These aren’t your mother’s Tupperware parties. With the economic crisis continuing to reach new heights—or drop ever closer to rock bottom, depending on how you want to look at it—more and more people are hurting for cash. People the nation over are looking to bring in additional income in a variety of creative ways.
One of the more unusual methods is throwing or attending gold parties.
“At a recent gold party in Montclair, N.J., gold party hostess Amy Barnett watched as friends and neighbors collected hundreds of dollars in cash for their old and unwanted gold jewelry. Buyer Katie Kuperschmid evaluated the pieces, made the calculation based on the current price of gold and paid the money out of a strong box. One woman walked out with more than $550,” according to CBS News.
Job losses have been posted in every single month of 2008 so far; about 760,000 U.S. workers have lost their jobs this year. With job losses rising, the stock marketing diving and the prices of many basics increasing, many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Thus, the opportunity to rake in the dough by spending an evening with friends or neighbors is appealing to many people.
Attendees at gold parties simply bring old or unwanted gold items with them—most commonly jewelry, although gold scraps and dental work is widely accepted, too—and receive cash for their gold items. The amount of money an attendee earns is determined by the weight and purity of the items they bring to sell. And with the price of gold hovering around $900 per ounce, attendees are often able to leave with plenty of money in their pockets.
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Michigan Gold Recyclers—which is based in Michigan, but has offices all across the U.S.—is just one company of many employing gold buyers who handle the trade-ins and transactions at gold parties.
The buyers consider several things when determining how much money an item is worth. “The price of gold changes almost every day,” according to the Michigan Gold Recyclers’ website. “Purity is also important. For example, 24kt gold pieces will be of greater value than 14kt gold. Your necklace may be real gold, but the clasp may be stamped 14k and when tested shows 10k. Accurate weight and evaluation is key. Only when these factors are combined are our gold buying experts able to provide a accurate quote.”
After the party, the buyer takes the gold and sells it to a gold refiner “who makes it into bullion or some other investment grade product. Wall Street precious metal distributor Raymond Nessim said he can’t get bullion and gold coins fast enough to satisfy the demand from nervous investors looking to park their money in something solid,” according to CBS News.
Demand for gold has increased 200 percent since the beginning of the economic crisis, according to CBS News; nervous investors often turn to gold as a financial security blanket.
Gold buyers typically give either a flat fee or a percentage of the event’s total to the host. The gold buyer usually earns money by taking a cut of the event’s total also; it is essentially a service charge for the attendees, in exchange for the convenience of leaving the party laden with cash rather than gold.
Michigan Gold Recyclers pays party hosts 12.5 to 15 percent of the evening’s earnings. According to their website, the average fee for the host is $500 of the $4,000 brought in by the average gold party. They also provide $50 to help cover any food and beverages supplied by the host, and offer a $100 referral fee per party attendee who decides to throw their own gold party.
Intrepid hosts could throw a gold party and act as the gold buyer themselves. My Gold Party sells a book on hosting a gold party along with a gold party kit, which includes the book and equipment such as a scale, a gold tester and a magnification loupe.
For those who are—perhaps worn out because of the economic crisis—feeling anti-social and thus not up for a party, My Gold Party also offers a service where people can send them gold items and receive a check in exchange; should the gold seller decide not to sell the gold after all, their items will be returned to them. Those with gold they don’t need could also look for a gold buyer in their area, if they preferred dealing with someone in person. A local jeweler is an easy place to start.