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Striking gold

MILLERTON — Due to the uncertainty in the stock market and the foreign exchange markets, gold remains in the news these days for its record-setting highs and roller-coaster values.Accredited jewelry professional Betsy Trotta-Saunders, owner of Elizabeth’s Jewelry and Fine Gifts in Millerton, said that the strong value in gold has resulted in more Americans selling their gold jewelry than ever before.“People feel safe putting their money in gold,” said Trotta-Saunders. “There is no doubt that now is a good time to sell.”Trotta-Saunders said the price per ounce of gold has roughly quadrupled in the last seven years. That, paired with the large amounts of publicity surrounding the value increase, has spurred a steady increase in the numbers of people selling jewelry.The most popular items that are sold to Elizabeth’s Jewelry and Fine Gifts, said Trotta-Saunders, are pieces of broken jewelry and out-of-fashion styles from decades passed.To sell gold, customers can bring their pieces into the store, where they will be tested to determine the carat, or purity, of the metal. If requested by the customer, stones can be cut out of the jewelry.The price offered per ounce is taken based on London’s closing price from the day before.Everyone who sells gold to the store is required to fill out a form, which helps police locate stolen jewelry,After buying jewelry, the store holds the items for a certain amount of time to make sure that no one comes looking for stolen jewelry.From there, the store sells most of the metal to a refinery, where it is melted down and sold as recycled metal. Some of the metal is made into new jewelry while some is made into parts for electronics.Occasionally, the jewelry store will buy a piece of jewelry from a customer that is so unique that they keep it to resell in the store, but Trotta-Saunders said this is rare for her store.Because nearly all of the purchased gold is melted down, Trotta-Saunders said that if a customer has reservations about selling a particular piece, it’s best to hold on to it because it will be impossible to get it back once it has been melted.Trotta-Saunders said that the vast majority of people who sell their gold do so because they know they are getting a great deal due to the current market demand for the metal.She said that many of the sellers use the money they receive to purchase new jewelry. Trotta-Saunders noted that there have been significant increases in the value of silver, platinum, copper and other metals as well, so there has been a parallel increase in the number of people selling old silver teapots and platters.She said that despite the optimistic atmosphere surrounding the selling of gold and other metals, caution is still necessary.“If we could predict what will happen, we’d all be rich,” she said. “At any time it could sink back down.”The markets have proved that in recent weeks, with steady gains and sudden drops in value.Trotta-Saunders also said that it is important to sell to a licensed professional in a store. This protects the seller and ensures a fairer price than what will be offered by unlicensed or mail-in gold-purchasing companies.

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