more research and came up with this Gold Buyer Comparison report.
Many folks are asking us 'How do I sell my gold?', 'What's the Best Way to Sell Gold?', 'How can I get the most for my gold?' or 'Who pays most for gold?'.
Our answer was to find out for ourselves so we started sending gold to online gold buyers to find out how it's done and came up with this consumer information report on Gold Selling.

We contacted five Gold Buyers (so far):
We compared them for ease of contact, response, gold price offered, return time for payment and return time for item when payment was declined.
In all cases we followed the recommended online instructions (and TV advertising if we saw it) and we also sent in an identical weight of 14K gold to each.

And the Results of our Gold Buyer Comparison test are in:

Time to receive 'mail in kit' 5 days
Time to receive check in mail 22 days
Amount of check $8.85
Time to receive item back after returning check 7 days
Ease of contact Good
Response Good
Total time spent to get item back 34 days

Time to receive 'mail in kit' 5 days
Time to receive check in mail 11 days
Amount of check $7.46
Time to receive item back after returning check 19 days
Ease of contact Good
Response Good
Total time spent to get item back 35 days

Time to receive 'mail in kit' 5 days
Time to receive check in mail 11 days
Amount of check $7.50
Time to receive item back after returning check 14 days
Ease of contact Good
Response Good
Total time spent to get item back 30 days

Time to receive 'mail in kit' 5 days
Time to receive check in mail 11 days
Amount of check $10.50
Time to receive item back after returning check 11 days
Ease of contact Good
Response Good
Total time spent to get item back 27 days

So far pretty much the same, BrokenGold is leading the pack with payment and slightly better return service but this is where it gets starts getting interesting....

Time to receive 'mail in kit' n/a

We opted to follow Executive Bullion advice and direct ship at our expense Priority Mail for $6.25. Almost as much as we were offered for the gold by the other buyers but we decided to chance it.
This shipment was traceable and insured with the USPS the entire way unlike any of the above 'kits'.

Time to receive check in mail n/a

We got a call on the 3rd day with a quote for $42.05 and could have it sent instantly via PayPal less a fee or have a check mailed Overnight. After deducting the postage we would have gotten $35.80, more than 3 times anyone else's price!
We asked for our item back and were told we would get it back the next day.

Amount of check n/a
Time to receive item back after returning check Overnight
Ease of contact Good
Response Good
Total time spent to get item back 3 days
Simply put we had our choice of money or our item back in 3 days!

And the Winner of our Gold Buyer match-up is:

If you are thinking of selling gold. Shop around and sell wisely.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How are gemstones cut?

The craft and science of cutting and polishing gemstones is known as lapidary. Lapidary comes from the Latin words meaning ‘of and related to stones’. The beginning of the art of cutting gems was probably as simple as rubbing two rocks together to smooth one with the other, which is exactly the way they are cut and polished today, with the added refinement of precision equipment and various man made abrasives.

Primitive lapidary was used to smooth and carve the bright or colorful pebbles and stones that could be found in stream beds and on hillsides as well as the ‘organic’ gems including jet, ivory, amber, shell, bone, coral, bone, teeth and antlers. These softer stones and organics could be scraped or carved with a sharp flint rock and sanded smooth with (you guessed it) sand. Progressively finer finishes could be obtained as more polishing materials were discovered, such as iron oxide from iron ores.

As early as 3000 BC softer gems such as turquoise, malachite, lapis lazuli, and the organic gems were being fashioned into ornaments and gems. Jade, agate and other harder gems were being worked by 1100 BC. The Roman era brought the discovery of emery (ground sharp grained corundum) and the ability to carve or polish virtually any gem was made possible. Diamond point tools and resin/emery saws and wheels were in use in India by 100 AD and lapidary science was in full swing around the known world.

Modern technique is virtually the same process as has been used for thousands of years updated with only improved equipment and the use of graded diamond abrasives and man made polishing compounds.

The basic steps for cutting and polishing gems are:

Sawing or chipping = Preform
Grinding = Shaping
Sanding = Smoothing
Polishing = Final Finish

Gems may also be tumbled, drilled or carved. Stones that are polished into smooth shapes with a domed or rounded top are called ‘cabochon cut’ or ‘cabochons’ and stones with many flat faces are called ‘faceted’.

