You may think last week’s vote for the UK to leave the European Union doesn’t have much to do with the price of your old, broken and unwanted gold items.
But you’d be wrong. The Brexit vote has sent the price of gold – which was already strong – even higher and that means the money you can earn from your scrap gold has gone up too. There is demand for gold at the moment because investors are looking for somewhere safe to put their cash while there is turmoil in the economy.
Since the vote to leave the EU last week, the value of the pound has fallen and astronomical amounts of money have been wiped off stocks – although there has been some improvement very recently. That effects everything from how far your money will go if you’re on holiday abroad to how much your pension is worth if you’re retiring.
But gold has traditionally been the go-to investment in times of trouble. Investors like it because it is a solid form of wealth that won’t disappear in a puff of smoke.
The increased demand for gold means that the price rises as the market looks to meet that demand. Even small amounts of gold coming from people's old jewellery will be affected by this.
Much of the gold people buy for investment purposes, such as gold bullion coins and bars, is produced from recycled gold. The broken necklace or old ring sitting in your jewellery box that you no longer wear has a real market value. With investors’ thirst for gold continuing to rise, more scrap gold is needed to make the investment products they want to buy.
Now is a great time to sort through your unwanted items and take advantage of the strong prices. In the uncertain world we’re currently living in, you can at least be sure of getting a good price for it.
It’s an Olympic year, and of course that means gold medals.
Like many of the gold and silver items that are now made, Olympic medals contain recycled precious metals. Organisers of the Rio Games, which begin in August, have unveiled the design of the medals for the event and released information about how they are made.
There will be a total of 5,130 medals made for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics, all created by the Brazilian Mint. They feature the traditional laurel leaf and Rio logo on one side and Nike, Greek goddess of victory, on the reverse. The name of the event each medal is awarded for is engraved around the edge.
And although the gold and silver medals do contain precious metal, they are not solid gold or silver. In fact, there is only a small amount of solid silver and gold in each, but the precious metals they do contain have been sustainably sourced.
The gold used has been extracted without using Mercury and has come from renewable sources, the Rio 2016 website reported. Both the silver and bronze medals contain 30 per cent recycled materials such as the silver from mirrors, X-ray plates and soldering materials.
It’s traditional for Olympic gold medals to be made from gilt silver – or silver gilded with gold. When London hosted the Games in 2012, the gold medals contained 92.5 per cent silver and just one per cent gold.
So if you have inherited or bought gold or silver Olympic medals and want to sell them for recycling, the actual precious metal content may not be exactly what you thought.
Of course, it’s a different matter with the scrap gold and silver jewellery that you can convert into cash. Troy ounce by ounce, the metal is worth much more than an Olympic medal, and who knows – the gold and silver you recycle now could be used as part of the medals produced for the next games in 2020.
At Scrap Gold, we don’t just recycle gold but we also buy silver items, which are then turned into new products.
Because gold and silver do not lose their quality, they can be reused time and time again, and in the modern world, recycling precious metals is a great way to reduce the environmental harm that large-scale mining can cause – and of course, earn some extra cash at the same time.
But you might be surprised to learn just how ancient a practice this is. According to archaeologists who have unearthed a hoard of Roman-era silver jewellery in Scotland, the Romans were also in the habit of reusing their precious metals.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, who have been studying what is known as the Gaulcross Hoard of silver pieces found in Scotland, wrote in their report: “Late Roman silver was recycled and recast into high-status objects that underpinned the development of elite society in the post-Roman period.”
The first pieces of the hoard were unearthed nearly 200 years ago by workers using dynamite to clear a field of rocks. They found a silver bangle, a chain and a pin but didn’t continue their search.
Now archaeologists have discovered around 100 silver items at the site, from ranging coins to broken pieces of jewellery and silver ingots that may have been used as money, Antiquity reported. There are also fragments of silver dishes and spoon handles made from silver.
The search took 18 months to complete and the team believes the items date back to the fifth or six centuries AD.
Archaeologists call a collection like this a hoard when they suspect it has been purposely buried or hidden. But if you have a hoard of your own of broken or unwanted gold or silver pieces, don’t just leave it hidden way in the back of a drawer. You can earn some great prices for precious metals at the moment, thanks to the current values of gold and silver.
Trends on the high street suggest that rose gold is enjoying a comeback and yellow gold is not far behind it, meaning that if you have rose or yellow gold items that are damaged or you no longer wear, now is a good time to sell.
Demand for rose and yellow gold from jewellers means that more of the precious metal is required for recycling and you’ll be able to earn a decent price if you decide to part with it. Of course, the strong gold price per troy ounce that we’ve seen so far this year also signifies a great time to make some money from trinkets you don’t need or use.
Britni-May Edwards from Page Fine Jewellery in Ely, Cambridgeshire, told Professional Jeweller: “Trends can take a while to ripple through, and rose gold is at a peak for us.
“It did take a while for it to get through, but it’s now showing no signs of slowing down. Nine carat gold sales are creeping up now. It’s more noticeable because it wasn’t selling before, probably because the price was so high.”
Rose gold, which is pinkish in colour, was originally popular with Russian royals in the 1800s and was also very fashionable in the 1920s. It’s a mixed metal, and 18 carat rose gold is typically made up from around 75 per cent yellow gold, 21 per cent copper – which creates the rosy glow – and four per cent silver.
While the pieces that are currently popular are modern, pinkish items, older rose gold jewellery doesn’t have the same on-trend look but is certainly worth trading in to recycle.
With much of the gold we buy melted down to make jewellery items, your unwanted rose gold could find itself transformed into new wedding and engagement rings – and put you in the pink with some extra cash in your pocket.
It’s fair to say that having gold jewellery in your collection means you’ll always be able to raise some extra cash when times are tight and when you come to sell your broken or unwanted pieces, you might be surprised just how much value they have.
But while the price of gold is currently strong and prices for scrap jewellery are reflecting that, you’re unlikely to raise as much cash as a very old piece of gold jewellery that’s been discovered in Dorset.
The pure gold crown, found in an old cardboard box, is believed to be Greek and date from 300BC. It is going up for auction, where it could make £100,000.
The crown is made from gold fashioned into leaves and put together in the shape of a wreath. Evidence of dirt on the piece make auctioneers think it had been buried at some point and was dug up by archaeologists.
The seller, who prefers to remain anonymous, received the crown as part of his inheritance from his grandfather who was a keen collector of ancient artefacts. It’s believed he may have acquired the piece during the 1940s or 1950s when he was travelling abroad.
Guy Schwinge, from auctioneers Dukes of Dorchester, told the Bournemouth Echo: "It is eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams. It's pure gold and handmade, it would have been hammered out by a goldsmith.
"The wreath is in very nice condition for something that's 2,300 years old. It's a very rare antiquity to find, they don't turn up often. I've never seen one in my career before."
The piece will be auctioned on June 9.
So, if you have any pieces of old gold jewellery tucked away that you’ve inherited but never worn and have no intention of doing so, it’s certainly worth your while finding out what they are worth.
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