People looking for a reliable investment are finding it in gold. That is driving up demand and leading to the bombardment of ads urging anyone to ‘Sell Your Old Jewelry!’
The ads are no surprise to Greg Taylor, president of Randolph Read Trading Group, a commodity brokerage firm in Acworth.
Gold buyers usually refine the pieces into pure gold bars to be traded on the market. Analysts say gold has a reputation for being a reliable investment, and is largely independent of real estate values and the government's actions. Taylor said his firm, which trades gold futures, has seen an increasing number of clients wanting to invest in gold.
"The increase in interest is evident, as seen in the rise in price," Taylor said.
Gold buyers, too, say business is booming.
John Richards, who manages the Gold and Coin Exchange at 1185 Cobb Parkway near Bells Ferry Road in Marietta, said many people can't resist the fact that gold is selling for more than $1,000 per ounce.
"They see the value of the dollar going down and the value of gold going up. So they trade in that cash instead of keeping it at the bank," Richards said.
"It's been a recession for the last few years, but people have been holding out. They don't want to sell sentimental jewelry or coins that they've inherited from their parents. But now they're seeing that the price of gold is so high, that when their parents bought it at $200 an ounce, they're just cashing in now while gold is really high."
His customers range from old Atlanta families who bring in heirlooms to people looking to get money for necklaces, bracelets, rings and other jewelry. He said an average men's class ring ranges from $100 to $200, he said.
But he warns that consumers must beware of scams and fly-by-night gold companies.
"Go to a local, reputable, licensed precious metals dealer, and deal with somebody in person where (you) can see the scales," Richards said. Scales must be registered with the Department of Agriculture.
The Georgia Buying Group opened its fourth store in Cobb a month ago, on the corner of Roswell and Fairground streets, and manager Shana Cowan said she's seeing a steady stream of customers with little advertisement.
"Some people are really just hard up for extra cash," Cowan said. "They need to pay some bills or they're down on their luck. That's usually the case. Or they've gone through a bunch of stuff and found a lot of things they don't wear or care to have anymore."
Taylor, the commodity trader in Acworth, said many investors use gold to protect against inflation, even though as with all investments, there are risks.
But he believes investors will remain interested in gold "as long as the interest rate is low and there is an expectation for inflation to exist."