The actual science of diamond cutting is a latecomer to the lapidary field, only developed a few hundred years ago and only perfected during the 18th century producing the ‘ideal’ cut. The earliest attempts at diamond cutting, because of its extreme hardness, were merely to smooth the natural crystal faces or carve inscriptions into the diamond surface using another sharp diamond crystal as a tool. Today diamonds are sawed using diamond impregnated bronze discs and sliced and drilled with lasers.

The steps in cutting a diamond are:

Sawing and cleaving = Preform
Bruting = Shaping
Blocking = Initial main facets
Brillianteeering = Final Facets

The development of diamond cutting also precipitated the high degree of artistic faceting of all transparent gemstones to bring out their maximum beauty. Today there is a booming trend in unique gemstone cuts that use faceting, carving, concave faceting, laser cutting, ultrasonic carving and combinations of these techniques.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Why doesn't my white gold stay white?

White gold, being an alloy made up of primarily pure gold which of course has it's unique deep yellow color, is often found to be a very pale yellow color instead of true white. This lightening of pure gold's deep color is accomplished by adding metals that contribute to the alloys overall ability to reflect light of all wavelengths thus making it appear "white". The variation in color of different types of white gold alloys stem from the base metals chosen to do the alloying and the percentage of each used in the composition. The various alloys are designed to provide good working qualities during manufacturing as well as the desired color and can all vary somewhat as to the degree of 'whiteness'.
As a result of this variation and the apparent light 'yellowness' to some alloys, white gold jewelry is commonly given a final electroplated finish with rhodium. Rhodium is a precious white metal considered to be a part of the 'platinum group metals' along with osmium, iridium, ruthenium, and palladium. Some of these metals are candidates to be used as alloy metals for white gold along with nickel and silver.
It is the 'rhodium plated' finish that wears away sooner or later on white gold jewelry and allows the color of the actual gold alloy to show through and lets the jewelry take on a yellowish hue. Combined with the scuffing and scratching of normal wear a white gold piece can start to look very dingy. A good polishing to remove scuffing and a fresh rhodium plated finish will give the article a like-new appearance. This plating can last quite some time but ultimately depends on the amount of wear and tear the piece receives. Since most jewelers will charge for this refinishing service due to the high price of rhodium, a couple of times a year should be limit for this type maintenance as excessive polishing will wear out the jewelry prematurely.
There is one more scenario for the 'white gold' that turns colors and that is that it is in fact a yellow gold alloy article that has just been plated white to give it the appearance of white gold. Since it is not white to start with, this type of jewelry will discolor quite rapidly. If the color change was the owners choice they'll have to deal with the constant upkeep of the appearance. If the item was misrepresented as white gold by a seller they buyer may have recourse for a return or replacement of the jewelry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How can I sell my gold jewelry?

We hope everyone is having a happy and prosperous New Year!
We're finally getting around to posting after the busy Holiday season.
With the markets at an all time high in the precious metals commodity markets one frequently asked question now is "How do I sell my jewelry?".
When trying to give good advice sometimes there is no short answer. Let's start by bracketing a basic framework of jewelry resale markets that follow a descending resale pricing structure:

1.Selling your item directly to a consumer will likely get you the highest asking price. This of course requires marketing(advertising), sales presentation, and issues with security,insurance,collecting payments,shipping/delivery etc. Welcome to the jewelry business.

2. Consign your item to a jewelry reseller. You may actually get almost as much for your jewelry using this option however, you could wait a long time for your item to sell. A commission structure will be in place to provide compensation to the reseller for all the costs listed above and their own profit margin which usually means you will accept less for your item to have it sell in a reasonable amount of time.

3. The last option is to sell your jewelry directly to a second hand buyer such as an estate jeweler, pawn shop or bullion dealer. While this usually results in a lower price received for your jewelry it is immediately paid. The strength of the second hand dealer's bid is usually based on the current metals market for worn, broken or outdated jewelry and for better goods the dealer's resources for resale jewelry sales.

So back to the short answer. To sell your jewelry there are three basic options; retail it yourself, consign to a reseller, or sell to a reseller for cash offer.
Weigh your time and cost needs and get some quotes, with the high precious metals markets you may be surprised what you can get for your unwanted jewelry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why is my gold jewelry cracking?

Several conditions can cause gold jewelry to break.

Manufacturing processes such as stamping, forming, casting, soldering and welding can all cause defects that weaken the piece. This type of defect is usually discovered by quality control inspection and the part or item is rejected before ever leaving the production facility.

