If you have old, unwanted or broken gold jewellery to sell, now is a great time to make some money on it because demand is currently on the up.
New figures from the World Gold Council show that the UK jewellery industry used one per cent more gold in the first three months of this year than it did in the same period in 2015.
The increased British demand for gold comes at a time when prices paid to people selling their scrap gold are at the strongest they’ve been for years. Such is the demand for the precious metal from everyone from investors to jewellers and technology companies, that prices rose by a glittering 17 per cent in the first quarter of the year; the biggest rise in a three month period for almost 30 years.
The majority of scrap gold – broken and unwanted jewellery – that is bought in Britain goes back into creating new gold jewellery. Figures from the Birmingham Assay Office show the number of pieces being hallmarked after the usual busy run-up to Christmas, when gold jewellery always sells well, experienced another jump towards the end of the first quarter of this year.
Britain, however, is bucking the international trend. Although we’re buying more gold jewellery here in the UK, demand has fallen in the world’s biggest gold jewellery markets of China and India.
The World Gold Council statistics show that worldwide, there was actually a 19 per cent dip in demand for gold jewellery in the first three months of the year. The main reason for this was a strike by Indian jewellers, who were protesting about taxes being imposed on their work. There were also concerns in China about the country’s economic growth, which meant people weren’t spending their cash.
But overall, the picture for gold is a sparkling one. Worldwide, 1,290 tonnes of the precious metal changed hands in the first three months of the year, a rise of 21 per cent on the first quarter of 2015.
The first and foremost issue in most people’s minds when they recycle their old, broken or unwanted gold jewellery is usually the extra cash they can earn to use for other things.
But recycling the precious metal also benefits the environment and there is a growing worldwide push to persuade more people to part with gold they no longer want or need, so it can be reused.
One of the major benefits of gold is that it doesn’t degrade – so if you have a 24 carat gold bangle to recycle, it’ll still be 24 carat gold once it’s melted down and can go on to be transformed into new gold items, such as wedding rings.
Ethical jewellery is becoming a big trend, so the demand for recycled precious metals is rising. It’s estimated that around 30 per cent of gold is historically recycled and used again. But figures show that if around three per cent of the world’s gold jewellery is recycled every year, then the entire global demand for the precious metal can be satisfied without having to mine more.
Three per cent doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you put it into context, it is. That’s because around half of the 170,000-plus imperial tonnes of gold that the US Geological Survey estimates ever to have been mined has gone into making gold jewellery. At the moment, miners are digging up around 3,000 tonnes of gold every year.
The green lobby doesn’t have a problem with gold itself, but environmentalists are unhappy about the effects that mining has on the planet. They blame the practice for generating huge amounts of toxic waste and pollution caused by mercury and cyanide. According to GreenBiz, gold mining is the top cause of mercury pollution and is one of the reasons why higher levels of mercury are now found in fish.
So every time you sell some scrap gold for recycling, you’re not only helping your bank balance, you’re helping the planet too.
The old, broken and unwanted gold that you sell for recycling in the UK has a new life in gold jewellery or as part of the hi-tech circuitry in mobile phones and computers.
But in India, it’s a different story. There’s a drive going on in India to persuade more people to recycle the old gold they have stored at home or gold that is kept in temples. It’s all part of the Indian government’s efforts to meet the demand for bullion, without having to pay duty on importing more and more of the precious metal.
One of the ways India is doing this is through gold buying schemes at approved banks, and much of the bullion that is brought in goes towards creating more collectible gold to be sold to investors.
Last year, India recycling a massive 80.2 tonnes of gold, and much of that was collected thanks to the schemes urging people to part with precious metal they had hidden away at home.
But that’s still the tip of the iceberg when it comes to demand for gold in India. The World Gold Council says that the country bought 849 tonnes of the precious metal in 2015, up from 828 tonnes the previous year. And demand was especially high in the last three months of 2015, when 233 tonnes was bought.
The Indian government is so keen on recycling gold because of the high import taxes it has to pay to bring bullion into the country. Earlier this year, it tried to pass some of that cost on to the jewellery industry by imposing a tax on gold items. That didn’t go down well with jewellers who staged a strike over the new payments.
Although the UK doesn’t have the same import demands for gold as India, which after China is the world’s second biggest gold buyer, it’s a smart move to recycle gold that you don’t want or need any more. And with the current strong prices for the precious metal, you might be able to earn yourself a nice little nest egg while you're at it.
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