The Three Kings certainly had something right in their Christmas gift giving list. While most of us wouldn’t know quite what to do with a festive present of frankincense or myrrh, it’s unlikely anyone would say no to a piece of gold jewellery waiting for them underneath the Christmas tree.
If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping – or haven’t started yet – gold is almost a guaranteed winner. And you can raise extra funds to finish off your festive shopping, or perhaps buy something special for yourself, by gathering together your old, unwanted or broken gold items to sell for recycling.
The beauty of selling on your old gold is that it’s the ultimate in recycling. The gold ring on your finger or chain around your neck may well be recycled already, and can be again and again without losing any of its lustre.
Jewellers Brilliant Earth, which only uses recycled precious metals in its designs, says: “Because our reclaimed silver, gold, platinum, and palladium are refined back into their pure elements, they are of identical quality to newly mined metals.”
Recycled gold is having a bit of a fashion moment. Increasingly, eco-conscious jewellers are making more of a point of using gold that has been ‘reclaimed’, and advertising it as such, to attract environmentally-friendly shoppers. There’s often a premium to be paid on designer pieces made from recycled gold too.
It’s likely that as the trend reaches a wider market place, the demand for scrap gold to create new pieces will also rise. That means your unwanted pieces tucked away in the back of a drawer or jewellery box will be in high demand. Plus, the strong prices that gold bullion has achieved this year makes now a great time to consider cashing in your unwanted gold jewellery.
We’ve heard about how much gold is contained in the circuitry of discarded mobile phones and laptops, but the precious metal is also lurking in older technology.
A new company has been set up to extract gold from old fashioned TVs, using robots to deal with the more dangerous aspects of the job. French water and waste business Veolia is aiming to remove the gold and other recyclable materials from around 300,000 old-style TVs a year from its site at Bridgnorth in Shropshire.
The company has brought in two robots to break down the old TVs and deal with the dangerous LCD light tubes that have mercury inside. Once the framework has been separated out, the different recyclable parts are removed and sorted.
Like modern mobiles, tablets and laptops, old TVs use gold in their circuitry and once this has been harvested, it’s sent off to another site so that the precious metal can be extracted and used again.
The presence of the gold helps make it a worthwhile operation. Electronics manufacturers have to pay for the old equipment they’ve made to be recycled, but Veolia only receives around £1 per set. Although the work costs more to carry out, the company keeps the profits from the gold and other elements it removes from the old TVs.
Veolia technical director Richard Kirkman told the BBC: “There is no part that we cannot find a use for.
“More than 90 per cent is recycled into a useful material - different types of plastic, glass, non-ferrous metal.”
If you choose to go down the recycling route yourself by selling your old, broken and unwanted gold jewellery, you’ll certainly raise a lot more than £1 per item. The high values gold has achieved this year means that more and more people have been opting to put their old ‘scrap’ gold back into the system and make some extra spending money at the same time.
The amount of gold that was recycled in the third quarter of this year jumped by 30 per cent compared to the same three months in 2015, as more people rushed to take advantage of the high price of the precious metal.
That’s according to new figures from the World Gold Council, which calculated that globally, more than 341 tonnes of gold were recycled between July and September.
The leading gold recycling nation was India, which as we’ve seen, has a major campaign underway to persuade people to part with their unwanted gold to reduce the country’s reliance in the amount of bullion it has to import. People in India buy more gold than anywhere else in the world other than China.
Indians recycled 39 tonnes of gold over the three-month period, the highest amount since the final quarter of 2012, the report said.
Although you may only have a few ounces in old, broken or unwanted gold tucked away in jewellery boxes or at the back of a draw, the superb values that gold has achieved this year mean that now is a great time to turn them in to cash. Remember, when you sell gold as ‘scrap’ – in other words, broken or unwanted pieces to be melted down and used again – you will receive the ‘scrap gold’ price for them, not the higher gold price that is quoted in the financial markets. That’s a reflection of the processing work that has to take place so the gold can be used again.
Meanwhile, the World Gold Council reported a quarterly drop in demand for gold for jewellery of 21 per cent, mainly due to the high prices. It’s expecting demand to recover in the run-up to Christmas, which is always a popular time of year to give the gift of gold jewellery.
India is one country that takes its gold recycling very seriously.
It’s the second biggest importer of gold globally after China and there’s currently a massive push for people to recycle their unwanted gold to help reduce the amount of the precious metal that’s shipped in – and costs the Indian government millions in duty.
To make it even easier to recycle gold, the country’s first mobile collection unit has hit the road – a van that’s on call to come and collect gold direct from your home. Muthoot Exim, part of the giant Indian Muthoot Pappachan Group, has launched the Mobile Muthoot Gold Point in addition to the nine Gold Point collection centres it runs around India.
The specialist secure van is equipped with state of the art gold testing equipment to make sure customers are receiving the correct price for their old jewellery and ornaments. The gold can even be melted down in the van while the customer watches.
The van pays out cash for the precious metal or makes an online payment into the customer’s bank account.
Muthoot Pappachan Group director, Thomas George Muthoot, told India today: "The move will also be in sync with the Government’s vision to recycle as much gold as possible and our mobile van service will help facilitate it better."
Muthoot says it’s collected an astonishing 200kg gold from its specialist recycling centres in the last year and a half and plans to open another four before the end of the year.
Although we can’t promise to send a van to your door to collect your old or broken gold jewellery, we do give you an efficient service to turn your unwanted gold into cash. It’s a great way to make some extra money for Christmas, so have a look in your jewellery box to see what you can convert into cash.
When you’re sorting out your old unwanted or broken gold pieces to cash in, remember not all gold jewellery is created equally, and the higher the gold content, the higher the price you’ll receive.
The most common carats (ct) of gold used in jewellery in the UK are 9ct, 18ct and 24ct . In its purest form, gold is a very soft metal and in order to make it tough enough to withstand the rigours of life as a piece of jewellery, other metals are added to it.
Nine carat gold is 37.5 per cent pure gold, 18ct is 75 per cent pure and 24ct is pure gold. Typically, other metals such as silver and copper are added to make the gold stronger. White gold obtains its colour thanks to the addition of silver and the currently very fashionable rose gold – which was also a favourite of the Victorians – receives its pinkish hue because copper has been added.
Experts can often tell the carat of a piece simply by its feel and colour. The richer the gold colour, generally the higher the carat. They will also look at the hallmark, which is made up of different symbols showing where the gold was ‘assayed’ or tested for purity and will often show the date the piece was manufactured.
Gold hallmarks are often so small that a magnifying glass is needed to identify them properly and in many cases, if a piece is old or has been worn frequently, they may have blurred or disappeared all together.
Scrap gold is also tested for purity with an assay test, which uses acid solutions on a minute scraping of gold from the item. The more gold that is left after the solution is applied, the purer the metal.
If you want to try to identify the purity of your jewellery, there are numerous online guides to hallmarks you can find through Google. You can also buy home assaying kits but this is usually best left to the experts.
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