Another type of break is mechanical stress.While any metal can crack when bent back and forth several times this isn't usually the case with jewelry unless it is a spring, fastening or other mechanism that receives a lot of flexing.

The most common problem is a result of 'corrosion stress fracturing'.
Very common chemicals in our environment can have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the alloy structure of karat gold especially chlorinated water and salt water.

Gold jewelry alloys are designed to make pure gold more durable and take on an attractive coloration depending on the metals used for the alloy. While pure gold is virtually non-reactive to the chemicals in our environment the 'base' metals composing the alloys are highly reactive. Copper gives gold a reddish tint as in 'rose gold' or 'pink gold' and nickel or palladium give gold it's white color. Silver gives gold a very pale color known as 'green gold'. Usually a rich yellow color is imparted to gold by using a mixture of silver and copper. Other trace metals can be added to improve specific working properties of the alloy for casting, rolling, milling, etc.

The effect of all these metals melted together is a crystal matrix of alloyed karat gold. Imagine this mix of metals as a popcorn ball with peanuts(gold), popcorn(silver) and candy(copper) all bonded together. Now imagine running water over this popcorn 'alloy'. The sugar syrup glue starts softening, the popcorn starts getting soggy and the candy starts melting and staining everything. Eventually the popcorn ball loses its shape and crumbles leaving you with a handful of peanuts!

Karat gold is a little like that example in that the microscopic crystal array is a blend of the metals. The chemicals in our environment do the eroding of the alloys and weaken the structure allowing it to crack. At first, this effect can target crevices in the jewelry or stressed areas from the manufacturing process, however if exposure is prolonged or concentrated enough the entire piece can be affected, weakening and discoloring it.

It is best to avoid wearing jewelry while swimming in salt water, chlorinated pool or spa water or even showering in municipal water.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

“Is this jewelry real? It leaves a mark on my skin.”

Many times discoloration left by jewelry on skin and clothes is possible even with the finest jewelry. Commonly called ‘gold smudge’ by jewelers, there are many possible reasons for this discoloration such as body chemistry and allergy, outside chemical exposure such as cosmetics and body-care products, water treatment chemicals and even air pollution. Microscopic physical abrasion of the jewelry by skin and clothing can also cause ‘smudging’ since fine particles of the metal are being worn away and deposited on the surface rubbing against the jewelry.

Abrasion- Fine dust and even body powder caught on the skin surface and fabrics act as ‘polishing’ agents that rub tiny amounts of metal from jewelry into the wearer’s skin and clothing leaving a stain. Try this test: Take a small piece of cloth and dust onto it some cosmetic powder or talc. Rub the bottom of a ring on the cloth back and forth quickly several times staying on the same area of the cloth. This will usually leave a dark streak on the cloth showing a quick example of ‘gold smudge’.

- Pure gold is a very stable metal that is considered non-reactive for the most part. It takes very strong acids, heat or electric current to break down its crystalline structure. Since it is very malleable it is difficult to design durable jewelry using pure gold. The alloy metals used to create Karat gold, usually silver, copper, nickel, and zinc are highly reactive so they oxidize and are affected by other chemicals very easily. Cosmetics and body products contain vast arrays of chemicals both botanical and manufactured. It is these compounds which can react with the base metals of karat gold alloys and cause tarnish, smudge and even corrosion stress fracturing of the jewelry. It is my personal observation that the essential oils used as scent bases for perfumes and colognes are very good at creating a ‘rainbow’ of different tarnish colors on gold jewelry. Municipal water, swimming pools, spas and salt water all contain chemicals that affect karat gold jewelry. Chlorine and sodium chloride (salt) are especially harmful to gold jewelry if the exposure is long term or concentrated. Taking jewelry off when swimming and bathing is a very good idea. Never clean jewelry in chlorine bleach! Even urban and industrial air pollution can cause tarnishing if extreme enough concentrations.

So while cheap imitation jewelry may ‘turn your finger green’ it may well be that your environment can affect your finest jewelry in a similar fashion. The best prevention is to keep your jewelry clean and away from contaminants.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Birth of the ClassicGoldsmith's Blog

Well this is something we've been waiting to do for a long time.

Primarily set up with the idea of a Q&A type forum we are going to include many 'how to' and demonstration videos for the handcrafting of jewelry as we get them edited and uploaded.
Bring on the topics! Whether consumer advice, hobby interests, career information or even 'trade secrets', we can get you answers.

Watch for our Information Links and Videos in the near future.